The fifth day of Champions playoffs saw the second round of the lower bracket being played out. What should have been two regular Bo3 matches ended in a long delay due to a bug with a “high level of potential impact.”
A bout between DRX DRX Korea Unranked and FNATIC FNATIC Europe Unranked was scheduled first, which saw the Korean team overcome FNATIC to guarantee their first finish within the top four. Soon, a match between XSET XSET North America Unranked and FunPlus Phoenix FunPlus Phoenix Europe Unranked followed.
Everything seemed to be going according to plan. XSET and FPX both won their map picks, and FPX supposedly closed out the series 13-11 on the decider — as tight as an elimination series between NA and EMEA should be.
In the final round of regulation, XSET stormed onto the A site. IGL dephh , alongside teammates zekken and AYRIN , took control of the site while ANGE1 and Shao tried to retake it. AYRIN's turret, placed on top of the site's boxes, spotted ANGE1's shoulder peek from Tree, but it quickly pointed back and shot at Heaven, where nobody was. It caused dephh to linger, watching Heaven, while the FPX players retook the site and won the match.
“That's when Riot came to us and said ‘hey, before you go up to your press conference, there's something we want to talk to you guys about,'” XSET coach SyykoNT said. “They brought us upstairs, talked to us, explained the situation that there was a bug and the round was going to be replayed. Just want to make that very clear, upfront, we did not at any time, at any point in any way, ask for this round to be replayed. This was 100% a Riot decision, I hope that they put out an announcement clarifying that.”
“It's not on any single player here. We had no decision in this,” dephh said. “I don't know if Riot released an actual statement saying that this is what they're doing, or they did on the desk or whatever. There's some miscommunication right now. None of us made this decision. None of us even knew what was happening until 10 minutes before we got on the server.”
The news of a match replay was first broken by Declan McLaughlin of Dexerto, who has been on-site in Istanbul for the past few days, at 12:50 a.m. local time. Ten minutes later, XSET's zekken put out a now-deleted tweet saying “NEVERMIND EVERYONE PANIC.” While all of this was going down, the official broadcast was never shut down.
We're a little confused, too, ardiis. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
Even before Riot's official statement, a large chunk of the competitive Valorant community voiced their concerns and disagreement with the decision. At 1:31 a.m. local time, players were spotted back on stage and setting up.
dephh, the team's IGL, later said in the press conference that the team was kept in the dark for 20 minutes. The team had no time for any technical or tactical discussions prior to the match restart. Tournament officials then came back and told the team to get on stage, and XSET even had to give their manager their phones.
Riot's official competitive update arrived at 1:39 a.m. local time, amplifying existing concerns and even reaching ears of those outside the Valorant community.
In the final round of the match, AYRIN's Killjoy's Turret had bugged and fired in the wrong direction. According to Riot's competitive update, this resulted in false information that directly led to an XSET player — dephh — looking in the wrong direction. It had a high level of potential impact on XSET losing the round and match, leading to its replay.
But the official decision and its explanation only intensified community scorn. Just minutes prior to Riot's update, Spanish caster Ulises “uLISES” Preto, known for his trademark fast casting, was already back home on his couch. BOOM Esports BOOM Esports Asia-Pacific Unranked , who were eliminated in the groups, asked for a replay of crashies ' ace on Fracture. 100 Thieves 100 Thieves North America Unranked ' Will jokingly asked to be flown back to Istanbul for a Shock Dart. Someone made an entire Twitter account.
In a more serious tone, former caster and 100 Thieves general manager ddk asked his followers if this was the best decision.
Is this really the best decision for competitive integrity? I'm struggling to find a reason to justify this call. What do you guys think?
“It's been a bug since beta, pretty much. There's a few bugs that we've mentioned to Riot that just haven't been changed,” dephh said.
“There's a lot of stuff happening in a lot of matches. It's not the best idea to replay rounds, especially after the match is over. Because then all the teams will question all the bugs which will happen in the history of Valorant, and if they should be replayed now or not,” ANGE1 said. “I think it's just a very bad situation to have. That's why I was very angry about it. I don't think it should be replayed just because of the turret bug. It's not our fault, we shouldn't be involved in this. In XSET's place, I would just disagree to do it. I would just agree that they lost.”
“From my point of view, [the decision] ruined competitive integrity,” he continued. “We were two hours AFK, we didn't know — did they watch too much? Maybe some highlights, maybe they knew what we were doing, you know?”
Despite the disagreements, FPX and XSET hopped into the server with the former 12-11 up. And, because of course it would happen, XSET managed to push the game into overtime.
And a technical pause ensued. By now, it was past 2 a.m. in Istanbul.BcJ and zekken are the smart ones here.
Both teams brawled back and forth, coming up with heroic plays despite it being so late. Eventually, FPX came out on top again 16-14, sending — in Pansy's words — XSET home for a second time. It was nearly 2:30 a.m. when the match came to a close.
The decision prompted some anger from FPX, as ANGE1 highlighted, which showed on stage.
“They all said nice try in a really condescending tone, it was interesting,” zekken said.
“I don't really like how [FPX] were directing hatred toward us, especially towards zekken, our very young player who is going through this process for the first time this year. It's not fair to have that directed towards him and I don't like the way they went about it,” SyykoNT said. “But, you know, I understand their frustration and maybe it wasn't communicated to them that we weren't the ones that called for this. I thought I had made that very clear in the meeting, but apparently not.”
dephh chimed in to say that he doesn't and wouldn't want any of FPX's players to be blamed for their anger. In a lose-lose situation like this, he said, anybody would be “equally as pissed” and he understood FPX's anger. The ball was now in Riot's court to announce it was ultimately their decision.Bye, ardiis!
FPX, directly affected by this bug due to being the original winners, were heavily questioned on the bug.
“Let's not go too deep into it, like, no jokes. It's a very controversial decision. I think everyone agrees on that,” ANGE1 said. “And if we're going to discuss it deeply and find someone who is guilty, it's not going to make it better. Just leave it. What happened, happened. We won, second time. They lost twice. We gucci.”
After answering this question, a reporter asked for ardiis' thoughts on the entire situation. Shao laughed to himself. ANGE1 snickered and said he was banning this question and that ardiis wasn't answering it. ardiis leaned into the microphone.
“If I gave my honest opinion,” he said as ANGE1 laughed. “I would firstly get fined by FPX, I'll get fined by Riot, then my career would most likely be canceled. So… no comment.”
“I literally trashtalked NA on Twitter already,” ANGE1 said.
d00mbr0s chimed in to say it's hard to get back into a game like that, especially after you let go of all the emotions, pressure, and energy that had built up over the last hours. They weren't helped by the fact that the game was restarting on the final round of regulation, and that made that night one of the hardest nights they had experienced yet as a team.
ANGE1 admitted that, at least at the time, he wasn't fully convinced that XSET had no involvement in the situation. But, he didn't want to keep belaboring the point.
"Official statement is it was Riot's decision, not XSET's," he finished, refusing to comment any further on the situation.
Little did they know what was about to go down. (Photo by Lance Skundrich/Riot Games)
Despite all the controversy, Champions 2022 continues Friday. LOUD LOUD Brazil Unranked and OpTic Gaming OpTic Gaming North America Unranked will be the first teams to take the stage, in a rematch of the 2022 Masters Reykjavik grand final. Shortly after, FPX will return for an elimination match against DRX DRX Korea Unranked , who entered the top four in an international event for the first time ever.
Friday's Champions games are: