2021 World champion of VALORANT: Who is Turkish Jett cNed?

Last Sunday, we witnessed the first world championship of VALORANT: VCT Champions 2021. In the grand final against Gambit Esports, coming back from 2-1, Acend managed to defeat their opponent and took home the championship trophy.

Out of giant organizations like Team Liquid, Gambit Esports, Cloud9 and more, Acend managed such an achievement to be the best VALORANT team in the world. Let’s try to find out how they did that, and the impact their superstar cNed had on their success.

VALORANT is a five man game, and a team does not succeed thanks to one man’s performance. LoL’s GOAT Faker had Bengi, MaRin, and countless more skilled players on his side, just like how CS:GO’s GOAT s1mple had electronic and others. cNed is not the only factor that Acend won a world championship here, and his performance wasn’t the best out of his teammates during Champions. However, his transfer really did change Acend’s fate.

Riot Games’ official gaming circuit VALORANT Champions Tour is over for 2021, but there are more events and VCT will start again in 2022. If you want to find the odds and bet on the best events, visit Luckbox’s VALORANT page.

cNed’s VALORANT career started long before Acend’s

Image via Riot Games

Mehmet Yağız “cNed” İpek, brother of a semi-professional CS:GO player in Turkey, started working towards his FPS career very early, as early as when he was six. Years after that, he played Zula, a Turkish-developed game with local popularity. When he heard the news of Riot Games publishing a new free-to-play FPS, cNed took the biggest decision of his life and moved to VALORANT.

As Riot Games’ investments in Turkey helped Turkish players accept LoL as a career faster than it would normally be, cNed thought Riot would invest in Turkey once again, and he wasn’t wrong. VALORANT offered a very stable career for him and cNed took the chance.

Starting for BBL Esports, cNed quickly gained a fanbase for himself. BBL was and still is the most popular VALORANT team in Turkey, quite possibly they are also the most popular esports team in there. However, as soon as he joined BBL, he left the team, creating controversies. cNed was accused of stabbing BBL from behind by the fans, and when BBL won First Strike Turkey and cNed was eliminated from First Strike Europe with nolpenki, it sure looked like cNed made a mistake.

Things started to turn around for cNed in 2021. Founding a roster without an organization named Don’t Even Ask, cNed joined some tournaments, eventually finding an org that would buy them as a whole. These five players who started to play together relatively sooner managed to find a spot for themselves in the first Masters tournament of the year.

Acend rebrands and the story begins

The organization changed their brand to Acend before Masters and cNed and his friends won their first international tournament, becoming the best in Europe. However, things were only starting. Acend’s roster with starxo, BONECOLD, kiles and koldamenta with Nbs coaching them would want even more now.

For Acend, the period after Stage 1 Masters didn’t go too well. They missed Masters Reykjavik by losing against Ninjas in Pyjamas first and Team Vitality after. G2 Esports then took koldamenta away from Acend, by trading zeek with him. Ah, Carlos. You have chosen… poorly.

After Masters Reykjavik, with zeek joining the team, Acend turned the beast mode on. They proved they are one of the best in the world by qualifying for Masters Berlin. Although they were eliminated in the quarterfinals, it was a close series against 100 Thieves. Acend secured a spot at the last tournament, the world championship, Champions 2021.

Champions 2021

However, Champions 2021 didn’t start well for neither Acend nor cNed. In their very first match, they lost against Keyd Stars. A representative from Brazil, a team and a region that was underperforming all year long. However, Acend would have a second shot. Turns out, Keyd Stars used a bug in 6 rounds, which would lead Acend to win the series. After Riot recalculated the maps and admitted they had a mistake, they restarted the last map and put Acend ahead 7-0.

Although that last map still saw a great resistance from KS, Acend then improved their performance. They were different from how they looked in 2021. cNed and friends was the nickname for Acend as most of the time, people called the other players for underperforming. A tweet by cNed’s manager and brother after Acend’s loss against KS which is deleted now also suggested that cNed might be thinking of leaving the organization.

At Champions 2021, starxo, zeek, kiles, BONECOLD, everyone was performing on another level. Even cNed wouldn’t look as good as he did before because his teammates were sharing the load. cNed even praised his teammates humbly after the tournament that people shouldn’t call Acend “cNed and friends” as his teammates carried him to the championship.

Acend’s playstyle moved on from “help cNed carry” to “win the game together and if cNed brings in extra kills, make sure you win that round or make that into something”. Defeating Team Secret and a Team Liquid which looked like the favorites of this tournament after coming from Last Chance 2-0, Acend finally came to the finals.

Being humble while doing interviews is great cNed, but do whatever you want, stats don't lie. starxo had 83 kills during the series, but cNed had 80 and the best average damage round of his team, 148.9. Acend stood against nAts with 93 kills and 160.2 ADR in the finals. You can check our grand finals analysis here from our article.

Image via Riot Games

Acend in 2022

Coming into 2022, Acend is getting the contracts renewed, but there is no news or rumors about cNed. We don’t know if he is going to stay or leave at this point. However, looking at all the facts, cNed will find a place that he could thrive on. He proved he could change any place into something suitable for him. He has the skills and the mentality to do that.

Props should also go to Acend. Believing in a sponsorless  team, investing in them and letting them get to the top of the world, that requires a solid roster engineering and creating a suitable environment for such an achievement.

With this achievement, cNed might have been the most successful esports player in Turkey, maybe even the most successful sports player of the country too. To be recognized more widely for that, VALORANT needs more time, and cNed’s achievements must be appreciated by the Turkish people. In any case, he is a world champion. He already made it to national TV in Turkey!

He proved everyone wrong, and Acend helped him to become a worldwide superstar. Now, cNed’s job is to keep the hard work because in 2022, VALORANT’s professional arena is coming back to be even better.

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