Valorant Red Bull Home Ground Format: An interesting experiment - Dexerto

Valorant Red Bull Home Ground: The best new esports format?

Published: 2/Feb/2021 9:37 Updated: 2/Feb/2021 9:41

by Luke Edwards


The Red Bull Home Ground tournament was Valorant esports’ premier preseason tournament, featuring some of Europe’s biggest teams. One of its most unique aspects was a revolutionary new format. But how well did it work?

The Red Bull Home Ground tournament served as a great way of kicking off the new year for the European Valorant scene. With the Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) just about to get underway, we got a great insight into how teams are shaping up, as G2 Esports came out on top.

While the first major official tournament, First Strike, featured traditional BO3s for the knockout phase and a BO5 Grand Final, Home Ground worked a little bit differently.

The basic premise was this: each team selected one of Valorant’s five maps which would operate as their “home ground” for the tournament. They would be guaranteed to play this map within their first two games, with the other map being their opponents’ Home Ground.

If a team won both their own and their opponents’ home ground, the series would end at 2-0. If the score was 1-1, it would progress to a traditional BO5.

A way to keep things fresh

In theory, the system would allow teams to hone a particular map, knowing it would definitely come up in their draft. This would technically give the underdogs a better chance of picking up a map win, leading to a longer series and therefore more practice for teams.

Alliance GM and analyst for the event, James ‘BanKs’ Banks, believes the format provides a good amount of variety in series, making it better balanced as a preseason tournament.

Valorant Icebox B
Riot Games
Icebox was one of the more popular choices of Home Ground.

“The format for me is a good warm-up mode for the teams, almost like a pre-VCT tournament,” he told Dexerto. “You get what could be a basic BO3 if you straight win 2-0, but if you win one map each you are forced to play a BO5, testing a lot of teams’ stamina and map pool accordingly.

“More teams is the only thing I would add. Just so we could have potentially seen more games, discover the form of teams after the break before going into VCT.

“[While] I don’t think it is needed to spread to more tournaments, I think things like this are great to mix it up and give us a different dynamic.”

It’s important to consider that, if both teams win on their respective home ground, you are guaranteed at least two more maps. This gives teams more practice than a traditional BO3.

Team Heretics Valorant Win
Team Heretics via. Twitter
Team Heretics, who won First Strike EU, didn’t attend the Home Ground invitational.

But is the format needlessly complicated?

Team Liquid streamer and Sova aficionado Jonas ‘AverageJonas’ Navarsete believes the format overcomplicates scheduling, and is harder for viewers to understand.

“I understand that it’s a cool and slightly unique concept, but I think it’s a lot harder for the viewer to understand, and makes scheduling the tournament harder too,” he told Dexerto.

“Considering there are five maps and eight teams, I don’t see a problem with playing out the BO5s so there will potentially be less waiting on one side of the bracket.”

A traditional format, like that of First Strike, allows for more streamlined scheduling.

While we are yet to see one in professional Valorant, the format also removed the possibility of the magical BO5 reverse sweep, where a team loses their first two games but goes on to win the final three.

A look at the numbers

Win-rate on “home grounds” ended up being bang on half. Of the 14 maps played on home grounds, teams won their chosen map seven times. The most curious case was Ninjas in Pyjamas, who managed to lose both their Home games, but beat Futbolist and G2 on their patches.

The format was also impacted by changes being made to Split less than a week before the tournament, meaning teams hadn’t yet had the chance to get used to it.

Team Liquid In-Game Leader Adam ‘ec1s’ Eccles said: “Our home map would have been Split before the changes and I think a lot of teams feel the same.”

Valorant Split Vents
Riot Games
It’s no longer safe to hold the right-hand side of the door on Split’s Vents due to recent map changes.

The win-rate for Home teams on Split was 50%, with G2 dropping a game to NiP and NiP losing to Futbolist. Both teams lost on this map to underdog teams, suggesting the changes made the map a less secure pick than it may have been otherwise.

Ec1s also believes the majority of teams don’t yet have a signature map. “Obviously G2 have that really strong record on Ascent, but when we discussed our strongest map we got four different answers,” he added.

How could Red Bull make it better?

While the format itself had a very obvious impact on the scoreboards, it feels like there’s room for improvement in thematic impact during the games. We’d suggest adding team-related decor to their home ground maps.

lol worlds 2020 banner
Riot Games
Riot often makes aesthetic map changes for major LoL events.

In official Riot LoL tournaments, you’ll see banners representing each team in its base, which adds a feeling of ownership to certain parts of the map.

While the final was fortunately a five-game banger, with map one being so close there was a risk of the series ending at 2-0. Given how spectacular the finals are supposed to be, it would have been underwhelming to have only seen two games, especially with Liquid coming off a five-game series with SUMN FC in the semis.

Tweaking the format for the final in some way, perhaps by guaranteeing a team game three map selection if they go 2-0 up, could preserve the impact of the home ground theme, while ensuring the BO5 ends up feeling more complete.

So, did it work?

