Shroud, Stewie2K to participate in VALORANT’s RE//LOAD
Riot Games and Amazon are teaming up to organize the end-of-the-year celebration VALORANT event called “RE//LOAD” on December 16. It will feature professional players such as Michael “shroud” Grzesiek and Jacky “Stewie2K” Yip and popular content creators such as Kyedae Shymko.
There will be both physical and virtual event experiences, with Crown Channel broadcasting the event from Atlanta, Georgia. RE//LOAD will be hosted by prominent VALORANT presenters Ali Kabbani and Jacki Jing, who recently hosted VCT Stage 1 Masters in Iceland.
The invitees will be divided into four groups — Team Undercity, Team Vengeance, Team RGX and Team Protocol. Team Undercity comprises Janet Rose “xChocoBars” Xu as the captain, Peter Park, Ryan “itsRyanHiga” Higa, Danny “Shiphtur” Le and Luke “PunzOP.”
Team Vengeance will have Melanie “meL” Capone as its captain, Kyedae, Alexis, Jessica and ethos. Team RGX will feature Hannah “bnans” Kennedy as the captain, Timothy “iiTzTimmy,” Lindsey “LuluLuvely,” Justin “Just9n” Ortiz and Shroud.
Team Protocol consists of captain Celine “starsmitten” Cheung, Albert “BoxBox” Zheng, Stewie2k, Jonas “AverageJonas” Navarsete and AngelsKimi.
“The VALORANT community feels different from any other community. Everyone knows one another, and everyone is very open-minded,” Starsmitten said.
Per Amazon’s official release, those teams will compete in three “VALORANT-inspired” onsite activities. DJ Dabin and Mike Dimes will perform live music at the venue.
RE//LOAD is expected to be a thrilling celebration festival for VALORANT, similar to the Crown Channel and Riot Games-organized event wwFest in 2020. The event included experimental art and a music festival featuring Madeon, Whipped Cream, Moore Kismet and others.
“Following the success of wwFest, Amazon is thrilled to continue our long-standing partnership with Riot Games and to bring another incredible live event, hosted by Crown Channel, to the VALORANT community, ”Sallie Hirsch, Crown Channel general manager, said.
Some fans will see Shroud and Stewie2k compete in VALORANT for the first time, two players who have expressed a desire to return to esports.
Stewie2k has participated in other VALORANT creator and pro player invites, including G4 Rumble and FaZe Smeag All-Star Weekend, but Shroud has not participated in any of those events.
In his free agency, Stewie2k has been linked to several teams and training sessions but has yet to officially confirm to join a team for a VALORANT Champions Tour spot in Challengers.
During the offseason, many creator-led events have been incorporated into the competitive schedule as streamers and professional players seek to expand their viewership and build strategies to compete against each other.
Riot Games and Amazon have collaborated consistently on in-game activations and other activities. Nikki Lewis, senior director of brand marketing at Riot, said organizing reload RE//LOAD was a strategic move by the company.
“Valorant lives at the intersection of competitive gaming and up-and-coming music, so partnering with Amazon’s Crown Channel to throw an in-person event like RE//LOAD – both a gaming event, starring some of VALORANT’s fan-favorite streamers, and a music event, featuring rising artists like Mike Dimes, Jae Park, and Dabin – was a no-brainer,” Lewis said.