Will Valorant have skill-based matchmaking in unranked play?

Published: 6/Apr/2020 4:32

by Brad Norton


Valorant game director Joe Ziegler has revealed whether or not skill-based matchmaking will impact unranked games in Riot’s new FPS title.

Skill-based matchmaking has long been a controversial talking point in the competitive gaming landscape, from Fortnite pros suggesting it was the reason the game was ‘ruined,’ to Apex Legends players demanding it be removed entirely.

It’s therefore no surprise those eager to get their hands on Valorant have been waiting with bated breath to hear how SBMM might impact the new game too.

Riot Games
Skill-based matchmaking could play a huge role in Valorant.

Ziegler and Valorant Executive Producer, Anna Donlon, sat down to discuss all things Valorant with Ben ‘Dr Lupo’ Lupo on April 4. From the total number of Agents at launch, to the philosophy behind certain design choices, the duo touched on a great deal. However, they glossed over one crucial topic – matchmaking. 

Twitter user ‘TheQweets’ posed a question that wasn’t quite fleshed out during the interview: whether or not Valorant will incorporate SBMM in unranked games.

“There will be skill based matchmaking in unrated,” Ziegler responded soon after. Unrated is an alternate label for unranked gameplay in Valorant.

Not beating around the bush as many devs have in the past when it comes to SBMM, he outright confirmed unranked playlists will, in fact, be influenced by skill.

Winning a number of games back to back could land you in a lobby full of other players with high-win percentages. The same can be said for losing consecutive games.

SBMM is in place to ensure that matches are as evenly balanced as possible, placing you alongside and against players of similar skill. 

While many often turn to ranked playlists for a more finely-tuned competition, even unranked modes will still provide a SBMM-influenced experience in Valorant.

Viper on Bind's Reactor Site A in Valorant.
Riot Games
You’ll have to keep your wits about you, even in unranked Valorant matches.

Other factors may come into play for unranked modes in Valorant, and there may even be a strictly-casual playlist if the demand is there. For the time being, however, SBMM will leave its mark on the FPS title.

In the lead up to the next beta testing period, here’s a rundown on everything you need to know about Valorant, including the release date and more. 


Riot criticized for picking Ninja & Myth as “exclusive” Valorant co-streamers

Published: 1/Dec/2020 13:52 Updated: 1/Dec/2020 14:51

by Lauren Bergin


Valorant First Strike NA has become one of the fiercest competitions that we’ve seen in Future Earth’s short history. Valorant fans, however, aren’t pleased that Ninja and TSM Myth will be the only two streamers allowed to stream the tournament.

Valorant’s First Strike NA tournament has been one of the most hotly contested of the game’s global tournaments. There’s been upsets, crazy plays and a whole host of amazing competitive Valorant play for fans to sink their teeth into.

With the final leg of the NA tournament on the horizon, Riot Games have decided to grant exclusive co-streamer status to only two lucky personalities: Tyler ‘Ninja’ Bevins and Ali ‘Myth’ Kabbani of TSM.

The announcement has fallen slightly flat, however, and fans aren’t particularly thrilled over Riot’s choice of streamers.

Valorant First Strike header
Riot Games
Valorant First Strike has been the biggest Valorant event to date.

Ninja & Myth are First Strike co-streamers

Riot Games announced on November 30 that Twitch goliaths Ninja and TSM Myth would be “exclusive co-streamers” of the First Strike: NA main event.

The news of an ‘exclusive’ co-streaming deal with the two content creators left a lot of fans and fellow streamers somewhat unpleased. It led to a plethora of Tweets and Reddit threads dedicated to discussion around whether or not it’s fair to grant exclusivity to these two personalities.

Fans hit back

The main element of this situation that has left fans disgruntled is the idea of Ninja and Myth being granted exclusivity to the First Strike stream. This means that any other streamers who planned on streaming the event won’t be able to.

Twitch streamer mOE responded with surprise that other streamers wouldn’t be able to stream the event:

A Tweet from another fan called for the inclusion of the Overwatch League’s Josh ‘Sideshow’ Wilkinson to the lineup. The caster hosts a weekly podcast called Plat Chat on YouTube, which is entirely dedicated to Valorant. He also streams frequently, so it would make a lot of sense to include him in the exclusive co-streamer list:

Some fans were so unimpressed that they took their concerns to Reddit, where a lengthy post on the ValorantCompetitive subreddit sees fans express their disappointment.

The thread, started by u/AnOldMonkOnDMT, notes that Ninja’s ‘polarizing personality’ coupled with TSM Myth’s ‘preference for TSM’ makes the idea of watching their co-streams unappealing.

Exclusive Co Streams for First Strike NA from r/ValorantCompetitive

The comments echo this:

Dexerto has reached out to Riot Games for comment.

Typically, esports tournaments will prevent streamers from ‘co-streaming’ to avoid diverting viewership from the official broadcast.