In short, yes. The format didn’t change the fact that many incredible moments happened in this tournament, from Mixwell’s slick ninja defuse to ScreaM’s unreal Jett ace in the finals.

It was also something a bit different. Valorant has provided esports with a chance to rewrite the rules a bit and try new things.

While this isn’t a revolutionary format by any means, it added a cool theme to the tournament and afforded teams an opportunity to experiment.

When it comes to official Riot tournaments like the VCT, which will be more organically hyped up, traditional formats will probably work best. Adding a unique twist to this smaller tournament did add some spice, though,  and we hope to see something like it again.

Call of Duty

CDL Super Week Day 3: OpTic back to winning ways, Empire & Thieves escape upsets

Published: 25/Feb/2021 1:35 Updated: 25/Feb/2021 1:40

by Albert Petrosyan


The Call of Duty League has combined Weeks 2 and 3 of Stage 1 into one massive Super Week of matches, and everything you need to watch and follow the event live can be found below.

  • OpTic 100-point club Ultra in confident victory.
  • TJHaLy puts up rare numbers as LA Thieves improve to perfect 3-0.
  • Empire clutch up in five-map thriller to avoid upset vs Royal Ravens.
  • Day 4 preview: ROKKR vs NYSL, OpTic vs LAG, FaZe vs Mutineers

Due to the inclement weather in Texas and other parts of the United States causing power outages for a lot of pro players, the CDL opted to combine the Week 2 and 3 matches into Super Week.

Seven straight days of matches will see all 12 teams in action at least three times, and with the Stage 1 Major looming around the corner, this will be the final opportunity for teams to improve their seeding for the $500,000 tournament.

CDL Super Week: Stream

The CDL streams all of its matches exclusively on YouTube, which is where you can also find replays of matches that have already been completed.

CDL Super Week: Schedule

Day 3: Wednesday, February 24

  Match Hardpoint S&D Control Hardpoint S&D
Match Replay Royal Ravens 2-3 Empire LON 250-160 (Moscow) DAL 6-3 (Moscow) DAL 3-2 (Garrison) LON 235-228 (Garrison) DAL 6-4 (Miami)
Match Replay Thieves 3-2 Surge LAT 250-231 (Checkmate) SEA 6-4 (Raid) LAT 3-2 (Raid) SEA 250-222 (Moscow) LAT 6-0 (Moscow)
Match Replay OpTic 3-1 Ultra CHI 250-68 (Checkmate) TOR 6-4 (Raid) CHI 3-1 (Raid) CHI 3-1 (Raid) N/A

Empire & LA Thieves escape upsets, OpTic back to winning ways

Having already suffered an upset loss at Opening Weekend, Dallas Empire barely avoided back-to-back such defeats in their match vs London Royal Ravens. Despite getting completely dominated by the Subliners the day before, London pushed the defending champs to a fifth map before ultimately coming up just short of their first win of the season.

LA Thieves found themselves in a similar situation against the Seattle Subliners, who, just like London, were swept the day before. A back-and-forth affair saw the match pushed to a game five, but that was the most resistance that Surge could offer as LAT dominated the final S&D 6-0, thanks to some historic numbers put up by TJHaLy.

The third and final match of the day saw OpTic Chicago back in action for the first time since their Opening Weekend loss to FaZe. Faced with a stiff test in Toronto Ultra, the Green Wall started off with one of the most dominant Hardpoint wins in CDL history, putting Ultra in the dreaded ‘100-point club.’

The series settled down and got a bit closer after that but OpTic ultimately edged out the victory in four maps, improving to 2-1 on the season while Toronto dropped to 1-2.

Day 4: Thursday, February 25

Match PST EST GMT AEDT (Feb 26)
Game 1 ROKKR vs Subliners 12:00 PM 3:00 PM 8:00 PM 7:00 AM
Game 2 OpTic vs Guerrillas 1:30 PM 4:30 PM 9:30 PM 8:30 AM
Game 3 FaZe vs Mutineers 3:00 PM 6:00 PM 11:00 PM 10:00 AM

Day 5: Friday, February 26

Match PST EST GMT AEDT (Feb 27)
Game 1 Thieves vs Royal Ravens 12:00 PM 3:00 PM 8:00 PM 7:00 AM
Game 2 Ultra vs Legion 1:30 PM 4:30 PM 9:30 PM 8:30 AM
Game 3 Empire vs Subliners 3:00 PM 6:00 PM 11:00 PM 10:00 AM

Day 6: Saturday, February 27

Match PST EST GMT AEDT (Feb 28)
Game 1 FaZe vs Legion 12:00 PM 3:00 PM 8:00 PM 7:00 AM
Game 2 ROKKR vs Royal Ravens 1:30 PM 4:30 PM 9:30 PM 8:30 AM
Game 3 Ultra vs Guerrillas 3:00 PM 6:00 PM 11:00 PM 10:00 AM

Day 7: Sunday, February 28

Match PST EST GMT AEDT (Mar 1)
Game 1 Subliners vs Surge 12:00 PM 3:00 PM 8:00 PM 7:00 AM
Game 2 OpTic vs Mutineers 1:30 PM 4:30 PM 9:30 PM 8:30 AM
Game 3 Empire vs Thieves 3:00 PM 6:00 PM 11:00 PM 10:00 AM

