El Diablo built another lair, this time in Istanbul.
A landmark year for OpTic Gaming and its VALORANT division was also a landmark year for its Chamber/Jett superstar Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker. Yay emerged as one of the dominant faces of competitive VALORANT and ended the year with another landmark performance at Champions 2022.
Yay put up MVP-like numbers throughout the entire tournament and finished No. 1 in both overall K/D (1.5) and kills per round (0.93), according to VLR. His final K/D figure is in a category all on its own; the other top five players in overall K/D didn’t finish with a rating higher than 1.4. Fnatic’s Derke finished second in both categories, with a 1.39 K/D and a 0.92 kills per round rating.
But yay’s greatness at Champions 2022 wasn’t limited to only his total kill numbers. Yay was one of the most ferocious opening kill players in Istanbul, finishing with the most total first bloods with 96. He also had the second highest opening duel success rate (first bloods vs. first deaths) with 70 percent, second only to EDward Gaming’s ZmjjKK, who finished with 71 percent (at a much lower volume).
Yay also had the most amount of impactful rounds, getting two kills or more in a staggering 117 rounds, with the second highest being DRX’s BuZz at 87 followed by OpTic teammate Victor, who had 84. Speaking of impact, yay ended the tournament with a kill-assist-survive-trade (KAST) percentage of 73, one of the highest for a Chamber/Jett player who typically doesn’t get many assists by way of the agents’ abilities and playstyle.
He also finished second in overall ACS behind Leviatan’s kiNgg and third in average damage per round behind both Derke and kiNgg.
Sadly for OpTic and yay, the tremendous year they had ended in disappointment when they lost the grand finals to LOUD. Instead of having a singular standout player, LOUD achieved their greatness via shared impact. They had three players in the top 12 for K/D in Less (fifth), pancada (seventh), and Sacy (12th). Pancada and Sacy also both finished top 10 in KAST, but shockingly, the highest ranked LOUD player in ACS is Less at 19th.
Regardless of the result, yay’s run throughout the year at both international events and NA Challengers competition firmly puts him in contention for consideration as the best player in VALORANT. Will future Chamber nerfs change this in 2023? Will he be wearing a new uniform next year? We’ll have to wait and see what the future holds for El Diablo.