Smurfs are a preexisting concept in any competitive multiplayer game, and Valorant is no exception in that case.
For games such as Valorant, the skill ceiling is moderately high enough for players to fall out of depth when facing up against higher-ranked players. Due to that exact reason, on certain occasions, players might come across others in lower lobbies who excel in every aspect of the game, such as gun-play or basic game sense of rotation and where to be at some point in time. That is exactly where a smurf is factored in Valorant.
While smurfing is a common occurrence in any competitive game, solely because of the competitiveness involved in the specific game, it is not too hard to counter that skill difference in most cases.
What smurfing means in Valorant
While there exist smurfs in other competitive games such as CS: GO, League of Legends, and Defense of The Ancients 2, in the case of Valorant, the situation is a tad bit different when it comes to smurfing.
The games mentioned above mostly have a huge range of skills attached to them, all while they have more differences between each rank tier, which ends up extending the already existing gaps.
However, for Valorant, the rank tiers are all equally spaced, and the skill ceiling gets higher only after the player reaches the Immortal rank or crosses that barrier to reach the Radiant rank.
Hence, most of the smurfs in Valorant tend to range from the Platinum to Diamond rank, who are mostly unable to cross over or reach that barrier, trying to look for a fresh start.
In most competitive games, smurfing is done by players to test out their mettle against lower-tier players and find a fake sense of accomplishment in themselves. However, in Valorant, most smurfs tend to test out their might from the beginning to increase their levels.
In addition, Riot Games themselves have done an incredible job in tackling the situation to keep the competitive ecosystem alive.
Measures that can be taken to tackle smurfing in Valorant
When it comes to smurfing, most developers or games don’t or can’t do anything to stop their free reign. In Dota 2, if a new or low-tier player suddenly shows a great amount of success, the account is usually banned from matchmaking for almost a year or so. However, there is no option for players affected by smurfing to report against it.
However, in Valorant, there is an option for players who get affected by smurfing and can report against such players. Regardless of all the complaints, Riot Games are extremely efficient to take action against any reports that arise.
Riot has recently updated its terms of service in order to counter smurfs and make the competitiveness better in Valorant as a whole. This action against smurfs has been appreciated throughout the fanbase.
While this addresses the smurfing issue in itself, there will still be smurfs in the game. In general, when a team has a smurf, that player will excel much more than others in the team, so the best way to tackle such inequality is to eliminate the equal members in the team. While it is easier said than done, that is the only way to counter such imbalances in skill.