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The Embarrassing End of VALORANT’s North America Stage 3 Challengers 2 Final

With a $10,000 difference between first and second place, Riot Games and Nerd Street Gamers thought they had done enough to make the finals exciting. Instead, a match-up that would feature two of the biggest fan bases in North American esports would feature questionable gameplay and a lack of effort.

And people are applauding it.

Recently passing VALORANT‘s one-year anniversary, all eyes are on the scene as it looks to continue to grow. The world is wondering what is next for the title and more importantly, what is next for its esports division?

Yet what happened on Sunday feels like a step back for the scene.

The Tournament to Set-up Another Tournament

There are a few parts to the Challengers event. There is the 32 team open qualifier, there is the 8 team ‘Main Event’ and this happens twice. While there is the goal to win the tournament for the prize pool and bragging rights, there is the added bonus for the top four teams as they will qualify for the Challengers Playoffs. This event brings in eight teams to fight for three spots at Masters Berlin and circuit points for the VALORANT Champions tournament.

It’s a big deal.

Four teams would already qualify for the playoffs in Challengers 1. The second group of four would be determined through last week’s competition. The problem comes in two separate areas — the fact that the four best teams likely qualified in the first tournament and the fact that the bracket is pretty much known during the second stage.

For the most part, teams were looking to avoid what looked to be a stacked top side of the bracket. Not only does the clear tournament favorites Sentinels sit on top after winning Challengers 1, the also talented Team Envy finds themselves there.

The way the bracket worked the winner of Challengers 2 would face the fourth-place finisher of Challengers 1 in the quarterfinals and the winner of the match-up between Challengers 1’s first-place finish and Challengers 2’s fourth-place finisher. In theory, this works out. In reality, you’re facing a scary Team Envy and more than likely facing Sentinels if you win.

It’s Still a Finals

The result of the finals truly didn’t appear to have consequences. Despite a clear lack of effort, FaZe Clan appear to be fine with having $10,000 less in their pockets by creating the excuse that they were able to hide strategies.

Both teams wouldn’t take the finals seriously — with questionable aggressive plays and knife fights appearing through the series. It was apathetic.

While a clear error in the tournament organizer’s planning, it was incredibly unprofessional and disrespectful from both organizations. Players have gone to Twitter defending their actions — with members of the community defending their actions.

“People have to stop getting mad at the teams for not wanting to show their strategies in a seeding match. Just shut up and think about it logically.” – TSM’s James “hazed” Cobb.

“But ha-zedd, you pros need to be trying your hardest and showing all your strats in ALL GAMES EVEN ONES THAT DONT MEAN [REMOVED] RIGHT BEFORE A MAJOR QUALIFIER” – Renegades’ Roy “StrongLegs” Ahad.

“people blaming the teams instead of blaming the format resulting in useless matches” Counter Strike: Global Offensive for Team Liquid Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski.

Respecting Competition

This isn’t a good look for competitive VALORANT. There shouldn’t be finger-pointing from either side, both should admit to their wrongdoing. During a time where the scene is looking to establish itself as a long-standing esports title that should be invested in, what happened on Sunday was a problem.

Players should always be treating professional competition seriously. Even with a smaller prize pool, the team is representing an organization that is paying them a pretty penny to not only play well but win. The coaching staff should be ashamed of themselves for not for getting the most out of their players on a professional stage. And while Nerd Street’s tournament layout bit them in the butt, they should have been able to factor this in with their original tournament layout.

Every tournament for the esports matters right now. Despite VALORANT‘s recent success, it still hasn’t sold itself as here to stay. There are still questions about how the scene will look within the next couple of months given the lack of major tournament announcements. Members of the production side of things are still getting things together, still attempting to steer the rocket that is the market in the right direction.

There’s still a bunch of unknowns yet veterans are treating this like it is CS:GO.

The lack of professionalism from faces of the scene, spitting in the face of the tournament organizer with this event, shouldn’t sit well. It shouldn’t be defended and shouldn’t be applauded.

Instead, it should be recognized for what it is: a dick move.

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