Steel on joining T1 Valorant: “Confident I’ll elevate the team to new heights”


Joshua ‘steel’ Nissan, T1 Valorant’s new in-game leader, spoke about his new challenge in an interview with Dexerto.

The Canadian player was on December 6 unveiled as T1’s newest player, leaving behind a 14-month-long tenure on 100 Thieves, his first organization in Valorant.

Steel is the key piece in the rebuilding project that T1 are undertaking in the off-season. After a year of frustration, the famed organization decided to hand the keys to the veteran in-game leader in the hopes that he will steer the ship in the right direction.

As a renowned skipper with competitive experience in four different games (prior to competing in Valorant, he played CS:Source, CS:GO and Overwatch), steel had a number of suitors lined up for his services. In the end, it was T1’s belief in his vision that convinced him to choose this project.

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“When I was approached by different orgs about joining their teams, I thought to myself what I was looking for the most in a team,” steel told Dexerto. “I decided to join an org that wants to bring me in as the IGL, to believe in me as a player, and as an IGL, and to give me the chance to implement my system.

“I also wanted to be surrounded by players that believe in and respect me the same way the org does. There were a number of orgs that had an interest in me at some preliminary level, but only a select few really stood out to me and of those T1 seemed like the most seamless inclusion and most communicative about the project, and making sure everyone was on the same page with the project.”

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According to steel, T1’s roster is still “a work in progress”, with Upcomer reporting on November 25 that the team is “looking to make a major overhaul” for next year. Timothy ‘autimatic’ Ta has been heavily linked with a return to CS:GO, and is understood to be close to signing with Evil Geniuses.

“We’re also still considering possible roles and how we’re going to keep everyone comfortable while also putting everyone in roles that make sense for their styles,” steel added.

Not a step back

T1 was one of the first organizations to expand into Valorant, launching their division in March 2020 with the signing of Braxton ‘brax’ Pierce.

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But committing early came with very few positives. T1 couldn’t establish themselves among the region’s best in the game’s first 18 months, only reaching one final, in the T1 x Nerd Street Gamers Showdown, in June 2020. At the same time, they became a revolving door, with Austin ‘crashies’ Roberts and Victor ‘Victor’ Wong the only players who have gone on to greener pastures.

With steel now at the helm of the project, T1’s fans hope that the Canadian will bring stability and identity to a team that more often than not has appeared disjointed.

“I am confident that I will be able to elevate the new team to new heights because I have the support of the org and of the players,” he said.

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“I think people really misattribute the type of calling style and structure that I provide to teams. I aim to create an environment that gives people individual autonomy within a system so that we can all introduce individual flavors so long as it achieves the common overall goal or plan.

“This requires people that want to learn, are open to feedback, and believe in the system. Every conversation that I’ve had this far about this structure has been received well.”

After playing alongside some of the biggest names in North American Valorant and reaching the semi-finals at the VCT Stage 3 Masters event, steel now has to start anew as he looks to claw his way back to the top.

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After leaving 100 Thieves, steel stressed that joining T1 is not a step back in his career

Still, he rejected the notion that joining T1 is a backward step for him.

“I can see from the perspective of people thinking that this is a step back for me but I do not believe it to be,” he said. “I’m looking to cement ourselves as one of the best teams in the region and in the world by putting together a group of people that can all see the game in the same way. I want to get there by putting the time into doing something we all enjoy and enjoy doing together.

“This past year has really cemented my desire to be an IGL and to surround myself with people that all want to be there and put the time in regardless of past accolades, accomplishments, or experience.

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“All sorts of young players have broken through the Valorant pro scene and have had relatively high and constant success and the only way to keep up in this new game that is constantly changing is to put the time in and enjoy the game.”

T1 Valorant will make their first appearance in 2022 in the VCT open qualifiers for Stage 1 Challengers, scheduled for January 27-30.