VALORANT Champions Tour Game Changers held its first press conference before the first weekend of matches, allowing some of the top female VALORANT teams in the world to answer questions about the upcoming competition.
For TSM, the Game Changers tour is only the beginning for the squad — and other female VALORANT teams. The main goal is to compete in "traditional" tournaments with mostly all-male teams. Game Changers is the first step towards getting women to compete at the top level, said Mirna "Athxna" Noureldin.
"One of the biggest things that people think is that women aren't as good or don't play enough to be a part of tier 1 teams," she said. "But people seem to forget that the female scene was put down a lot. Women didn't have the option to play in tier 1, not because of skill but because of sexism. So a tournament like this allows all skill levels of women to be seen. That's important because players like us know we can compete at the highest level but this gives us the groundwork to do that."
Added captain Catherine "Cath" Leroux: "We want to show other younger females that there are women competing at the game and they are able to be successful. But the main goal is to reduce the gap between the number of guys playing the game and girls playing the game."
Even though the goal is to compete with top teams in more "traditional tournaments," Cath and the other TSM VALORANT ladies believe that they first need to pave the way for more girls to get involved in gaming. And this should start at a young age before competitive girls start falling behind their male counterparts.
And if there is one team to do just that, it's TSM: Emily "mle" Peters is just 16 years old.
"I should have recorded the moment we decided to add Emily to our roster. When we announced it to her, it was one of the most heartwarming things. Her reaction was the cutest. You could feel the happiness through the screen," Cath recalled. "That was TSM allows us to do — be together and compete. Be role models to upcoming women that also want to do this. Players like Emily, who are 16 and insane at the game. I’m so excited for the future."
VALORANT has become one of the most progressive esports in the industry, making the Game Changers tournament a major opportunity for women to get involved in esports like never before. Athxna explained that a lot of top female players from Overwatch and Apex Legends switched over to VALORANT, making the scene quite welcoming to other women that wanted to get involved.
This includes Cath, who wanted something new after playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive for over 15 years. She said VALORANT is fun and vibrant and full of new strategies. But it's also full of competitive female gamers.
For these talented VALORANT players, being under a big organization like TSM allows them to explore these incredible possibilities. It allows them to chase big dreams and make an impact on the scene.
So of course, there's a lot of pressure on TSM to perform well at Game Changers. There's a lot of pressure to prove just how great women can be at VALORANT and inspire other girls and women to get involved. It's just the beginning of the fight, but Cath said they have to focus on the present if they want to do well. They can't get too far ahead of themselves just yet.
Said Cath: "It’s about keeping your head in the present moment and take it match by match. Whoever we compete against, we will keep our head in the game. Of course, it would be amazing to win the whole tournament. But we will see. We will go game by game and hopefully do really well."
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