Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker, the standout player for VALORANT, and Cloud9 have parted ways before the start of the team’s VCT Americas run, according to a statement from owner Jack Etienne and head coach Matthew “mCe” Elmore. This comes after a flurry of reports.
In their statement, the C9 duo explained that the team has still not resolved role issues that they say existed before coach mCe or yay arrived, and that given those issues, the team is not meeting the high expectations set by the caliber and cost of the players on the roster. C9 and yay are “mutually parting ways,” which will give yay the opportunity to “figure out what is the best team for him to be on.”
Following C9’s offseason acquisitions of both yay and Zellsis, the team has struggled to solve issues involving changing roles and overlap. With yay joining the roster, C9’s primary duelist last year in leaf has switched between sentinel, Raze, and Viper, while xeppaa and Zellsis both play initiator. And yet despite most teams moving off Chamber and playing more Jett, yay still played more Chamber at VCT LOCK//IN.
Coach mCe clearly said the decision was not made due to personality issues and that yay had been fitting in well with the team. C9’s coach admitted that the removal of yay could very well mean a dip in short-term performance for the team.
C9 is currently holding tryouts, and coach mCe acknowledged at the end of the statement that the team “may even be making more changes to the team in the future.” As first reported by Dot Esports, yay’s former OpTic teammate Jimmy “Marved” Nguyen is included in the trial process for C9.