Meet yay, the Best Esports Athlete nominee from Valorant

Pro Valorant player "yay"

You want to play? Let’s play. Valorant players know the thrill and fear that come along with that voice line whenever Chamber activates his ultimate. Since Tour de Force is a faster and deadlier Operator, the concern is valid. Even in the professional scene, that line keeps pros on edge, especially when the enemy Chamber is El Diablo – Best Esports Athlete nominee Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker.

Meet yay, the Best Esports Athlete nominee from Valorant

yay’s performance in Valorant earned him a nomination from The Game Awards 2022. There is rarely a boring moment whenever you watch his plays. His aim, positioning, and game sense allow him to make impact kills, clutches, and match wins.

Before joining Cloud 9, yay played as OpTic Gaming’s sentinel and duelist. The roster included Marved, FNS, crashies, and Victor, with Chet as their coach.

OpTic Gaming's Valorant Roster, from left to right: yay, Marved, FNS, Victor, FNS
OpTic Gaming’s Valorant Roster 2022 | Riot Games

In 2022, OpTic gaming brought the trophy home in Valorant Championship Tournament (VCT) 2022: Stage 1 Masters. They also bagged 3rd and 2nd place in VCT 2022: Stage 2 Masters and Valorant Champions 2022 respectively.

yay’s Valorant Gameplay

For fans who are following the professional Valorant scene, yay’s gameplay is highly recognizable. He is known for his calm demeanor, pixel-perfect crosshair placement, and his use of the aim-down sight (ADS).

Even casters and streamers cannot contain their bias whenever yay gets a quick kill the community calls a “flick” or an almost impossible clutch.

Tarik, Valorant’s most popular streamer, mentioned that his consistency and impact make him one of the best players. TenZ, another professional player, shared that this is because he takes “high percentage plays” or duels that favor him. It only means he could make his shots look easy even during those moments when his health is at a disadvantage.

yay proved this during his matches in major Valorant tournaments with his off-angle positions, mind games, unexpected lurks, and precision. Highlights that impressed fans include his 3 HP clutch vs. DRX’s BuZz during Valorant Champions 2022 and his 5-bullet headhunter ace on an eco-round vs. XSET during VCT North America Stage 2 Challengers.

See Also

yay’s 5-bullet ace with Chamber’s headhunter vs. XSET during VCT North America Stage 2 Challengers. | Tarik’s stream/Jett Shorts on YouTube

According to VLR, yay topped in the number of frags and kill/death (K/D) ratio both during Stage 1 and Champions. On Stage 1, he had 417 kills and 1.32 K/D while on Champions, he had 460 kills and 1.5 K/D.

This makes him fun to watch because you’ll often end up with your jaw dropped and a thought, “just how?”

The Game Awards’ Best Esports Athlete 2022 Nominees

Since 2014, The Game Awards have had a long history of honoring esports athletes who have contributed to the hype and entertainment of video games. For the Best Esports Athlete category, they explained that their picks are the ones “judged to be the most outstanding for performance and conduct in 2022, irrespective of the game”.

Aside from yay, there are four other nominees: Jeong “Chovy” Ji-Hoon and Lee “Faker” Sang-Hyoek from League of Legends, and Finn “Karrigan” Anderson and Oleksandr “S1mple” Kostyliev from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO).

You can vote at the official The Game Awards website until December 8, 1 p.m. in Philippine Standard Time. Best Esports Athlete aside, there are 30 other categories, including Game of the Year. The results will be streamed live the next day on all platforms from Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles.

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