Team Liquid have signed amateur team fish123 and former Counter-Strike: Global Offensive star Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom as their new VALORANT roster, sources familiar with the signing told ESPN.
Negotiations between those players and Liquid were first reported by French first-person shooter game website 1pv on Monday, with sources telling ESPN that the deal is more formalized than previously reported. Liquid beat out a few teams interested in the primarily British roster, led by former Counter-Strike pro Adam "ec1s" Eccles, according to sources.
Fish123 are set to play in the WePlay! Invitational beginning Wednesday. It's unclear if they will sport the Liquid banner but sources intimated that an announcement of the signing is imminent.
ScreaM joins the team as one of the most popular European Counter-Strike pros, whose transition to VALORANT has led him to have a similar profile in that game. In Counter-Strike, ScreaM -- who lives in Belgium but is fluent in French -- competed for top French nationality teams, such as Titan, G2 Esports and Team Envy.
In the past few months, as VALORANT's competitive scene has started to develop following the beta release in April and official release in June, fish123 have become one of Europe's best squads. The team took first place in the Mandatory Cup and Solary Cup in May, as well as third-fourth place in the Fnatic Proving Grounds event.
In late June the team parted with its fifth player Ardis "ardiis" Svarenieks, who joined G2 Esports as they built a roster around Oscar "mixwell" Cañellas Colocho. Mixwell and ScreaM team together during parts of the beta and found large success as a part of Prodigy, an amateur team of players who are represented by Prodigy Agency.
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Top European esports organizations are intrigued by VALORANT, with an understanding that most teams are looking for at least one "marketable" player to build around before signing a full team, industry sources told ESPN. The lack of premier organizations signing established lineups from the game's beta period has resulted in numerous amateur squads separating in hopes of finding a more permanent home. The opposite has occurred in North America, where teams like Immortals and Gen.G have bet on lesser known players who they believe have a higher upside.
Liquid is one of the most popular organizations in all of esports and have had a significant presence in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive for years. The team is run by two CEOs, Dutch founder Victor "Nazgul" Goossens and former Team Curse owner Steve "Liquid112" Arhancet. Liquid has a presence in both Los Angeles and Amsterdam with teams and players located in North America, Europe and across the world. Disney, the parent company of ESPN, is a minority owner in aXiomatic, the majority owner of Team Liquid.