(ESI Illustration) Image credit: Riot Games
Riot Games’ VALORANT esports ecosystem is centred around three partnered semi-franchised VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) leagues: EMEA, the Americas and Pacific. Going into its 2024 season these leagues will each comprise of 10 partner teams and a promoted organisation that gained a two-year promotion after competing in VALORANT’s Ascension series.
Ultimately, the format looks to continue the growth of VALORANT esports by providing long-term support, stability and revenue opportunities to select organisations.
But who are the chosen teams that are representing the Americas (North America, Brazil and LATAM)? This article provides a brief background and history of VCT’s partner teams.
(ESI Illustration) Image credit: Cloud9
A staple of North American esports since its formation in 2013, Cloud9 made its debut in the VALORANT scene in 2020. Notably, the organisation reached the quarter-finals of VALORANT Champions in 2021, ultimately losing to Team Liquid.
In 2023, Cloud 9 has maintained somewhat of a middling VALOTANT season, placing 4th in the VCT 2023: Americas League. For a brief period of time in 2020, Cloud9 also had a South Korean roster.
Outside of VALORANT, the organisation has garnered competitive success in League of Legends, CS:GO and Halo, among others. Cloud9 is also the owner of Overwatch League franchise London Spitfire. Some of Cloud9’s notable recent achievements include winning Intel Extreme Masters XVII – Dallas (CS:GO) and the Halo Championship Series 2021 Kickoff Major. Additionally, the organisation has claimed six League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) titles, the second-most in North America.
(ESI Illustration) Image credit: 100 Thieves
Formed by former Call of Duty player Matthew ‘Nadeshot’ Haag, 100 Thieves quickly grew to become a prominent organisation within the League of Legends ecosystem since joining North America’s franchised league (LCS) in 2018.
The organisation was originally founded in 2016, fielding a Call of Duty roster, however, the team disbanded in the same year. 100 Thieves has a strong affiliation with NBA team Cleveland Cavaliers since its resurrection following a multi-million dollar investment from the club’s owner Dan Gilbert to support its re-entry into the scene.
Since then the organisation has claimed an LCS title in 2021 and expanded its competitive portfolio to include Call of Duty, Apex Legends and VALORANT, among others.
In Riot’s FPS title, 100 Thieves qualified for VALORANT Champions 2022 through North America’s last chance qualifier. The organisation also competed in two VCT Masters events in 2021, Stages 1 and 3. In 2023, however, 100 Thieves finished 8th in the VCT 2023: Americas League.
(ESI Illustration) Image credit: Sentinels
Whilst Sentinels may seem like a relatively new name in the esports ecosystem, its origins date back to 2016 under the moniker Phoenix1. Having competed in the pre-franchised North American LCS and temporarily operating Overwatch League franchise Los Angeles Gladiators, Phoenix1 later rebranded in 2018 to Sentinels.
Since then the organisation has competed in Apex Legends, Fortnite, Halo and VALORANT, the latter of which materialised in 2020. The side quickly made a name for itself within the VALORANT Champions Tour, winning the title’s first two Masters events —VCT 2021 Masters North America and Reykjavík.
Despite an impressive start to its VALORANT esports journey, the organisation has yet to find major success in recent years, finishing 7th in the VCT 2023: Americas League.
Outside of VALORANT, the organisation has found success within the Halo and Fortnite scene, notably winning the Halo Championship Series 2022: Kansas City Major and the 2019 Fortnite World Cup Finals (Solo).
(ESI Illustration) Image credit: NRG
NRG is another one of North America’s old guards that continues to make a name for itself. The organisation was founded in 2015, when the owners of NBA’s Sacramento Kings purchased esports organisation Team Coast, which at the time was competing in the League of Legends ecosystem.
From a competitive standpoint, the organisation recorded its best year in VALORANT under the new VCT format in 2023. The North American side secured second place in the VCT 2023: Americas League, and subsequently finished fourth at VCT 2023: Masters Tokyo. Whilst the organisation did compete in VCT Champions 2023, the organisation failed to make it out of the Group Stage.
The organisation has achieved even greater success across its other competitive titles, such as Rocket League, Apex Legends, and Overwatch through San Francisco Shock. Some of the NRG’s crowning moments include winning the Overwatch League 2020 Grand Finals, RLCS Season X North American Championship (2021), and placing second at this year’s ALGS: 2023 Split 1 Playoffs.
In 2023, NRG also made a triumphant return to the North American League of Legends scene, acquiring legacy organisation CLG and winning the 2023 LCS Summer Split.
(ESI Illustration) Image credit: Evil Geniuses
Prior to the new VALORANT Champions Tour format, Evil Geniuses was perhaps one of the least successful organisations within VALORANT. However, in 2023 the organisation went on to become the best organisation in the entire scene, winning VALORANT Champions 2023 and finishing runner-up at VCT 2023: Masters Tokyo.
In general, Evil Geniuses has a historic tenure within the esports scene, dating all the way back to 1999. Originally starting as a Quake clan, the organisation went on to expand into a vast number of titles such as World of Warcraft, Dota, StarCraft, the FGC and Counter-Strike scenes, among many others.
Currently, the organisation operates in League of Legends as a franchised team in the LCS, whilst also competing in Counter-Strike and Dota 2. Alongside a list of accolades that span over 20 years, the organisation was recently crowned LCS 2022 Spring Champion.
