Fnatic Valorant coach sparks debate on VCT casters being able to hear team comms

Bruno Alvares/Riot Games

Fnatic’s Valorant coach, Jacob “mini” Harris, sparked a debate on VCT desk casters and analysts being allowed to listen in on teams’ comms during games, with various players, coaches and on air talent chiming in. 

Team communication is a closely guarded secret in esports. The main reason being that letting it get into the public allows other teams to gain knowledge of your strategies and protocols. It’s so important in fact, that it caused a spat between the coaches of NRG and EG leaking scrim VODs. 

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As a result, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that coaches are naturally apprehensive about non-team members listening in on their comms. Which is what VCT’s production allows desk analysts and casters to do. 

This sparked a debate from Fnatic’s Valorant coach, mini, calling it “very weird” that analysts were allowed to do so. 

Fnatic Valorant coach questions if casters should be allowed to listen to team comms

The debate was initially sparked in response to a VCT Americas broadcast segment where they talked about what team comms sound like. In fact, many of America’s talent has been candid about being able to hear comms.

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Alex “Goldenboy” Mendez, a host for VCT Americas, said in response, “We have no intention of saying anything that would have a negative impact on the players,” adding that it is all to make the broadcast segments as interesting as possible. 

However, it’s quite clear mini had his apprehensions, saying, “I have no doubts about the intentions and trust the execution. It just doesn’t feel right, it can go wrong in many ways.”

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Sentinels’ assistant coach, Drew “Drew Spark” Spark-Whitworth, also chimed in saying: “While I think it’s important for talent to be informed on team structures to help their work, I’m not a fan of anything that will influence how players communicate in the server.”

Keeping the teamspeak as a safe space for open communication is important to team vibes and confidence – they don’t need to be hearing their comms dissected on a podcast a couple of days later.”

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Others were more concerned about the “cringe” angle of the debate, with Cloud9’s Jake “jakee” Anderson jokingly saying, “I be saying the most random s***.” Mini responded: “I didn’t even think about the ‘I better not have said some cringe/terrible s***” angle.”

However, not every single desk talent is interested in team comms. EMEA analyst Jakub “Lothar” Szygulski wrote, “ I’m not sure about other people but me, Yinsu, and kaquka said to our EMEA production that we don’t want to hear the comms and we shouldn’t have them because of competitive integrity.”

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However, this is not the first time in esports where talent being able to listen in on voice comms has led to leaks. In 2020, the Counter-Strike Professional Players’ Association (CSPPA) launched a protest and announced that the players competing in the BLAST Premier Fall Finals would not grant the tournament organizer permission to access voice and video recordings over privacy PC performance concerns.