In the fast-paced and ever-evolving realm of Valorant, the off-season can be a rollercoaster of surprises and uncertainties. Even the most skilled players can find themselves navigating a labyrinth of roster changes and organizational reshuffles. But what does it take to not only weather these changes but also emerge as a force to be reckoned with among the world’s best Valorant teams? Evil Geniuses’ Ethan “Ethan” Arnold divulges the building blocks that led to their astonishing ascent in the Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) 2023 season, in an exclusive interview with ONE Esports.
As the Valorant landscape shifts, spotlighting high-impact duelists and strategic masterminds is common. Yet, according to Ethan, successful organizations prioritize players who can serve as the bedrock of the team’s foundation. In a candid conversation, Ethan shared his excitement whenever he joins a new roster, viewing it as a fresh canvas to paint success upon. While personal excellence is important, his primary focus remains on contributing as a team player, a characteristic that resonates with organizations scouting for consistent, dependable performers.
“For me, the team comes first,” Ethan stated. “And that might be the reason why teams want players like me.”
With a storied history in competitive Valorant, dating back to 2021, Ethan’s international experience adds a layer of invaluable mentorship for emerging talents within a team. His time with 100 Thieves saw him contributing to their successful Masters Berlin run, showcasing his ability to guide and uplift rising stars.
Ethan’s departure from 100 Thieves during the VCT 2022 season attracted significant attention, prompting the organization’s CEO, Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag, to reflect on his impact. “I really wish Ethan wanted to stay and win with us, but it wasn’t meant to be,” Nadeshot remarked.
Ethan explained that his decision to leave 100 Thieves stemmed from his assessment of the new players the organization was considering, not aligning with his expectations. This led him to NRG Esports, a chapter that would soon transition to a fruitful period with Evil Geniuses ahead of Riot Games’ franchising program.
Within EG, Ethan occupied a pivotal role, recognized for his potential to anchor a team. “Those are the rocks of the teams,” he affirmed. “You can always gamble and find a Demon1, or any one player of that caliber. It’s really hard to find the foundation of your team, especially since I was at the start of Valorant, so you need someone like that, or else it’s a gamble.”
EG’s VCT 2023 season embarked on a turbulent trajectory, initially characterized by a 10-man roster approach that proved challenging. However, a turning point arrived as EG consolidated their core roster with the addition of Max “Demon1” Mazanov. This alteration rejuvenated their spirit, and the team surged forward with newfound vigor, securing second place at Masters Tokyo and making an impactful run at Valorant Champions 2023.
“When we got Demon1 permanently as our fifth, that gave people a goal to strive for,” Ethan reflected. “Once we got that fifth roster spot solidified, everyone knew we could start working on stuff. That, plus we were getting better.”
The stability in the lineup served as a catalyst, reigniting EG’s collective drive and focus, propelling them to the forefront of North American Valorant. Ethan’s journey from team to team has underscored the significance of steady foundations in a landscape characterized by its dynamism.
As Ethan’s insights illuminate the path EG blazed, it becomes evident that amidst the volatility of the esports arena, the players who anchor their teams and inspire unity can steer the course toward greatness.