Overwatch League pro Rawkus retires to pursue Valorant career - Dexerto

Overwatch League pro Rawkus retires to pursue Valorant career

Published: 1/Aug/2020 23:27

by Theo Salaun


Shane ‘Rawkus’ Flaherty, a three-year Overwatch League veteran for the Houston Outlaws and former Team USA Overwatch World Cup Champion, has officially retired to pursue Valorant.

People were immediately curious about the future of esports when Riot Games announced Valorant, a tactical shooter meshing Counter-Strike’s FPS mechanics with the abilities Overwatch brought to FPS from MOBA titles like League of Legends. Now, Rawkus is the latest OW pro to jump ships.


Following in the footsteps of Damien ‘HyP’ Souville, Jay ‘Sinatraa’ Won, Corey ‘Corey’ Nigra, and Zachary ‘ZachaREEE’ Lombardo, all of whom either dealt with partial play time or a middling roster—Rawkus, who dealt with both, is giving Valorant a go.

Counter-Strike professionals and Overwatch DPS players were considered the most likely to try and get into Valorant early, as a new IP from the developers behind the world’s largest esport was expected to be an obvious draw. But flex supports are some of the most mechanically gifted aimers, so it’s unsurprising that players like HyP and Rawkus, whose OW futures felt uncertain, opted for a career reset in a high-upside title.


Part of the allure of a career reset and foregoing the stability of an Overwatch salary for an attempt at Valorant is likely influenced by age, as Rawkus is 26 years old and inching toward what is widely considered the later years of an esports career.

The Outlaws are 6-14 this season, the 17th-worst record in the OWL, and he was already splitting time with a support in Kim ‘Rapel’ Jun-keun. Leaving a guaranteed contract is a definite risk, but this is likely the best opportunity he’ll have to reinvigorate his career in a fledgling scene with major aspirations.

At the moment, it’s not clear whether Rawkus is already signed to a roster or not. Many orgs have already taken shape, as Sinatraa’s Sentinels team just won the PAX Invitational tournament while Corey and ZachaREEE have joined forces on FaZe Clan.

Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment
Rawkus gets interviewed following a Houston Outlaws win in 2019.

In his Twitlonger discussing the retirement, the former World Cup champ was relatively noncommittal about his next team but did indicate big news was on the horizon.

“As for what’s next? Valorant … Some more exciting news about my future will be coming soon and I can’t wait to share my journey with you all.”


Valorant First Strike Europe qualifiers: Schedule, eligibility, format

Published: 7/Oct/2020 17:06

by Jacob Hale


Valorant developers Riot Games have announced First Strike: Europe, the first-ever Valorant tournament wholly produced by Riot, set to kick off in November with some of the region’s best talent.

Since Valorant launched in June, it has become one of the most exciting games in esports, with players from all different titles migrating to Riot’s first-ever FPS. Some of the biggest competitors from the likes of Overwatch, CSGO and more are looking to make a name for themselves in the new shooter.


As a result, we’ve already seen some incredible talent, tense moments and top performances in a competitive setting, but now it’s becoming a little more official with the announcement of this highly-anticipated tournament.

So, with First Strike: Europe around the corner, here’s everything you need to know to tune in to the tournament, and even get involved yourself.

Valorant First Strike art
Riot Games
First Strike is the first Valorant tournament organized entirely by developer Riot Games.

Valorant First Strike: Europe schedule

Open qualifiers for First Strike take place from November 9-22, giving teams around two weeks to stave off the best competition in the region and qualify for the main event.

The schedule for Open Qualifiers will be as follows:

  • Week 1
    • November 9-10: Qualifier A
    • November 11-12: Qualifier B
    • November 13: Play-In #1
    • November 14-15: Playoffs
  • Week 2
    • November 16-17: Qualifier C
    • November 18-19: Qualifier D
    • November 20: Play-In #2
    • November 21-22: Playoffs
Valorant First Strike: Europe qualifiers schedule
Riot Games
Valorant First Strike: Europe qualifiers schedule.

After qualifiers have concluded, the main stage will be held from December 3-6. Here are the dates for each part of the main event:

  • December 3-4: Quarterfinals
  • December 5: Semifinals
  • December 6: Final
Valorant First Strike: Europe main event schedule
Riot Games
Valorant First Strike: Europe main event schedule.

Eligibility for Valorant First Strike: Europe

As the name suggests, the Open Qualifiers for the tournament are open to (almost) anybody. You don’t have to be a pro player to sign up, but you have to be over the age of 16 and you will need to reach the rank of Immortal 1 by the time you register.

Riot haven’t specified how people can apply and register for the tournament yet, but advise in their announcement that full rules for the event and how to apply will be available in the coming weeks — and we’ll be sure to update this page as soon as we know.

Valorant First Strike: Europe tournament format

Valorant Icebox act 3 new map
Riot Games
Will we see much of new Act III map Icebox in the First Strike tournament?

The tournament format is fairly simple to follow throughout, from the qualifiers right up to the main event. Here’s how the single-elimination tournament works:

  • Qualifiers and Play-Ins: Best of 1
  • Playoffs: Best of 3
  • Quarterfinals and semifinals: Best of 3
  • Finals: Best of 5

With best of 1s in qualifiers and play-ins we might see some upsets, but finishing the tournament on a best of 5 means we really will see the two best teams in Europe fight it out and showcase their talent across all maps, proving how much they’ve mastered the game so far.

With G2 Esports undoubtedly the strongest team in the region since competition started, the main question now is whether they can prove it in Valorant’s biggest tournament yet.