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In the Fall ‘22 and Spring ‘23 NACE Starleague seasons, we were lucky to witness some incredible VALORANT plays, mind-boggling twists and talented players. As in any sport, some teams just have that X-factor that lets them absolutely destroy their opponents. 

Let’s explore which NACE teams are sweeping the competition and how they achieved their stellar statuses in the league.

Oklahoma Christian University — OC Esports

OC logo

First up is Oklahoma Christian University (OC) Esports — the Grand Finalist winners of the Spring 2023 NACE Starleague season who took the NACE scene by surprise. Their final 2-0 win against the St. Clair Saints boasted an impressive 13-7 game on Pearl, and another 13-3 victory on Ascent (with a nasty Cypher ace by glyph). After pulling off this impressive win in NACE, the team also reached the top 32 in the CVAL championship. In addition to their competitive track record, the team has great coordination.

The aptly named ENTRI takes space easily as Jett, while teammate Instxnct on smokes evens out ENTRI’s strong, aggressive plays with effective lurks and defensive holds. Every player expertly performs their role to secure OC’s victory. After taking 2023 NACE by storm and progressing so far in CVAL, there is no doubt this team has a bright future ahead.

St. Clair Saints


The St. Clair Saints were also Grand Finalists of the Spring ‘23 season as well as quarterfinalists of Fall ‘22. The team is extremely consistent and organized; they are repeatedly top performers in any competition they enter. The Saints demonstrate especially strong game sense and positioning — they make intelligent plays and act slowly if necessary. Sushi excels at getting impact picks, and 4Tapping is an especially formidable deterrent as sentinel and smokes.

Though OC Esports was able to counter this strength in the Grand Finals with their strong pushes, the intelligence with which St. Clair plays helped them sweep the rest of the league. Any player can have good aim — it takes an understanding of map control, space and utility to maintain a good team performance.

Northwood University


Northwood is another team that has demonstrated consistency throughout multiple seasons, as Grand Finalist champions in Fall ‘22 and semifinalists in Spring ‘23. This team is especially comfortable playing together. Players coordinate utility for their teammates’ benefits and swing out together on an opponent if needed. NW Ali’s creative Omen plays and ripbenjii’s Killjoy strats definitely contribute.

In addition to their understanding of utility and placement, Northwood’s gunplay is strong. Star player dip is perhaps the best example of this, boasting great skill on a diverse pool of agents including Sova and Neon due to consistency in aim duels. If this team continues to play with such coordination and patience, they are strong contenders for future NACE seasons.

Stony Brook University


Next up is Stony Brook University, which reached the Grand Finals in Fall 2022 as well as quarterfinals of Starleague in Spring 2023. Stony Brook plays with effective team comps and waits for information before committing to a push. Ethan, Kenji and Huji are especially strong and consistent players.

Stony Brook makes especially good use of Ethan’s Breach utility, which is vital for clearing out sites as well as aggressively taking and preserving space. In fact, Ethan is especially comfortable with flashes and plays KAY/O and Skye skillfully. Meanwhile, Kenji is only getting stronger on Duelist agents. This team’s composition is designed to take space and they just might use it to aggress to victory in future seasons.

West Virginia University


West Virginia University reached the semifinals in both Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 Starleague seasons. JKronic and Boltzy are the key players in this team. Boltzy is especially skilled at holding sites and lurking as Killjoy. On Jett, JKronic effectively collected impact frags for the team.

Though they haven’t yet reached the Grand Finals, there is no doubt that if this team continues to improve and remains consistent they will become a serious threat for the other top teams. WVU’s competitors should keep an eye out — they never know when this team may unexpectedly Jett dash past all their opponents and straight to the top spot of the NACE league. 

Written by Gabrielle DeSena

This article was created as part of an internship collaboration with NACE