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The VALORANT community has responded to an incident involving the VALORANT Champions Tour European open qualifiers for the upcoming Stage 1 Challengers. Prominent esports organizations that were stuck on the waiting list for the Week 2 qualifiers were manually bumped up, at the expense of lesser known teams that were already confirmed.
The VCT open qualifier system allows a total of 256 teams to participate and vie for a spot in the VCT. Teams that didn’t register in time for the first come, first served system were placed in a waitlist. Larger orgs like Team BDS, KOVA Esports, OG Esports, G2 Esports and EXCEL Esports were all stuck in this position after being knocked out of the Week 1 qualifiers. Admins from Freaks 4U Gaming — the tournament organizers for the Europe, Middle East and Africa VCT — stepped in to amend the situation by manually moving the teams into the qualifiers. The problem is that the 256 team cap was maintained, meaning lesser-known teams were simply bumped down into the waitlist after already being confirmed.
We recently made some changes to the second EU Challengers Qualifier, so we wanted to clarify and explain our thought process.
— VALORANT Champions Tour EMEA (@valesports_emea) January 14, 2022
“We made the decision that if a team signed up late to Qualifier 2 and was put on the waiting list but had previously reached at least Round 4 in Qualifier 1, the team’s position would be manually adjusted so that they would be among the 256 Round 1 teams in Q2,” the statement from the Riot Games Competitive Operations team said. “Because of this decision, some teams were moved to the waiting list. The signup situation is constantly changing and some teams decide not to compete after signing up.”
The thread also said that the team had reached out and apologized to the teams impacted by the decision. They are also looking into how to improve the next qualifier according to the thread.
The incident has already been brought to wider public attention on social media by Giants Gaming head coach Tanishq “Tanizhq” Sabharwal, expressing anger over the lack of competitive parity. People have spoken out about being relegated to the waiting list, and teams who were at the top of the waiting list have noticed orgs leapfrog ahead of them in line.
They manually confirmed these teams for Open Qualifiers 2, hope they didn't just kick out random unsigned teams lol
A lot of "more unknown" orgs still on the waiting list like 19Esports pic.twitter.com/hVEpGcgHfq
— Giants Tanizhq (@Tanizhq) January 14, 2022
Prominent pro players, who didn’t directly benefit from the situation, have already spoken up about the incident. Yacine “Yacine” Laghmari’s org-less team YONK was at the very top of the waiting list and managed to squeak into the VCT open qualifier without special intervention.
“I really don’t understand how they don’t just extend the spots for everyone, ngl,” Yacine wrote on Twitter. “I really believe teams that got kicked for some random big org should raise their voices. This is a really shitty way to handle this situation.”
“One year ago, I was in one of those no name teams trying to make name for themselves,” KOI’s Ladislav “Sacake” Sachr wrote on Twitter. “[Definitely not the] right approach!
Freaks 4U Gaming did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication. This article will be updated as more information becomes available.
Editors note: This story was updated at 12:25 EST on Jan. 14 to include a statement by Riot Games EMEA and to change the headline.
Coby Zucker is Upcomer's resident CS:GO writer. He's also played League of Legends at the collegiate level and is a frequent visitor in TFT Challenger Elo. He's a firm believer that Toronto should be the next big esports hub city.