EG Valorant star’s big break happened by chance – and it was thanks to xQc
Evil Geniuses have come out of almost nowhere to qualify for VCT Masters and Valorant Champions 2023 after defeating Cloud9 2-0 in the VCT Americas playoffs. One esports insider shared after the match that EG Valorant player, Kelden ‘Boostio’ Pupello, got his start thanks to Felix ‘xQc’ Lengyel.
Evil Geniuses started their own Cinderella story in VCT Americas after going from almost missing the playoff stage, to qualifying for VCT Masters Tokyo and the Valorant world championship. Two players that stepped up over the final stages of the regular season, and who were front and center during the team’s win over Cloud9 to qualify, were Kelden ‘Boostio’ Pupello and Max ‘Demon1’ Mazanov.
Demon1 is a relative newcomer to top-tier Valorant play and got his start with EG in 2023. Boostio, on the other hand, started competing at the top level in 2020. To break into the scene, Boostio participated in an early tournament during the game’s beta period, the ESPN Esports Invitational.
One of the architects of the event revealed on Twitter that Boostio was only on one of the tournament teams because former Overwatch pro and content creator Felix ‘xQc’ Lengyel backed out – thus giving him a chance to shine.
EG Valorant player got his start in beta show tournament
Tyler Erzberger, who worked for ESPN Esports before it shut down in 2020, revealed that the Valorant tournament the sports network hosted in the early days of the game was Boostio’s start in the Riot Games title.
The ESPN tournament featured eight teams comprised of esports players and streamers from other titles including Overwatch, Apex Legends, CS:GO and Fortnite. The players competed on teams representing their competitive title with the Apex Legends squad winning the event.
Boostio competed in Overwatch Contenders in 2020 and played on the Overwatch squad, Team Hereos, in the invitational instead of xQc.
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“Overwatch’s team was supposed to be led by xQc but he bailed last minute and literally the only replacement they could find was this random kid named Boostio. Boostio played and legit carried the entire team, looking like a star in the process. After that he got DMs and offers to start his career in Valorant,” Erzberger said.
Boostio gave a heartfelt reply to Ezberger on Twitter.
“You’re making me cry. Jesus bro,” he said.
Team Heroes finished the beta tournament in the top four and Boostio was the only player from his team to pursue a career in Valorant.
After the invitational, Boostio would go on to play for free-agent rosters, Spacestation Gaming and eventually join Evil Geniuses in 2021.