Valorant players prepare for first matches in front of fans at VCT Masters: “It’s been a very long time”

Declan Mclaughlin
The Valorant Masters Iceland stage
Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games

For Valorant players competing to qualify to VCT Stage 2 Masters Copenhagen, the prospect of playing in front of a crowd is exciting as it has been years since some of them have competed in an esport with fans in attendance.

In North America, most Valorant players have yet to play game with a crowd in attendance outside of small third-party events across the country. In South Korea and Japan there have been a select few events that have had crowds, but nothing on the scale that Valorant fans should expect in Copenhagen, Denmark for the final three days of competition.

For XSET’s Brendan “BcJ” Jensen the last time he competed with a crowd was in a different esport entirely in 2018, which for many Valorant players is common.

“I played in Poland for [Apex Legends] and that was an 80 teams group stage Battle Royale tournament,” the former Apex pro said in an interview with Dexerto. “And it was a sweat fest.”

The back of a gaming chair framed by the Valorant Masters Iceland stage
Lance Skundrich for Riot Games
Fans will be in attendance for the final three days of competition at Masters Copenhagen.

The 20 year old was in a transitional year in his career as Apex was trending down in popularity and was coming off his first stint with an esports organization in T1. BcJ also pointed towards his first LAN tournament with a crowd the month prior before his trip to Poland in Minneapolis, Minnesota for the X Games.

“There’s just something about that environment,” he said. “You’re playing in North America, the crowds there, my family was able to travel from Michigan. That was something that was just I don’t think I’ve been able to experience ever.”

Valorant players reminisce about playing in front of fans

For FaZe Clan’s Phat “supamen” Le, his last event featuring a live audience was also abroad, in China, in 2019 as he was competing in CrossFire.

“Those guys don’t mess around when it comes to a Chinese team playing against foreign teams,” the North American player said. “The stadium would literally fill up with like 1000’s and 1000’s and 1000’s of fans.”

At the time, supamen was contemplating leaving esports all together, as he was about to finish his degree in health science, and find a normal job at a hospital somewhere. But, with the start of a world health crisis, he got into Valorant and is now on track to potentially reach a similar situation with 1000’s of fans cheering him in Copenhagen.

OpTic Gaming secured their spot at VCT Stage 2 Masters Copenhagen with their win against XSET in the North American VCT Challengers winner’s semifinals, locking in not only that tournament but Valorant Champions as well. The Valorant world championship will also feature a crowd according to Riot.

The team’s star player, Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker, said that he couldn’t recall the last time he player at a LAN event in front of crowd.

“It’s been a very long time,” yay said in an interview with Dexerto. “Actually, I think my last crowd event it’s maybe been like three or four years. I honestly don’t remember.”

The last one he said he did remember was a 2018 Counter-Strike tournament in London where the Valorant pro was around 20 years old.

“I was still trying to figure like a whole bunch of stuff out and I was like one of those more up-and-coming players,” he said about that time in his career.

The potential of playing in front of crowd is a motivator for pros, according to those Dexerto talked to, as they chase a high that they haven’t felt in almost three years.

“I think crowds do add actually a lot of excitement to games its an experience in which like, I can’t really describe,” yay said about playing in front of fans.

Valorant players and fans will see which teams will get the chance to compete in front of a live audience at VCT Stage 2 Masters Copenhagen as the tournament begins on July 10.

loading...