In a surprising turn of events, Riot Games has reversed its initial decision to disqualify “The Guard,” the victorious team of the VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) Ascension Americas tournament. The decision, which initially met with backlash from the VALORANT esports community, will now permit the players to pursue opportunities with either a new organization or as individual free agents.
An update regarding the players impacted by The Guard's decision to not move forward with VCT Americas 2024-25 pic.twitter.com/oLhjSJDaYy
— VALORANT Esports NA (@valesports_na) September 1, 2023
Backlash from the VALORANT Esports Community
The initial disqualification of “The Guard” stemmed from their failure to meet the deadline for agreeing to the Team Participation Agreement, a requirement for all organizations joining a VCT League. As a result, Riot Games announced on August 29 that no teams would be promoted for Season 2024, effectively nullifying “The Guard’s” hard-fought victory and the efforts of its members.
This decision sparked an outpouring of support for the players, with many in the VALORANT community feeling sympathetic towards their situation. Questions were raised about why another organization couldn’t absorb the roster or why the runner-up of the Ascension tournament, M80, wasn’t selected to replace “The Guard.”
Fans and the Americas VALORANT Players Association recommended that a new organization sign all five players and the head coach to fill the league slot left by “The Guard.” However, Riot Games was initially reluctant to allow an acquisition, citing concerns about the possibility of VCT slots being sold.
Riot Reverses Decision on The Guard’s Disqualification
Leo Faria, head of VALORANT Esports, explained this decision on Twitter, emphasizing that “promotion is earned in-game, not out of it.” Nevertheless, the community continued to express its dissatisfaction with the ruling, with prominent figures like VCT Americas host Alex “Goldenboy” Mendez calling for reconsideration in favour of the players’ opportunity to compete together.
Amid mounting pressure and a petition titled “Let The Guard roster play VCT under another organization,” which garnered over 11,000 signatures, Riot Games ultimately decided to revisit the situation. Faria acknowledged the community’s concerns and revealed that the team was working to find a positive resolution for the players.
The final decision allows “The Guard” players to seek a suitable organization to absorb them and join the Americas League, effectively reinstating their opportunity to compete in VCT 2024 and 2025. Team captain Jacob “Valyn” Batio and other players expressed their appreciation for Riot’s reconsideration and the community’s support.
As “The Guard” embarks on the search for a new organization, the VALORANT esports community can celebrate a successful resolution that preserves the competitive integrity of the game and offers talented players a chance to continue pursuing their dreams in the VALORANT Champions Tour.