Valorant stars yay and Zellsis join Cloud9

yay claps his hands on OpTic before he signed with Cloud9 ValorantLance Skundrich/Riot Games

Jaccob ‘yay’ Whiteaker and Jordan ‘Zellsis« Montemurro are taking their talents to Cloud9 for the VCT 2023 season, the Valorant star announced on October 17.

yay released a college-style announcement video on October 16 teasing his imminent decision, with VCT 2023 spelled out with balloons and baseball caps of different colors on a table in front of him.

The 24-year-old player was linked with Cloud9 earlier this offseason, according to a report from Dot Esports. On September 21, yay announced that he was open to offers as a restricted free agent from North America and EMEA, after OpTic Gaming was not given a spot in the partnered league.

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The former OpTic player will join the Cloud9 roster, linking up with existing members Anthony ‘vanity’ Malaspina, Erick ‘Xeppaa’ Bach, and Nathan ‘leaf’ Orf. Former Sentinels and Version1 player Jordan ‘Zellsis’ Montemurro will round out the team, according to the announcement.

yay is considered one of the best players in the world, setting a number of statistical records throughout the season. At the recent Valorant Champions, yay had the highest Kill/Death ratio of the tournament at 1.50 and the highest kills per round ratio at 0.93.

Zellsis is one of the most touted prospects in North America and graced the international stage in 2021 with Version1. He was one of the two stand-ins, along with Michael ‘shroud’ Grzesiek, that played for Sentinels in the North America Last Chance Qualifier for Valorant Champions 2022

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yay takes his talents to Cloud9

Unlike OpTic, who enjoyed a successful 2022 season and has an argument for being the best team of the year, Cloud9 had a difficult year.

The organization went from scratching its way into Valorant Champions 2021 through the Last Chance Qualifier to not making any international events in 2022. Domestically, Cloud9 did well in Valorant Champions Tour Stage 1. They almost made it to the Stage 1 Masters event but lost to The Guard in the lower bracket final of the North American qualifying tournament.

Optic yay points his finger like a gun gangster style at the cameraRiot Games
Yay was a standout player in OpTic’s series against The Guard at Valorant Masters.

In Stage 2, the team took a nosedive in form, going 2-3 in the group stage and missing out on the playoffs.

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Organizations in the partnered leagues have already submitted their initial rosters for VCT 2023. Teams do not have to announce their rosters publically yet, and the transfer window will remain open until the February deadline.

Fans will get to see yay compete with his new squad in the VCT Kickoff tournament in Brazil in February 2023.