Credit: OpTic Gaming

Is change coming?

Could VALORANT Champions be the last time we see this OpTic roster?

OpTic Gaming has long been the best team in North America, and at one point, the world. If they win VALORANT Champions 2022, they’d even stake a claim as the best team of all time as they would become the first team to win two international LAN events. 

They have a strong IGL in FNS, as well as arguably the best player in the world in yay. The supportive cast of Marved, crashies, and Victor are all quite capable too.

So why then, could VALORANT Champions be the last time we see this lineup together? These tweets don’t bode well for the future.

One of the reasons for this could be to do with VALORANT’s incoming franchising system. For those of you who aren’t aware, franchising has already been causing huge shakeups in the tier one scene.

As organizations are discovering they will not be part of franchised leagues they are dropping their rosters, as the prospect of a return on their investments is diminished. It also took Riot too long to provide reassurances about the tier two scene, furthering this issue. 

Plenty of teams have applied for spots for franchised leagues in every region, resulting in there being far more applicants than spots available. More shakeups will be on the way.

The application process covers many bases. A team’s ability to compete financially is brought into question, as well as its popularity with players and global brand. Riot understandably wants their leagues to be seen by as many people as possible and organically create interest, popular teams are the best way to do that.

OpTic Gaming

So that brings into question why OpTic wouldn’t get a franchise slot. In its current form, OpTic is a mix of OpTic and Envy. The two organizations are two of the region’s largest, with both having their origins in the Call of Duty scene. Not only that, but they have large followings outside of COD too.

Envy won one of the early Majors in CSGO with their French team. OpTic also has a history in CSGO, but that was with a majority NA team bar Oscar “mixwell” Canellas. OpTic’s large following comes mainly from their content creation instead, where they have always been a frontrunner.

All of these factors lean into OpTic being a fine choice for a franchise slot then, so why else might they not get a spot?

A couple of years ago, NA’s CSGO scene was rocked by ESIC’s match-fixing investigation. ESIC stated that they have as many as 35 players under active investigation. 

Marved is one of these players and was benched by FaZe when the allegations first surfaced. OpTic’s co-owner and Chief Gaming Officer hastr0 has spoken on match-fixing in the past:

“I’m going to go ahead and state this publicly: If one of our players is proven to have cheated, fixed a match or violated the integrity of the games we compete in, they will be removed from our team instantly. You journalists don’t need to ask. How about you investigate?” Mike “hastr0” Rufail

It might be that we are finally about to get news regarding the investigation’s conclusion and that Marved has in fact been found guilty. If so, you would expect OpTic to remove him, even if it was in another game. It’s likely Riot would want them to even if they did not.

BERLIN, GERMANY – SEPTEMBER 18: Team Envy’s Jimmy “Marved” Nguyen celebrates a match point against 100 Thieves during the semi finals stage of the VALORANT Champions Tour 2021: Stage 3 Masters on September 18, 2021 in Berlin, Germany on September 18, 2021 in Berlin, Germany (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Alternatively, the tweets could just be bait, NA pros have been known to enjoy baiting fans. This seems unlikely though, given Chet’s ominous tweet. 

It could also simply be in reference, at least in yay’s case, to the fallout that will come with the announcement of the teams who have secured franchise spots. Many teams could be looking to upgrade with the acquisition of stars outside of franchised teams.

We just hope this OpTic team sticks together though, Sentinels have dropped off since their early dominance and it would be a shame for NA to lose another. As long as Marved hasn’t actually match fixed, if he has, then we’d honestly rather he never plays for a team again.

You can thank iBUYPOWER for that precedent being set.

Sam McKenzie covers a variety of competitive first-person shooters, with an emphasis on Valorant and Counter-Strike esports. He also has a passion for football in both the real and virtual worlds, and contributes his expertise in FIFA esports.