Santeri “BONECOLD” Sassi, a name synonymous with the meteoric rise of VALORANT as an esports phenomenon, has announced his retirement from professional play. His departure marks the end of a chapter for both himself and the game, as he was integral to Acend’s historic victory as the first-ever world champions in Riot Games’ burgeoning shooter.
A Storied Career and Lasting Legacy
- Initial Triumphs with Acend: BONECOLD joined Acend in March 2021 and quickly made his mark. He played a pivotal role in the team’s triumphs, including the 2021 Rising Series and the European Masters in the same year.
- International and National Successes: Beyond the inaugural VALORANT Champions title, BONECOLD’s career was dotted with significant national victories in countries like France and Spain, showcasing his versatility and dominance across various competitive landscapes.
Decision to Retire: A Reflection on Challenges
BONECOLD’s decision to step away from the professional scene came after a challenging year with Team Vitality in 2023. His statement reflects a need for change, citing the intense regimen of practicing and competing for nearly 10 hours a day as a factor.
The Finnish in-game leader leaves the scene without specifying his next endeavor but with a clear message about reaching his personal limits.
The Journey with Team Vitality
- French Regional League Triumph: After his global success, BONECOLD continued his winning streak with Team Vitality, clinching the French regional league in 2022.
- A Challenging 2023: The past year was tough for BONECOLD, both professionally and personally. Team Vitality’s early exit from the VALORANT Champions Tour and the tragic passing of Karel “Twisten” Ašenbrener deeply impacted the team and BONECOLD.
Today we've come to the mutual agreement to terminate the remainder of Bonecold's contract with Team Vitality
Thank you @BonecoldVAL, we wish you the best 💛 pic.twitter.com/zXbmb0eZ5q
— Team Vitality 🐝 (@TeamVitality) January 18, 2024
BONECOLD: The First VALORANT World Champion to Retire
As the first world champion of VALORANT to retire, BONECOLD’s legacy is unparalleled. He leaves behind a career that many aspiring players will look up to, having set a high bar in the esports world.
Where Are They Now: BONECOLD’s Former Teammates
- Mehmet “cNed” İpek: Currently playing for FUT Esports in VCT EMEA.
- Patrik “starxo” Kopczyński: Continues in VCT with Movistar KOI.
- Vladyslav “Kiles” Shvets: Competing in the Spanish league with CASE Esports.
- Aleksandr “zeek” Zygmunt: Playing in the Eastern regional league with GoNext Esports.
Retirement from VALORANT esports pic.twitter.com/sS6Qmjuvea
— bonecold (@BonecoldVAL) January 20, 2024
End of an Era for BONECOLD and VALORANT Esports
BONECOLD’s retirement is a significant moment in VALORANT’s history. His journey from a world champion to hanging up his keyboard and mouse is a testament to the intense demands of esports and the need for balance. His impact on the game and its community will be remembered as new talents rise to fill the void left by this legendary player.