Is Riot going completely wrong with how they’re handling the Valorant First Strike tournaments?

Image via Riot Games
Image via Riot Games

With the NSG First Strike closed qualifiers completed and with the EU open qualifiers well on its way, the competition so far has given a lot of talking points for the Valorant community to mull over.

However, the hottest topic which is being juggled in social media right now, is how Riot Games has been handling the First Strike Valorant tournaments so far.

And it would seem that a large part of the shooter’s fan base is not exactly content with how the devs have been managing the playoffs in the qualifiers.

The discussions are the most heated on the Valorant subreddit threads. Players are coming out in hoards to talk about the problems with the recent First Strike tournaments.

In a previous discussion, we went over some issues that the North American NSG closed qualifiers were facing when it came to casting. Many Valorant fans felt that the broadcasting team was a bit too biased in certain games and that made it quite hard to follow the matches.

In a recent Reddit post, Arjun Banerji, a Valorant player who goes by the handle of CarGoesBeepBeep brings into focus the problems he as a viewer faced during both the NA and EU First Strike qualifiers.

“I can't help but feel like Valorant started from zero, and is making many mistakes which are completely avoidable,” wrote Banerji.

While comparing Valorant’s esports scene to that of Riot’s other IP League of Legends, he feels that the First Strike best of one qualifier is indeed what is wrong with the tournaments.

Should Riot have handled the Valorant First Strike tournaments differently?

Image via Riot Games
Image via Riot Games

In the Reddit post, Banerji writes,

“Now, half a year into Valorant Esports, I can't help but feel like Valorant started from zero, and is making many completely avoidable mistakes. Right from the Ignition series, many tournaments have had such absurd formats. I mainly follow NA and EU, and while most of the NA tournaments have decent formats, when we come to EU - invite-only tournaments, single elim, BO1's for most of the stage, Swiss brackets. All of these have been tried in other games, and have been shown to not be optimal.”

The best of one bracket along with the fact that the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the NSG closed qualifiers were held on the same day made even professional players unhappy about the state of the competition.

Personalities like Sentinels’ Dapr and 100Thieves’ Asuna took to Twitter to talk about how mentally exhausting the First Strike format was. 

The problems with the NA qualifiers seem to have percolated into that of the EU tournament as well. 

Banerji continues,

“If you want to experiment with formats, these early tournaments are the right ones to do so. But then, even now, the EU First Strike has the absurd single elim BO1 qualifiers where you have to win 5 straight BO1's till you get to the first BO3s. And for some reason, Riot is allergic to double-elim. At least in LoL, double elim is unproven, and they may not want to play around with the worlds format. But why not have it in Valorant?”

The lack of a double-elimination format has also caused a stir in the Valorant community especially after Guild Esports were forced to forfeit their match against G2.

Guild Esports used a Killjoy turret and Sage wall exploit which according to the Riot officials, was an illegal move. 

Now what’s troubling about this disqualification is that Guild Esports were instantly eliminated from the competition without a second chance. And it’s not exactly clear if they knew about the exploit being illegal, or if they did it intentionally.

They were not given the benefit of doubt and were booted off the competition for exploiting a bug that was there in Valorant’s Ascent since August. Even after 3 months Riot did not patch it out and is calling it an illegal exploit which is a big enough offense for disqualification.

When talking about the Guild Esports disqualification Banerji writes,

“Also, as was the case with League, for some reason, good formats and decent handling to tournaments seem to be a luxury only reserved for NA. Why not have GSL groups stages for every tournament, instead of just NA? Another important thing is having a clear rulebook, with the same standards followed for all teams. This is obviously about the Guild DQ fiasco from yesterday, but if you have a garbage BO1 format, instead of DQing teams for ambiguous rules, why not just replay the map? And for that matter, punishable exploits should be clearly listed out so teams know what is illegal, and the penalty for that should be consistent, and clearly mentioned.”

The Valorant community finds a lot of issues with how Riot has been handling the game’s competitive side. A fan can only hope for things to get better once the actual Riot Games hosted First Strike competition begins in December.

Edited by Abhishek Singh
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