Rawkus Retires From Professional Overwatch, Switches to Valorant

by in Overwatch | Aug, 3rd 2020

Yet another high-profile Overwatch player has decided to retire in favor of Valorant — Shane “Rawkus” Flaherty, best known for his play under the Houston Outlaws banner. This twenty-six-year-old veteran flex support has been competing for years at the highest of levels, and has managed to etch his name in the history books by winning the 2019 Overwatch World Cup with Team USA. His stints with FaZe Clan and Houston Outlaws were relatively successful, although even his best days and accomplishments pale in comparison to that historic (and relatively recent) World Cup run.

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As he retires from Overwatch, the fact that Rawkus decided to switch to Valorant should come as no surprise. After all, it’s sort of a trend these days. This means that three out of seven OWWC 2019 winners have now decided to try their hand at Riot’s first-person shooter, despite its non-existent competitive scene. Granted, there’s a lot of potential, but it’s still too early to tell whether it’ll be realized in time or not. 

Rawkus’ retirement and transfer to Valorant is also a welcome reminder of just how many incredible players and personalities Blizzard managed to attract in a staggeringly short amount of time. While we often bemoan the game’s meta or overall state, it’s important to take notice of the things that are good, and that goes for both the game itself as well as its competitive scene. Rawkus is a prominent figure and a beloved player who was quickly able to amass a fan following, and that’s not just for his in-game skills (which weren’t always on display given his well-documented ups and downs). 

That said, Valorant has done a lot of irreparable damage to professional Overwatch. The game has seen a decline in both player base and overall interest, but it’s still in a pretty healthy state. With Overwatch 2 being around the corner, Blizzard will have to deliver a much more polished and refreshing product if they intend on keeping their beloved IP alive, successful, and lucrative. Overwatch still stands strong with its distinct strengths and weaknesses, but fans have started to move on to newer and more refreshing titles like Valorant and Call of Duty: Warzone. Unfortunately for Blizzard, their professional players are not exempt from this exodus, and Rawkus’ switch to Valorant will likely not be the last we see. 

The onus is now on Riot Games to deliver. Will their FPS live up to the hype?


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