The Guard won’t participate in 2024 VCT Americas after failing to meet Riot deadlines

Declan Mclaughlin
VCT Americas stage

Riot Games has announced that VCT Americas will remain a 10-team league as The Guard will not join due to missing deadlines to agree to enter the competition.

Riot Games has announced via a statement on social media that The Guard will not be joining VCT Americas for the 2024 season. The statement said that after months of communication with the organization, it has “failed to meet the deadline to agree to the Team Participation Agreement of VCT Americas.”

Due to missing this deadline, The Guard will not participate in the league and VCT Americas will move forward in 2024 without a promoted team from the Challengers Leagues.

Despite The Guard earning their way to the top of the League and taking the highly sought after spot, they’ve ultimately been denied entry.

The Guard out of VCT Americas following missed deadlines

The Guard was initially not invited to join the partnered league for the 2023 season as 10 other organizations were chosen before them. To enter the league, the organization had to compete through the Challengers League and earn their way into the Ascension tournament.

The winners of Ascension earn a two-year stay in the top league and comparable benefits to partnered organizations, according to Riot. The VCT leagues are expected to expand a few times and increase the number of teams in the competition for the next few years.

The Guard dominated most of the NA Challengers League in 2023 and finished the season as the second seed from the region for Americas Ascension, after losing to M80 in the playoff stage Grand Final. At the Ascension tournament, The Guard did not drop a single series and defeated M80 3-1 to earn a spot in the Americas league.

Fans and community members have met the news with confusion and anger. Multiple people have expressed sympathy for the players who will now not get to play in the league unless they get picked up by partnered squads. Others are questioning why the spot could not be picked up by another organization, or given to the Ascnesion runner’s up, M80.

The Guard has not been in the best spot financially this year. The organization went through massive layoffs to its esports division in February and now only has a team in Valorant and is locked into slots in the Overwatch and Call of Duty Leagues. The company was reportedly looking to sell those slots in the franchised leagues, however.

Their last social media before the news post was congratulating Evil Geniuses on winning Valorant Champions 2023 and saying they “can’t wait to battle in 2024.”

The Guard has since commented on the news, releasing a statement confirming that they have released their roster and is helping them “look for new opportunities.”

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