The 2023 season in the world of Valorant esports concluded with an impressive victory that crowned Evil Geniuses as the champions, bringing North America its first world title in the game. This year marked another bright moment in the history of Riot Games, with increased viewership and the players cementing their positions as top professionals.
2023 kicked off with captivating twists, such as the restructuring of LOUD and other teams, the emergence of super-teams like Fnatic and NAVI, as well as drama surrounding Cloud9 and Yay’s departure from the team.
Amid these events, several players stood out, showing results that will etch their names in Valorant’s history and elevate them to the pinnacle of world professionals.
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Here are our top five players of this Valorant season:
5 — Max “Demon1” Mazanov
After a surprisingly quiet performance at the VCT Masters Tokyo, Evil Geniuses’ ace showcased an incredible performance at Valorant Champions 2023. Demon1 made his way through VCT Americas as he was getting acquainted with the stage in his rookie season, but remained unnoticed.
At Valorant Champions 2023, he finally overcame all challenges, decimating his opponents. He finished the competition with the highest rating, kill-to-death ratio, kills per round, and headshot percentage. He also made it to the top five in average combat score and ranked second in average damage per round. Demon1 also racked up a series of over 100 kills against LOUD, achieving 101 kills across five played maps.
4 — Emir “Alfajer” Beder
From the start of the year, Alfajer has been the best Sentinel player globally.
The first of several Fnatic players on this list, Alfajer has been a consistent anchor for his team. While the Turkish player might not have the flashiest style, he consistently scores multiple kills per round or holds an entire site for his team.
In the regular VCT EMEA championship, he showcased his prowess on the domestic front, securing a spot in the top five for many statistical metrics.
At VCT Masters Tokyo, he maintained this form on an international scale. Among all participants of this tournament, Alfajer secured top-five positions in VLR rating metrics, kill-to-death ratio, and kills per round. At Valorant Champions 2023, Alfajer continued to stand out as the best Sentinel in the world, ranking in the top five for VRL rating, kill-to-death ratio, and average damage dealt per round.
3 — Leo ‘Leo’ Yannesson
Leo joined Fnatic in the 2023 season after a successful year with Guild Esports.
Upon joining Fnatic in 2023, he evolved into a beast surrounded by young talents and top-tier IGLs. Taking on a more supportive role with Fnatic, he primarily focused on scouting initiators and staying back during initial engagements, resulting in his increased impact on the server.
At VCT LOCK//IN, Leo was amongst the top three in VLR rating stats and kill-death ratios and had multiple impactful rounds with several frags. His statistics from this event are particularly impressive, considering many players near the top played only one or two series.
2 — Erik ‘aspas’ Santos
Aspas has continued his stellar form from Valorant Champions 2022, emerging as a key figure for LOUD, which reached the VCT Grand Finals twice in a row.
This young talent consistently served as a reliable entry fragger throughout 2022, playing a significant role in the team’s world championship title win and setting an unparalleled record in the domestic arena. Analysts have praised his intelligent in-game decisions, and even after the departure of two players from the team during the off-season, Aspas remained LOUD’s lead player.
In a best-of-five series against DRX at VCT LOCK//IN, this Brazilian sensation scored 93 kills, appearing nearly invincible, especially when backed by his home crowd. Although the Brazilian team had an unfortunate exit from VCT Masters Tokyo, losing consecutively, Aspas found his groove again at Valorant Champions due to the team’s stellar performance.
1 — Nikita ‘Derke’ Sirmitev
Fnatic had a commendable 2022, making it to nearly all international events and finishing in the top 6 at Valorant Champions.
However, in 2023, the team started to tear everything apart, thanks to their new killing machine — Derke. This Finnish-Russian player excelled with the Chamber when the Agent was in the meta, but returning to classic duelists like Raze and Jett, Derke seemed to regain his mojo and started fragging at the highest level again.
At VCT LOCK//IN, Fnatic’s primary duelist was ranked as the third-best Jett player and played the most rounds with this Agent. He continued his splendid gameplay at VCT EMEA, Masters Tokyo, and Valorant Champions. Even though Fnatic only secured the fourth place at the Valorant World Championship, Derke remains one of the best Jetts globally.