MAD Lions return to Valorant with promising NA Challengers team

MAD Lions

MAD Lions have officially returned to Valorant with the signing of Dark Ratio, a team that will compete in North America Challengers.

Dark Ratio were one of the six teams that earned spots in NA Challengers via the qualifiers after finishing 3rd-4th in the first qualifying tournament. They did so with a miracle lower bracket run that saw them survive elimination matches against 99 Strength, NSIC, Rat Attack and The Nation.

The team joins forces with MAD Lions just one day before the start of the Challengers League, which features 12 North American teams. Dot Esports had reported on January 5 that negotiations between the players and MAD Lions had reached an impasse prior to the first qualifier.

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Dark Ratio features four of the five players released by DarkZero Esports when the organization took a step back from Valorant esports in July. Rounding out the roster is William ‘Will’ Cheng, who was part of the 100 Thieves roster that competed at Valorant Champions 2022.

Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games
Former 100 Thieves player Will has signed with MAD Lions

“VALORANT is the perfect addition to our existing esports teams and we’re excited to help bring the League to the Canadian marketplace,” said Alyson Walker, Chief Commercial Officer at OverActive Media. “We’re confident expanding into VALORANT will drive significant viewership while creating opportunities to engage with a new community of fans.”

The announcement marks a shift in region for MAD Lions’ Valorant section. Previously, the organization fielded a European squad with players like Domagoj ‘Doma’ Fancev and Alexandre ‘xms’ Forté. That team placed second in VRL 2022 France Stage 2.

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After failing to enter Riot Games’ partner leagues, MAD Lions put the Valorant section on hold and allowed the players to entertain individual offers.

MAD Lions are slated to face TSM on February 2 in their first match in Challengers Group B, which also includes The Guard, M80, Disguised and OREsports. The top four teams in the group will qualify for the Mid-Season Event.

“We’re thrilled to join this exclusive group of talented players and notable organizations for the NA League’s inaugural season,” said Adam Adamou, Chief Strategy Officer at OverActive Media. “VALORANT is today’s fastest-growing esport, and we’re proud to have made it through the competition.”

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MAD Lions Valorant roster:

  • Justin ‘Trick’ Sears
  • Adam ‘Ange’ Milian
  • Anthony ‘ZexRow’ Colandro
  • Taylor ‘drone’ Johnson
  • William ‘Will’ Cheng
  • Jornen ‘MoonChopper’ Nishiyama (coach)