2022 was a pivotal year for Valorant as fans were let back into the most important events on the calendar and the esport continued to grow worldwide. 2023 has started out with even more fans in attendance as other players make their case for their inclusion in the top players list so far this year.
The new year has 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.
Some players are rising out of these storylines to put on performances that will cement them in Valorant history and propel them into top-player status.
Here are our top five Valorant players of the year so far.
Best Valorant players 2022
5 — Leo ‘Leo’ Jannesson
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 seemingly 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.
4 — Kim ‘MaKo’ Myeong-kwan
DRX are a consistent threat internationally and continued their dynasty regionally in 2022 by breezing their way to every international event. MaKo, the team’s smokes player, was a consistent competitor for DRX and made his way to the top of many statistical categories throughout the year.
Arguably his best tournament of the year was Masters Copenhagen, where he had the highest number of assists per round at 0.5 and the second-highest kill, assist, survive, or trade percentage, according to VLR. While not always showing up on the stats sheets, or making flashy plays, MaKo was the rock DRX needed to make it out of tough games.
He was rarely the team’s bottom fragger and was one of the biggest reasons DRX broke into the top three at Valorant Champions and the top four at VCT LOCK//IN.
Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest updates on Esports, Gaming and more.
3 — Andrey ‘Shao’ Kiprsky
The rise of FPX, now under NAVI, was a fun ride for fans as the team made every international event in 2022, won Masters Copenhagen, and finished top four at Valorant Champions and VCT LOCK//IN. All five team members from the squad could be on the list of the best Valorant players of the year, but so far in 2023, Shao has emerged as the team’s best player.
The 23-year-old player was one of the top players statistically at the 2023 kickoff tournament, with a VLR rating of 1.29, a Kill/Death ratio of 1.63, and nine clutches.
While not a flashy playmaker, or the crafty IGL of the squad, Shao has continued to showcase his talent in a supportive role and had an incredible first tournament in 2023.
2 — Nikita ‘Derke’ Sirmitev
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 seemingly 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.
Derke was the third-best-rated Jett at VCT LOCK//IN and had by far the most rounds played on the Agent.
1 — Erick ‘aspas’ Santos
aspas has continued his great form from Valorant Champions 2022 and is a big reason why LOUD were able to make 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.
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.