TSM's announced on Wednesday that they have mutually parted ways with Matthew "Wardell" Yu after the Canadian player chose not to move to Texas with the rest of the team. Wardell was a founding member of the TSM FTX VALORANT team, competing with the team just short of two years. With his departure, the only remaining founding member of the squad is Yassine "Subroza" Taoufik.
According to the statement put out by TSM on Twitter, the reason for his departure is that he chose not to move to Texas with the rest of the team, and consequently stepped down from his role. "Matt has been an important part of TSM from the beginning, and we wish him nothing but success in his future endeavors," TSM stated.
"Thanks for pulling me out of the gutter and giving me a brand new life, won't ever forget that," Wardell stated in response to TSM's announcement.
It is unclear who will replace Wardell on the squad. T1 Seven competed with the team during their matches at Knights Arena Monthly Gauntlet 2022: February, signaling that they are perhaps considering him as a replacement, though nothing has been confirmed as of writing this article.
VALORANT teams are increasingly moving to Texas in search of the best pings to compete on in the world of online professional competition. Many of the professional teams are already based in Texas, so competing against them on Texas servers can be an issue, as demonstrated by TenZ recent struggle with ping during NA VCT Challengers 1.
Hiko explained in a comment last year that in Texas the pings are better since many of the servers that are used for VCT competition are based in Texas, which, in a game like VALORANT, is a direct advantage. It is unclear why Wardell refused to move, but Texas does rank highly in anti-Asian racism incidents, with over 3800 hate incidents in 2020, which could possibly have contributed to his decision not to live there.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.