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Technical pauses were a persistent issue during VALORANT Champions Tour Masters 2: Reykjavík, the game’s first live event, totaling more than two hours.

Production used the technical pauses to solve problems that arose on stage, including issues with mice, keyboards and monitors. However, as the event dragged on, some speculated that teams were using these technical pauses as a way to interrupt their opponents’ momentum after critical round wins.

Millions of viewers tuned in to catch the action of Masters 2, with ten teams from seven different regions all competing for the first international title. These technical pauses seemed to annoy not only the players but also the broadcast talent, who had to fill the time for each pause. Caster Lauren “Pansy” Scott even tipped off the audience about how to tell whether a pause is serious during a match between X10 and Fnatic.

“It’s a classic thing, we’ll let you folks at home in on the secret,” Pansy said. “When you see players push the chairs back and take their headsets off, you know it’s going to be a long pause. I get nervous. If headsets go off, instantly danger.”

Version1’s Vanity on technical pauses in VALORANT

Version1’s matchup against Crazy Raccoon saw the longest technical pause of Masters 2 at more than 40 minutes. Anthony “vanity” Malaspina declined to say much about it, but he did offer a reassurance that it didn’t throw the team off their game.

“If I talk about it [the technical pause] then I’ll get annoyed,” vanity said.

Version1's Vanity poses for promotional picture at Masters 2, a VALORANT event troubled by technical pauses
Version1’s vanity | Provided by Riot Games

The reasoning behind the technical pause for the match of Version1 versus Crazy Raccoon was never given. However, the pause came after Version1 took the lead over Crazy Raccoon in the first match.

Shroud speaks out on technical pause strategies

Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek was one of the few members of the community that Riot allowed to co-host Masters 2. Shroud has one of the biggest followings in the FPS community and had more viewership throughout the whole event than VALORANT did on their own official Twitch stream. While watching the games, Shroud often gave his insight on how the players were playing based on his own experience playing the game. Shroud was also a previous competitive Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player and was able to give his insight from a competitive standpoint as well.

On stream, Shroud made several comments regarding the number of technical pauses, usually venting his frustration. However, at times he hinted at an alternative use for the technical pauses while on stream. After a technical pause began in a matchup against Brazilian team Sharks Esports against Korean team NUTURN Gaming, Shroud explained how ‘easy’ it was to call a tech pause.

“This is a very easy move,” said Shroud. “You just accidentally unplugged your power cable… This move is standard practice. This is what they teach you when you get into esports.”

Fnatic forced to use technical pause

There is another side to this technical pause issue. Since there are a limited amount of tactical timeouts that a team can call in a match, having them at the right moments is always important. And in a match against Sentinels on Icebox, one of Fnatic’s actual technical pauses was recorded as a tactical timeout. This forced them to call another technical pause toward the end of the match instead, to compensate. Fnatic’s James “Mistic” Orfila explained this in a post-match interview.

“[Technical pauses are] obviously a pain,” said Misitc “But coming into a new genre for Riot as a tactical shooter, there are bound to be issues. Sometimes it kills the momentum and in other ways, it can help us. There was an issue in our game on round twenty-four. We couldn’t call an extra tactical timeout because one of our technicals was recorded as a tactical.”

Fnatic's misitic
Fnatic’s Mistic | Provided by Riot Games

With so much time lost throughout the event due to technical pauses, hopefully Riot Games can prevent a repeat at the next live event.