The legendary Counter-Strike player Nick “nitr0” Canella joines 100 Thieves as in-game-leader. The organization has now dropped their previous roster, with the exception of Spencer “Hiko” Martin. The two former Team Liquid CS:GO players reunite, having spent three years apart.
100 Thieves were among the first organizations to sign a VALORANT roster. Unfortunately, in the race to sign the most promising talents early on, they may have made a mistake. While teams like SK Telecom T1, Sentinels, TSM and Immortals have been able to secure great North American players, the 100T roster has lagged behind. Aside from Hiko, all former players had a PUBG background. At their last event together, the FaZe Clan Invitational, the team went out dead last in their group.
NITR0 IS A CSGO VETERAN
With nitr0, the team has arguably secured the highest-profile player available in the VALORANT scene. The player has won numerous trophies in Counter-Strike just last year, his team held the number one spot in the world rankings for several months. Most of the CS:GO players transitioning to VALORANT have long left their glory days behind. A perfect example of this is Hiko, who failed to get back to the top after exiting Team Liquid in 2017. Spending his time with teams like Rogue, his individual performance suffered and he faded into obscurity. Fortunately for him, he managed to build up a great streaming career. VALORANT now offers a second opportunity for him to prove himself as an esports athlete once again. The game definitely rewards intelligent gameplay and Hiko has always been an incredibly cerebral player.
However, nitr0 has just had his peak. He hasn’t become “washed up”, he hasn’t lost his chance of becoming one of the best CS:GO players – because he still is! His career in this historic esport didn’t need to end. But he probably wasn’t satisfied with his options. Another team would have had to buy him out of his contract. The second best North American team, Evil Geniuses, already has a skilled in-game-leader. Even Gen.G esports would have a hard time deciding to replace Damian “daps” Steele. So the only option for nitr0 would have been going the international route. This would have likely required him to relocate to Europe. Maybe this is the reason why he decided to jump ship and join a VALORANT team instead. Or maybe he’s just tired of playing the same game for over six years now.
CAN THIS TEAM WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS?
So what are their chances of getting to the top? First of all, the team currently consists of only two players. Obviously, they will have to find a lot more talented players in order to create a competitive lineup. Second of all, we haven’t really seen nitr0 play VALORANT just yet. As most CS:GO players have shown, the transition to this new game isn’t incredibly complicated. Still, there is no guarantee that his Counter-Strike skillset will perfectly translate to VALORANT. The competition is already incredibly stiff, so it will be difficult to overthrow the likes of Sentinels and G2 Esports.
In any case, this is great publicity. Next to Jay “sinatraa” Won, the former MVP of Overwatch League, this might be the biggest signing within professional VALORANT so far. 100 Thieves are definitely committing to this game, so let’s hope that they follow it through with more high-level additions to the roster.