Credit: Dreamhack

New French legends

Karmine Corp opt for name value over real stars for VCT 2023

When the list of teams for VCT EMEA 2023 was announced, Karmine Corp would have been a surprise inclusion for most fans.

Having only been founded in 2020, Karmine Corp entered VALORANT in May 2022. Already competing in Riot’s other flagship title, League of Legends, the French organization is one of the fastest-growing brands in esports. With the organization also considering entering CSGO, Karmine Corp being granted a spot in VCT 2023 is a huge step forwards for the organization.

Being such a new organization, big-name signings can be key to establishing a brand. That being said, they can also negatively impact the competitive integrity of the squad, a risk that Karmine Corp may have taken for VCT 2023.

Huge stars join Karmine Corp for VCT 2023

The biggest of those names joining Karmine Corp for VCT 2023 is Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom. The Headshot Machine, as he is affectionately known to Counter-Strike fans, ScreaM’s individual ability is the stuff of legend. Gifted with some of the best aim in all of FPS esports, his prowess carried over from his former game to VALORANT.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t without its drawbacks. ScreaM was often criticized in CSGO for being one of the more limited stars in the game. Undeniable in his ability to be his team’s star, he is also limited in what he can do outside of having exceptional aim. In VALORANT, ScreaM’s presence has also come with questionable quirks.

At VALORANT Champions 2022, ScreaM was one of two players actively using Phoenix. The other, Victor “Victor” Wong, kept his Phoenix selection limited to Haven, while ScreaM was playing him on most maps. The off-meta pick was questionable, especially considering he was also serving as Team Liquid’s IGL at the time.

Riot Games

As one of the best players in EMEA Valorant and a legend of the French esports scene, ScreaM certainly fits the bill of a marquee signing. If he can fit into the meta more, he can be the star to keep Karmine Corp competitive in VCT 2023.

Also joining the team is ScreaM’s younger brother Nabil “Nivera” Benrlitom. Another ex-Liquid player, the youngster didn’t carve out as much of a legend for himself in CSGO. In VALORANT, he won Red Bull Home Ground 2 alongside his brother, but they weren’t so fortunate at bigger events. Often criticized for his inconsistency, Nivera was part of a Liquid team that often felt like it should have performed better than it did. This is something he will be looking to turn around on Karmine Corp in VCT 2023.

The other former French CSGO player in the ranks for Karmine Corp in VCT 2023 is Alexandre “xms” Forte. After missing out on the real peak of French CS, xms made his name in tier one on Envy. Fondly remembered for a five one-tap ace on Overpass, he’s yet to really make a name for himself at all in VALORANT.

Having spent the majority of his time in VALORANT so far in the tier-two scene, there will be question marks about whether he is ready to step up to the highest level in VCT 2023. The same will go for Alexis “Newzera” Humbert and Ryad “Shin” Ensaad. Signed when Karmine Corp entered VALORANT, they’re the only two members of that original team that remain with the organization.

With this core trio being largely inexperienced, fans of Karmine Corp may have been hoping the organization would sign more established stars for VCT 2023. That being said, with the Benrlitom brothers, there’s enough high-level VALORANT ex[erience that it should be able to trickle down. Going for brand value over star power might be a necessary risk, but it’s a risk Karmine Corp will have to hope doesn’t backfire when the VCT season begins in 2023.