Past scores & daily recaps

Day 1: Monday, February 22

  Match Hardpoint S&D Control Hardpoint S&D
Match Replay Guerrillas 1-3 Mutineers LAG 250-133 (Crossroads) FLA 6-3 (Miami) FLA 3-2 (Garrison) FLA 250-172 (Garrison) N/A
Match Replay Ultra 1-3 FaZe ATL 250-247 (Raid) TOR 6-3 (Raid) ATL 3-0 (Raid) ATL 250-128 (Garrison) N/A

Mutineers get first win of 2021, FaZe stay unbeaten

After losing their season-opener at CDL Opening Weekend, Florida Mutineers’ new-look lineup got their first win of 2021 with a 3-1 victory over LA Guerrillas, who now sit at 1-2. LAG won the first map in dominant fashion before the Mutineers ripped off three straight maps to secure the series.

The second match of the day was a battle of the unbeatens as Atlanta FaZe took on Toronto Ultra. The series started back-and-forth, and if it wasn’t for a clutch break at the end of the Raid Hardpoint, Atlanta may have found themselves down 0-2 early.

But things settled down after the second map as FaZe took games three and four quite comfortably to secure the 3-1 victory. The win now gives the boys in red a league-leading three wins, against just zero losses, while Ultra drop to 1-1.

Day 2: Tuesday, February 23

  Match Hardpoint S&D Control Hardpoint S&D
Match Replay Mutineers 0-3 Legion PAR 222-220 (Garrison) PAR 6-4 (Checkmate) PAR 3-1 (Raid) N/A N/A
Match Replay Subliners 3-0 Royal Ravens NY 250-151 (Garrison) NY 6-1 (Checkmate) NY 3-0 (Checkmate) N/A N/A
Match Replay Surge 0-3 ROKKR MIN 250-163 (Checkmate) MIN 6-5 (Raid) MIN 3-2 (Raid) N/A N/A

Legion & Subliners sweep their way to first wins, ROKKR stay hot vs Surge

After going 0-2 in the Opening Weekend, Paris Legion finally got their first win of 2021 at Super Week, and what a win it was. Despite being underdogs to the Mutineers, Legion pulled off a shocking sweep that featured a rare Hardpoint ending on time.

Following Paris’ script, the New York Subliners also notched their first one in the win column after sweeping London Royal Ravens in perhaps the most dominant performance we’ve seen so far in 2021.

None of the three maps were close, especially the Control, which saw NYSL shred their opponents from start to finish and not give them even a chance at making any sort of comeback. With the loss, Royal Ravens now sit at 0-2 early on in the season.

Rounding off a trio of Day 2 sweeps was Minnesota ROKKR grabbing their second win in a row after taking apart Seattle Surge 3-0. The series was closer than the final scoreline would suggest as Surge did make solid comebacks in both the S&D and Control, only to fall just short in both.

The win is ROKKR’s second in a row after their upset victory over Dallas Empire at Opening Weekend. Meanwhile, Seattle falls to 1-2, suffering already their second sweep this season.

CDL Super Week essentials

CDL Super Week: Format & CDL Points

  • Location: Online
  • Prize Pool: N/A
  • CDL Points: 10 per win
  • Maps & Modes:
    • Hardpoint: Checkmate, Crossroads, Garrison, Moscow, Raid
    • Search & Destroy: Checkmate, Garrison, Miami, Moscow, Raid
    • Control: Checkmate, Garrison, Raid
  • Matches are best-of-five (HP, S&D, Control, HP, S&D)

CDL Super Week: Teams & Rosters

CDL roster spotlight: Minnesota ROKKR’s new-look lineup delivered an upset victory over Dallas Empire at Opening Weekend.

All 12 teams are participating in the Week 2 event, split into the two groups that were drawn at the start of Stage 1. All teams within the same group play each other once during the Stage, for a total of five matches.

Group A

Team Roster
Dallas Empire Crimsix, Shotzzy, Huke, iLLeY
London Royal Ravens Alexx, Dylan, Seany, Zer0
Los Angeles Thieves Kenny, SlasheR, TJHaLy, Temp
Minnesota ROKKR Accuracy, Attach, Priestahh, MajorManiak
New York Subliners Clayster, Asim, Diamondcon, Mack
Seattle Surge Octane, Gunless, Prestinni, Loony

Group B

Team Roster
Atlanta FaZe Simp, Cellium, aBeZy, Arcitys
Florida Mutineers Skyz, Owakening, Slacked, Neptune
Los Angeles Guerrillas SiLLY, Assault, Apathy, Vivid
OpTic Chicago Scump, FormaL, Envoy, Dashy
Paris Legion AquA, Classic, Fire, Skrapz
Toronto Ultra Methodz, Bance, Cammy, CleanX

Make sure to check out our CDL 2021 Season hub for the latest standings, full schedule of all events, a breakdown of the season format, and more.