(ESI Illustration) Image credit: LOUD
Given the size and high profile of LOUD, it’s easy to mistake the organisation for having been around a long time. In fact, LOUD was only founded in 2019, by Bruno ‘Playhard’ Bittencourt, Jean Ortega and Matthew Ho.
The organisation quickly grew to become a media powerhouse in Brazil, investing even in the music and fashion industries. Through lifestyle-focused content and its performances in the Brazilian Free Fire League (LBFF), LOUD became the first esports organisation in the world to reach 1bn views on YouTube after just over one year.
Its success in tournaments, though, is a more recent trend. Despite having a strong Free Fire team since its foundation, LOUD only really achieved the status of ‘competitive powerhouse’ in 2022. This saw the organisation win a split of the LBFF, Split 2 2022 of the Brazilian League of Legends Championship (CBLOL) and the world title at VALORANT Champions Istanbul.
Even if the 2022 world championship launched LOUD to the top of the esport, the organisation has since maintained its status as Brazil’s biggest team. In 2023, the organisation finished first in the VCT 2023: Americas League and placed third during VALORANT Champions 2023.
(ESI Illustration) Image credit: FURIA
Known as ‘The Brazilian Powerhouse’, FURIA reached international prominence mainly through its achievements in CS:GO and being a part of the ESL Pro League. Led since its foundation in 2017 by Jaime Pádua and poker pro André Akkari, the organisation competes in League of Legends, Rocket League and Apex Legends.
The organisation also invests in lifestyle content, experiences with the community, and in competitions on the edge of the esports spectrum, like chess motorsport and even fighting.
In VALORANT, the organisation has featured a roster since 2021. The team qualified for two editions of VALORANT Champions, Berlin 2021 and Istanbul 2022, but on both occasions did not get past the first stage. In 2023, the organisation placed sixth in the VCT 2023: Americas League.
(ESI Illustration) Image credit: MIBR
MIBR is owned by Immortals Gaming Club (IGC), a North American esports conglomerate that has heavily invested in Brazil since 2018. However, the history of the MIBR name goes way back to the beginnings of esports, being one of Brazil’s most representative brands in Counter-Strike since 2003.
Having only entered VALORANT in January 2022, MIBR didn’t achieve any significant results prior to receiving VCT partner status. Moreover, in the VCT 2023: Americas League the organisation finished 9th overall.
The organisation, which has been under the management of CEO Roberta Coelho since 2021, also holds competitive rosters in Free Fire and Rainbow Six Siege. For the latter title, MIBR achieved third and fourth-place finishes at the Six Invitational 2021 and 2022, respectively.
(ESI Illustration) Image credit: KRU Esports
Founded in 2020 in Argentina by the former Manchester City player Sergio Agüero, KRÜ Esports quickly made VALORANT its flagship esport. Prior to the new VCT format, the team never failed to qualify for one of the game’s international tournaments, having consistently placed first in LATAM qualifiers since 2021.
Despite finishing 10th in the VCT 2023: Americas League, KRÜ won the VCT 2023: Americas Last Chance Qualifier to compete in 2023 VALORANT Champions.
The organisation experienced quick growth in the esports scene, counting on the support of prominent sponsors throughout its tenure. It’s current list of sponsors includes Disney+, Puma, Logitech G and Visa, among others. Nowadays, KRÜ is one of the most relevant organisations in Argentina.
Following its founder’s professional roots, KRÜ also fielded a roster in FIFA prior to the game’s rebranding to EA Sports FC. Moreover, the organisation currently competes in Rocket League.
(ESI Illustration) Image credit: Leviatán
Founded in Argentina by Fernando ‘F10’ Diez, Leviatán is looking to represent the Latin American esports scene.
Alongside VALORANT, Leviatán also fields rosters in the Free Fire Latinoamerica League and LVP’s League of Legends Liga Master Flow.
Participation in multiple competitions, plus the reach of over 10m fans across social media channels, has earned Leviatán a sponsorship deal with fast food franchise KFC.
Leviatán has had a VALORANT roster since 2021. However, it came into VALORANT’s international spotlight during VALORANT Champions Istanbul 2022, when it qualified for the competition’s playoffs after beating Team Liquid and Paper Rex.
In 2023, the organisation finished fifth in the VCT 2023: Americas League.
(ESI Illustration) Image credit: G2 Esports
European powerhouse G2 Esports is VCT Americas’ latest entrant after the organisation gained a two-year promotion into the league. However, unlike promoted teams in VCT Pacific and EMEA, G2 Esports acquired the VCT Ascension promotion spot by acquiring the majority of The Guard’s roster after the organisation pulled out of the scene.
G2 Esports is more widely known for its endeavours in Europe, particularly within League of Legends having won the title’s top European League on 12 occasions. In Counter-Stike its roster also notably won Intel Extreme Masters Cologne 2023 and Intel Extreme Masters Katowice 2023.
Prior to acquiring a VCT promotion place, G2 Esports competed in VALORANT Challengers North America, the scene’s second tier. Moreover, the organisation was reportedly touted to get a VCT Americas partner team spot last year before controversy with its then-CEO, and Founder, Carlos ‘ocelote’ Rodríguez surfaced.
Originally posted: September 23rd, 2022. Updated: September 27th, 20233.