Riot reverses decision on The Guard’s VCT spot after backlash

Luís Mira

Riot Games has announced that it has backtracked on its decision not to give The Guard’s players the chance to find a new organization to represent in VCT Americas.

Riot announced on August 29 that VCT Americas would remain a ten-team league in 2024 after The Guard, the winner of the region’s Ascension tournament, had “failed to meet the deadline to agree to the Team Participation Agreement.”

Leo Faria, the Head of Valorant Esports, explained that letting the players find another organization would set a precedent whereby VCT slots could be sold – something that Riot wished to avoid. At the same time, the developer rejected the possibility of promoting Ascension runners-up M80, stating that “promotion is earned in-game, not out of it.”

Riot’s stance was met with fierce criticism by the community and the Americas Valorant Players Association. An online petition quickly gathered over 10,000 signatures to demand that The Guard’s players be allowed to find a new organization and compete in the league they worked so hard to enter.

Faria responded to the backlash by stating that Riot was trying to find a “positive outcome for the players”. And now, a major breakthrough has been reached.

Riot makes U-turn on The Guard spot decision

In a statement posted on X/Twitter, Riot announced that The Guard’s players were released from their contracts on Friday, September 1.

The players can now listen to individual proposals or try to find a new home for the team, with Riot offering them the chance to “present a suitable candidate organization for the Ascended slot”.

On X/Twitter, Faria admitted that Riot made “a mistake” with its initial ruling. “I’m glad we have a chance to right this wrong and let the players play,” he said.

Michael ‘neT’ Bernet, one of The Guard’s players, thanked the Valorant community for the “overwhelming support” it showed for the team. “This would not have been possible without you guys and I will be forever grateful,” he posted. “From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much.”

His teammate Jonah ‘JonahP’ Pulice wrote that he can now “finally breathe again.” “The amount of stress and anxiety lifted from my/our shoulders is unbelievable,” he said.

It remains unclear if the team will need to retain the entire lineup or just the majority of the roster in order to be eligible for the spot. According to reporter George Geddes, the team was going to make changes prior to August 29’s announcement.