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Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU)’s Valorant team is two wins away from qualifying for an “on-land,” or in-person, esports tournament in Los Angeles in December.
Currently, TMU Bold ranks 17th on the list of North American post-secondary teams that play a first-person shooter game in a league known as College Valorant (CVAL). The Valorant team has consistently ranked in the top 20 since joining the league earlier this year.
Making it to LA would be a big feat for the Bold, because it would give the team a chance to compete tournament-style against the best teams from all over North America.
Right now, TMU is only able to compete against teams in the North Coast sub-league of CVAL to ensure its connection and internet speed levels, known as “ping,” are similar to its competitors, and therefore fair.
Geographical location is important because there are six Valorant game servers scattered around the U.S., and the closer gamers are to a server, the better their ping — the better the ping, the better the reaction time for players.
The 2022 on-land tournament will be the first hosted by CVAL and TMU’s team has been working tirelessly to secure its spot in the bracket, says Ramy Ayoub-Horvath, a Valorant team member and fourth-year hospitality and tourism student.
“It feels really good being able to be the dark horse of every tournament because when everyone’s like, ‘Who’s TMU?’ We come and show all the big-name schools who we are,” he said.
Team Valorant is one of two TMU teams to play through their league playoffs and represent the university in the fast-growing esports.
The TMU Rainbow Six Siege (R6) team also made it to the North American Collegiate League (NACE) quarterfinals last week before getting knocked out of the tournament by Butler University. The squad remains in good spirits, because of how strong the team has become, said team co-manager Kevin Chung.
“In the past, again, we’ve had players that were not so good or not so collected when it came to losing,” said Chung. “Since this summer, we kind of adjusted what kind of players we were looking for. So far, I’ve been very, very happy with the results.”
The team is a mix of veterans and new players, says TMU esports vice president and R6 coach Alex Antonyuk. “There feels like an organic chemistry in [the squad], where things came together naturally,” he said.
TMU’s teams are representing the university in the quickly growing industry of competitive esports. According to Statista, esports market revenue worldwide hit over $1.5 billion in 2022 with an audience size of about 530 million.
TMU itself recently unveiled its state-of-the-art Red Bull Gaming Hub, designed specifically, according to its website, to provide students with opportunities to learn and play the games they love.
“I feel like we’re just at the peak of it,” said Ayoub-Horvath. “We’re going to be a part of esports history, especially here at the school.”