Best Valorant players of 2023 – top pros this season

One of the top Valorant players in the world throws his hands over the back of his chair before Valorant LOCK//IN.Lance Skundrich/Riot Games

The 2023 Valorant esports season has concluded with a bang as Evil Geniuses claimed the Champions trophy and brought North America its first world championship title in the game. This was another seminole year for the Riot Games title as more viewers flocked to the esport, and more players either made names for themselves or cemented their position as top competitors.

2023 started with some incredible storylines like the reconstruction of LOUD and other rosters, the introduction of super teams like Fnatic and NAVI, and the drama of Cloud9 and yay’s departure from the squad.

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Some players rose out of these storylines to put up performances that will cement them in Valorant history and propel them into top-player status.

Fnatic came out on top of the first international event of 2023, VCT LOCK//IN, with great individual performances from players like Nikita ‘Derke’ Sirmitev and Leo ‘Leo’ Jannesson. They then followed that up with an undefeated run during the VCT EMEA regular season and another international tournament victory at VCT Masters Tokyo.

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The EMEA squad wasn’t able to complete the trifecta, bowing out of Valorant Champions in the top four, as Evil Geniuses skyrocketed to international prominence by winning the world championship

Here are our top five Valorant players of the year.

Best Valorant players 2023 so far

5 — Max “Demon1” Mazanov

Demon1 at Valorant Champions 2023Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games
Demon1 ran through the competition at Valorant Champions 2023.

Evil Geniuses ace had an incredible run at Valorant Champions 2023 after a surprisingly quiet VCT Masters Tokyo showing. Demon1 ran through VCT Americas once he settled into playing on stage during his rookie season but had not shown the same level of performance on the international stage.

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At the Valorant World Championships, he finally got over whatever hump he needed to and went wild on the competition. He finished the event with the highest VLR rating, Kill/ Death ratio, Kills Per Round and headshot percentage. He was also top five in Average Combat Score and second in Average Damage Per Round. Demon1 also recorded the first over 100-kill series against LOUD, notching 101 kills across five maps.

While he took a while to ramp up to his current form, it would be disingenuous to not highlight Demon1 in this list for his performance at the final VCT tournament of the year. Even though he didn’t match up to expectations at Tokyo, EG still managed to place second at the event and take a map off of a surging Fnatic in the upper bracket finals.

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4 — Emir “Alfajer” Beder

alfajer VCT Masters TokyoColin Young-Wolff/Riot Games
Alfajer has been the best Sentinel player in the world since the start of the year.

The first of a few Fnatic players on this list, Alfajer has been a consistent anchor for his team. The Turkish player may not have the flashiest playstyle, but he is constantly racking up multiple kills in a round or holding down an entire site for his team.

He showcased his skills domestically in VCT EMEA during the regular season, ranking in the top five across multiple statistical rankings.

He kept up that form internationally as well at VCT Masters Tokyo. Across the entire field of players at the event, Alfajer was top five statistically in VLR rating, Kill/Death ratio and Kills per Round. At Valorant Champions 2023, Alfajer continued to be the best Sentinel player in the world, ranking in the top five in terms of VRL rating, K/D and Average Damager Per Round.

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3 — Leo ‘Leo’ Jannesson

VCT Masters Tokyo LeoColin Young-Wolff/Riot Games
Leo joined Fnatic for the 2023 season after a successful year with Guild Esports.

Leo joined Fnatic for the 2023 season and has become a monster surrounded by fellow young talents and a top-tier IGL. The Initiator player has taken up a more supportive role in Fnatic, playing mostly scan Initiators and sitting back during initial engagements, and his impact on the server has increased.

At VCT LOCK//IN, Leo ranked in the top 3 statistically in VLR rating and Kills/ Deaths ratio and had multiple impactful rounds across the tournament with multi-kills. His statistics at the event are especially impressive because many of the players near the top played only one or two series at the tournament.

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Leo’s form has remained steady across VCT Masters Tokyo and Valorant Champions. The Initiator player finished his year at the world championships ranked top five in VLR rating, K/D and Kill/Assist/ Trade/ Survive rate.

2 — Erick ‘aspas’ Santos

aspas with a large dog plushie Valorant ChampionsLance Skundrich/Riot Games
aspas kept the mood light with his many dog plushies at Valorant Champions

aspas has continued his great form from Valorant Champions 2022 and is a big reason why LOUD made it to back-to-back VCT Grand Finals. The young talent was a reliable space-taker throughout the year for LOUD in 2022 and helped the team to a world title that year and an undefeated record domestically.

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The Duelist has been praised by analysts for his micro decision-making and has continued to be LOUD’s best player, even after the squad lost two players in the offseason. The Brazilian teenager notched his team 93 kills in their best-of-five series against DRX at VCT LOCK//IN and looked almost unstoppable with a home crowd behind him.

The Brazilian Duelist had a massive set back at VCT Masters Tokyo, as the team bombed out of the tournament in two straight series with aspas looking lost on Neon. However, aspas and LOUD recovered at Valorant Champions largely off the back of individual performances from the entire team.

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aspas was no exception as he continued to put up impressive numbers at the event like ranking in the top five in terms of ACS, K/D, KAST, and First Kill Per Round.

1 — Nikita ‘Derke’ Sirmitev

Fnatic DerkeLiu YiCun/Riot Games
Derke is one of the longest-tenured players on Fnatic.

Fnatic had a decent 2022, making almost every international event and placing top six at Valorant Champions. So far, the new-look team has exploded in 2023 and unleashed its entry player in Derke.

The Finish-Russian player was great on Chamber when the Agent was meta, but back on entry Duelists like Raze and Jett, Derke seems reinvigorated and fragging at a top level yet again.

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Derke was the third-best-rated Jett at VCT LOCK//IN and had by far the most rounds played on the Agent. He has kept up his magnificent play in VCT EMEA, Masters Tokyo and Valorant Champions. Despite Fnatic placing only in the top four at the Valorant World Championship, Derke has remained one of the world’s top Jett players and his consistency across the entire year has earned him the top spot on this list.