Valorant is a hugely popular esport with a player base of around 14 million. Its tournaments are watched around the world and covered from every angle: news, coaching, betting, and more. When it was first launched in 2020, the game attracted a lot of highly skilled professionals from other FPS titles such as Overwatch and CS:GO. And one of those pro players was nitr0, who quit CS:GO even though his career was fabulous. As a member of Team Liquid, he must have had a huge salary. Not to mention the fact that he was ranking high in tournaments. But despite all that, he wanted to try something new.
nitr0’s Valorant Career
So far, nitr0 has played Valorant for just one team. And it’s understandable, given that he only spent 15 months competing professionally in this esport. The team that signed him was 100 Thieves, a hugely popular organization in other esports such as League of Legends.
nitr0 didn’t reach the top in Valorant, although he did get a number of important results: 1st place at First Strike North America, 1st place at VTC 2021 North America Stage 2 Challengers 1, and 3rd – 4th place at VTC 2021 Stage 3 Masters Berlin.
Given how little these achievements mean for nitr0 compared with what he achieved in CS:GO, it’s understandable why he wants to go back.
Nitr0’s CS:GO Career
Nitr0 started his CS:GO career in 2014. He was around 18 – 19 at the time and quickly proved himself to be a formidable player. Less than a year later, he was signed by Team Liquid and ended up spending almost 6 years at the organization. During this time, he achieved spectacular results, including 7 big trophies. He also won the Intel Grand Slam Season 2 prize. The list is much longer and includes numerous Grand Finals plus countless top 6 results at top-tier events.
It’s hard not to think about the past when you go from being one of the best in the world at what you do to being just mediocre. Compared to what he achieved in CS:GO, nitr0 arguably wasted the last 18 months of his career in Valorant.
Maybe he did it just to prove to himself that he can do it. Or maybe he was bored. Or perhaps he hoped that he would be just as strong in Valorant as he is in CS:GO, simply because the two games are very similar. But it didn’t happen.
It’s one thing to be good at something and it’s another thing to be a Grand Master with over a decade of experience and dozens of important results. And while it is true that in Valorant everyone is a beginner because the game is still relatively new, nitr0 must have realized very quickly that he didn’t have the same passion for this game as he did for CS:GO. Or perhaps he just couldn’t adapt to it as well as he’d hoped.
Returning to CS:GO
It’s not official yet but the rumors are circulating. Since early December 2021, nitr0 has been inactive in Valorant and he’s no longer competing for 100 Thieves. At the same time, Team Liquid’s CS:GO team is going through a massive restructuring. Last season was disastrous for the organization. And as a result, Stewie2K, FalleN, and Grim were released.
Two of the 3 spots have already been filled with new players. But nobody knows who the 5th man will be. People familiar with the matter say that it’s almost certainly going to be nitr0. It’s the most logical choice under the circumstances. But Liquid is delaying the announcement, probably wanting to make sure that he still knows how to play the game.
Given that the first important CS:GO event of 2022 is still weeks away, there will probably be one or two more weeks until we find out who’s the 5th Liquid player. nitr0 seems to be a great choice because he’s free and also because he has such a long history with the organization. Familiarity is a strong instinct in all of us. When we don’t know what we should be doing next, we don’t use our creativity. Instead, we go to what we already have experience with and hope it’s the right choice.