Riot reveals how they’re combating “filthy smurfs” in Valorant

Published: 22/Oct/2020 17:38

by Michael Gwilliam


With Valorant rising up the ranks as an elite esports title, smurfing is bound to be a major issue. Luckily, Riot Games have implemented some systems to keep matches smurf-free and have more in development.

Smurfing is nothing new in competitive games. Skilled players will sometimes either buy accounts ranked way lower than their main or purposefully throw games to get into lower ranks where they can dominate games. Or, more simply, just create an alternative account with a new level to play on.

This can be extremely infuriating for players in those lower ranks, because smurfs can absolutely stomp those games single-handedly.

In a recent Ask Valorant blog post, the Riot devs explained how they’re going about dealing with “filthy smurfs” and ensuring that games remain fair for everyone involved.

Viper planting bomb
Riot Games
Riot has implemented systems to combat smurfing.

“Smurfing always sucks, especially when you have rank on the line. While it’s hard to stop smurfing entirely in a free-to-play game, we are taking action to combat it,” Senior Producer Ian Fielding said.

“Right now we have a behind-the-scenes system for Unrated as well as one that applies to Iron through Diamond ranked players,” he added. “The latter tracks an individual’s performance and notices when a player makes a highly disproportionate impact in a game. We then quickly boost them to harder matches and higher ranks in Competitive.”

Basically, this means that if a player is having games where they absolutely dominate at a certain rank, they’ll find themselves in higher ranks faster. In other words, the matchmaker can tell when someone is smurfing.

Long shot
Riot Games
Players dominating matches will be boosted in Valorant.

“We stop leveraging this system for Immortal+ players because there isn’t a ton of room to smurf or play down when you are already near the top ranks,” Fielding further stated.

As for the future, there are some big plans in place, but nothing imminent. “We’re also looking at ways to further accelerate placing smurfs into appropriately skilled matches. But right now we are prioritizing some improvements to our core rank system and leaderboards ahead of that.”

This is good news going forward and will hopefully improve Valorant’s competitive integrity in the years to come.


Overwatch player discovers secret counter to Mei’s Cryo-Freeze

Published: 1/Dec/2020 19:32

by Michael Gwilliam


Mei’s Cryo-Freeze has to be one of the most annoying abilities in Overwatch, granting the hero complete invincibility for its duration. Now, a player has discovered a brilliant trick to counter the ice-themed hero.

In Overwatch, there are few abilities as unique as Cryo-Freeze. It places Mei inside of an ice cube that heals her and cleanses any status effects such as Ana’s biotic grenade.

However, the most annoying thing about the ability is how it makes Mei completely invulnerable. For the few seconds she has it activated, she can survive anything from point-blank D.Va bombs to Sigma’s Gravitic Flux.

Some players have found ways to “time” abilities so they connect with Mei as she exits her ice cube cocoon, such as Tracer’s Pulse Bomb or a Reinhardt charge. However, this tactic is reliant on the Mei using Cryo-Freeze’s whole duration. If she cancels it early, then there’s a chance that she’ll end up surviving or dodging the oncoming attack.

Mei uses ice block in Overwatch
Blizzard Entertainment
Mei’s ice block is extremely powerful.

Luckily, a new technique has been discovered which should make countering Mei a breeze. As shown by Reddit user bleubey, Junkrat can actually place his trap directly on top of Mei’s ice cube.

This trick should guarantee that the Chinese environmentalist hero gets trapped and is extremely vulnerable to any attacks. With any luck, you can even catch the Mei player completely off-guard and force out her ultimate.

That exact thing happened in bleubey’s clip. After coming out of the cube, the Mei found herself trapped and ended up wasting her Blizzard in the process, only to be taken out of the picture by a damage-boosted Junkrat grenade.

I find it amusing that you can put a junk trap on top of Mei’s head while she’s an ice cube from Overwatch

Users on the site were shocked to see that such a trick even existed. “I’m almost gold border and I never knew this,” wrote marioaprooves.

“I’m GM and I never knew this sh*t. Holy f**k,” stated another, clearly shocked at what they had witnessed.

Mei freezes Roadhog
Blizzard Entertainment
Mei has a lot of tricks up her sleeve.

Bleubey responded in turn that they only found out by complete accident, proving that such a tactic really went under the radar for a long time.

The next time there is a Mei giving your team trouble, try swapping to Junkrat and taking her out with this neat trap hat maneuver.