Riot representatives confirmed on Thursday to VLR.gg that the American Last Chance Qualifier for the VCT Champions tour will feature a modified double-elimination bracket in which losses in either the play-in or the quarterfinal round will see teams eliminated immediately from the competition.
The announcement sparked an immediate backlash from numerous professional VALORANT players who are now criticizing Riot's format, arguing that no LAN should have single-elimination rounds, especially when international travel is involved.
VALORANT pros criticize Riot for having single-elimination rounds at the NA LCQ
Numerous VALORANT pros spoke out against the single-elimination format for the first two rounds, with both pros who are set to compete at the tournament and those who will not be competing making their negative opinion on the format known.
Most notably, all of 100 Thieves VALORANT roster was vocal about their opposition to the format. 100T Asuna argued "wow this LCQ Format is kinda bad!" 100T Nitr0 agreed, saying, "No LAN should be Single elim no matter what."
100T Hiko, the captain and star player for the roster, backed up his teammates, saying "definitely not a fan of this format," while recently promoted 100T B0i replied with a simple, "that's.... nvm."
Cloud9 members also had something to say about the single-elimation format. Former Version1 player who is now on Cloud9 said, "cancel the LAN let us play online double elim. format is dog." In a more lighthearted response, fellow C9 player Leaf tweeted this meme about the news.
Multiple players pointed out that it was particularly unfair for the teams that traveled internationally. TSM FTX coach Chet pointed out, in a response to nitr0, that the AU teams that flew into LA for the LAN competition could be sent back home with a single loss, and concluded by saying "That's so f*&cked."
AU VALORANT Coach for Order DickStacy agreed with this critique, saying sarcastically: "What do you mean bro? I reckon both Aussie teams are stoked to fly from beautiful Kangaroo land 16 hours + 21 days in quarantine for a potential single bo3 after 9 months of qualifiers."
While the NA LCQ format was likely determined base on schedule and venue restrictions, it is clear that the decision to send some teams home after a single best-of-three is not a popular one among many of the top NA VALORANT pro teams.
The NA LCQ will kick off on Oct. 12th and run through Oct. 17th.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.