VALORANT esports head hints at reconsidering Riot’s position on The Guard

A bombshell was dropped on the competitive VALORANT community on Tuesday when Riot announced Ascension-winning team The Guard would not be competing in VCT Americas next year. After increasing backlash, global head of VALORANT esports Leo Faria has hinted that the company may be working toward another solution.

Riot originally indicated The Guard had failed to comply with the procedure that would logistically secure their spot in the Americas league, though the players had already earned the spot by winning the Ascension event this year.

This was met with outrage and sadness pouring in from all avenues of the VALORANT and greater esports community, some blaming Riot and others specifically blaming The Guard as an organization. But through it all, one sentiment seemed to ring clear: Ultimately, it’s the players that deserve the VCT spot.

Faria initially posted a lengthy tweet addressing all of the issues and drama up to that point on Wednesday, clarifying that The Guard did indeed fail to complete its onboarding process into the VCT Americas league in time.

He also went into detail about the three options Riot considered to move forward, and how eliminating the team’s spot altogether was the final solution.

The Americas VALORANT Players Association had a different take on the matter, releasing a statement yesterday that suggested the best solution would be to sign all five players plus the head coach under a new org and allow them to take the league spot. However, Faria said this solution came with its own heap of concerns.

“Allowing an acquisition by a different organization now opens the door for slots in the VCT to be sold, which we do not allow,” Faria said in his initial tweet.

In the replies, many esports pros from all avenues expressed their disappointment and wish for an exception to be made for the Guard players.

While I appreciate the detailed response what you said about “five friends making it” truly applies here and yes the circumstances are different but they earned the chance to compete together.

I really hope this gets reconsidered for the sake of the players and nothing else.

— Goldenboy 🇵🇷 (@GoldenboyFTW) August 30, 2023

In Faria’s latest update, he said he has heard the outcry: that the players from The Guard still own the VCT spot in question. Riot is revisiting the situation, he added, in the hopes of coming towards a solution that still rewards the players’ outstanding tier-two performance while setting a precedent for all three VCT leagues.

“There are still significant risks our team needs to dig into, but we’re working through this and hope to find a positive outcome for the players,” Faria said.

I appreciate the passion with which you all showed up to advocate on behalf of the players. We hear you. There are still significant risks our team needs to dig into, but we’re working through this and hope to find a positive outcome for the players. We’ll update you all when we…

— Leo Faria (@lhfaria) August 30, 2023

It seems like so far, the players and coach of The Guard are still in the dark. Time will tell whether or not all parties will be able to come up with a solution that sees the 11 expected VALORANT team rosters in VCT Americas next year.

About the author

Nadine Manske

Nadine is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She covers VALORANT and Overwatch with a focus on the Asia-Pacific region and marginalized genders in esports. Before joining Dot Esports as a freelance writer, she interned at Gen.G Esports and the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her favorite Pokémon is Quagsire.


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