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T1 to remain in NA following blockbuster VALORANT trade with Cloud9

Left: T1, Right: Cloud9, tags: t1 valorant trade - CC

T1 CEO Joe Marsh said Monday, May 16, that the organization would remain based in North America (NA) after a recent VALORANT trade with Cloud9. Apparently, this announcement shocked the community.

In the wake of the trade, many speculated about why the deal occurred and what it might mean for VALORANT’s transition to a closed, possibly franchised, system in 2023. As T1 originated in South Korea and still has deep ties to that region, one of the biggest questions was whether it would stay in North America.

The move led some to think that T1 was building an all-Korean VALORANT squad so that they could franchise in that region instead since the organization has teams in both South Korea and North America.

In response to the announcement, Twitch streamer and interviewer for Overwatch and VALORANT Josh Wilkinson wrote on Twitter, “What the f*** is this trade??? I need more context and info here, simply baffled. Definitely wins the ‘most confusing roster move of 2022’ award so far”.

Recently, T1 VALORANT squad acquired player Son “Xeta” Seon-ho and coach Yoon “Autumn” Eu-teum from Cloud9. In exchange, the American former Counter-Strike player Rahul “Curry” Nemani was traded to Cloud9. As reported by Dot Esports, Curry was acquired on Sunday, May 15, right after Cloud9’s first match of the VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) Stage 2 Challengers as Cloud9 was unable to get him before the roster lock.

Following the announcements, the CEOs of both organizations explained the moves to shocked members. T1 CEO Joe Marsh subsequently explained on Twitter and other social platforms that the team would remain in North America.

“After meeting with [Joshua “Steel” Nissan] and our GM we felt that the success we had with a mixed nationality roster when [Ha “Sayaplayer” Jung-woo] was with us is [the] best path forward with us since we have scouts in both US and Korea and gives us a larger pool to pull from,” said Marsh on Juked.

T1 has esports teams across North America and South Korea, in addition to content creators from all over the world.

More details on trade

Cloud9 CEO Jack Etienne responded to the news on the organization’s subreddit. He clarified that this was a request from the staff, and neither side had ill feelings toward the other.

“Zeta and Autumn have been wonderful to work with but in the end they were ready for a new challenge and I’ve always supported these requests by players and coaches when possible,” Etienne said. “The entire team and myself wish them well.”

The players involved in the trade also commented on the news, including Curry, who posted thanked T1 players and staff members on social media.

Prior to this trade, T1 released VALORANT head coach David Denis. They announced the decision on Twitter on May 13.

“Today, we bid farewell to @DavidDenisnd as Head Coach for #T1VALORANT. Thank you for your contribution to this journey with us and recognizing the importance of mental health in esports. Best of luck to you, David!” the team wrote.

Cloud9 will participate in VCT Stage 2 Challengers with its new roster, while T1 will compete in third-party tournaments in the meantime as they did not make it to the main event of VCT.