Ex-CoD pro makes history by reaching tier 1 Valorant league

Jeremy Gan
Wailers lifting VCT EMEA Ascension trophy

Ex-Call of Duty pro Wailers has qualified for VCT EMEA League after making a swap from controller to mouse and keyboard. 

VCT Ascension EMEA has just wrapped up, and it has ended in a storybook-esque run of Gentle Mates qualifying for the 2024 and 2025 VCT EMEA League against the more tenured teams like Apeks and Acend. 

The team only formed at the start of the year, just before the beginning of Valorant French Challengers, and is largely made up of French players who couldn’t find a roster before the first split.

Coached by French CSGO legend Kevin ‘Ex6Tenz’ Droolans, they have not only become the third French team in VCT EMEA, but it also heralded Wailers ‘Wailers’ Locart as one of the rare players to transition from controller to mouse and keyboard and play at the top level. 

Wailers started his esports career as a CoD player, being signed onto Team Vitality with French CoD legend Corentin “Gotaga” Houssein. However, despite competing at the highest level for a number of years, the squad was unable to bring any CoD championships home to France. 

Around the tail end of 2021, Wailers slowly transitioned to Valorant, which meant making a switch from the controller-based gameplay of CoD to mouse and keyboard for Valorant.

However, the transition wasn’t an instant hit, as it saw Wailers playing in the Tier 3 French scene for quite some time. His big break would come when an ex-teammate turned mega-streamer, Gotaga, formed Gentle Mates’ Valorant team with Wailers a part of it. 

Gentle Mates swept their way through both Splits of the French Challengers circuit, qualifying for EMEA Ascension. However, it was a hard-fought journey through the tournament. 

It saw them come out as the second seed from their group before being knocked early into the lower bracket of the playoffs. The team had to then make a lower bracket run, which they did, losing only one map along the way and even taking a 3-0 win against favorites Apeks. 

With Gentle Mates’ qualification, it now makes them the third French team in VCT EMEA, next to Team Vitality and Karmine Corp.