XSET vs. FPX replay: The craziest night in Valorant Champions history

XSET and FPX coaches shake hands in front of the stage at Valorant ChampionsLance Skundrich/Riot Games

Riot Games ruled after the conclusion of the XSET and FunPlus Phoenix lower bracket match on Day 13 of Valorant Champions that the two teams would have to replay the final round of the series due to a bug giving XSET players false information, causing them to lose the series. What followed was a late night of overtime rounds, heated words and general confusion on September 13.

As Kyrylo ‘ANGE1’ Karasov defused the spike on Ascent after his team won a two vs. three post-plant battle, the crowd cheered and his team celebrated the victory. The FunPlus Phoenix players waved to the crowd, shook hands with the now-eliminated XSET team, and began their normal post-match media obligations.

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FPX went to do media for Riot Games, giving recorded interviews a floor above the stage and sending out post-match tweets of the score line along with memes and thanking XSET for the match. They were getting ready to complete their media routine with an on-site press conference and then return to their hotel.

That is until they were told along with XSET, that they would have to replay the final round.

XSET’s head coach Don ‘SyykoNT’ Muir said in a post-match press conference that he had already given a post-match speech praising the team for their year and development before a representative from Riot came to them to talk about the match.

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“They brought us upstairs, talked to us, explained the situation that there was a bug and that the round was going to be replayed,” SyykoNT said.

From there the team was kept in a backroom, gave their phones to their manager, and were told they couldn’t talk to each other.

It wasn’t until almost two hours later that Riot released an update on the situation on the Valorant Champions Tour Twitter explaining that the final round of the match was to be replayed due to a bug. The specific bugged interaction was with a Killjoy turret giving XSET players false information about where the FPX players were in the round which caused ANGE1 and his teammates to catch XSET unawares.

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While Riot did not cite which rule it was enforcing to cause the replay, according to section 9.4.2 of the Valorant Champions Tour Global Competition Policy book on round replays: “Round Rollbacks may be used for unintended bugs that give a competitive advantage. Tournament Officials shall evaluate the intent of the Player that performed the bug on a case by case basis.”

“It’s a very controversial decision, I think everyone agrees on that,” ANGE1 said in a post-match press conference. “And if we’re going to discuss it like deeply and find someone who is guilty, it’s not going to make it better, then just leave it. What happened, happened.”

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The decision blindsided both teams, who took to Twitter to voice their surprise, and for some anger, at the Riot ruling before handing their phones over and waiting to go back on stage.

The replay

After two hours of waiting from viewers, stalling from the Valorant broadcast and frustration from the FPX players, both teams returned to the Valorant Champions 2022 stage to replay the final round on Ascent at 12-11 in favor of FPX.

The main English-language broadcasters were audibly tired and other broadcasts were running on a skeleton crew as they thought the match was already over and went home.

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XSET went on to win the round, much to the frustration of the players on FPX. Pontus ‘Zyppan’ Eek, the young Swede on FPX, smashed his fist on the table after XSET tied the score line 12-12 to force overtime in the replay.

Then the broadcast was delayed again as a technical pause was called before overtime began, which caused even more frustration from FPX. Ardis ‘ardiis’ Svarenieks was visibly irritated with the pause as he stared at the ceiling with his arms down at his side.

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When asked his opinion on the ordeal after the match concluded, ardiis, who traditionally isn’t afraid to speak his mind, only gave a short statement.

“If I gave my honest opinion, I would firstly get fined by FPX, I’ll get fined by Riot and my career would most likely be canceled. So, no comment.” the FPX player said.

ardiis tweeted the next day about the situation.

The replay finally ended at 2:28 a.m. local time in Turkey with a final score line of 16-14 in favor of FPX. Instead of cheers from the fans, teams received cheers from the on-site production team and instead of a cordial shaking of hands, FPX players vented their anger towards XSET, outside of some kind words from head coach Erik “d00mbr0s” Sandgren to dephh.

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“They all said ‘nice try,’ in a really condescending tone,” XSET player Zachary ‘zekken’ Patrone said.

“They did more than that,” dephh responded. “But I completely understand where the frustration is coming from.”

The fallout of a historic decision at Valorant Champions

This isn’t the first instance of a a replay occurring at Valorant Champions. At Valorant Champions 2021, Acend and Vivo Keyd replayed the final map of their series, with Acend given a seven round advantage, due to a Keyd player using an illegal Cypher Cam position. The European team won the map and series and went on to win the event.

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While the two instances are different in the specific rules and how the fallout played out, they are similar in how the community has reacted. Acend players were inundated with hateful messages and comments after the replay, and the same has happened with XSET.

“I don’t think it’s fair for the players to be getting hate from Twitter or from this other team. You know, it’s not anything that we asked for even remotely,” SyykoNT said.

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XSET were also already in the spotlight of the Valorant community after accusing OpTic Gaming of abusing technical pauses during their match the day before. XSET later apologized for the accusations and walked back their statements.

Both teams said that bugs are a part of the game and have impacted rounds and matches before, citing a well-known KAY/O ZERO/POINT bug as well as the Killjoy bug that cause the replay.

“I think because there’s a lot of bugs in any game, which is played especially competitively and a lot of like small details like KAY/O knife or the turret bug, anything else.

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“There’s lots of stuff happening a lot in a lot of matches and it’s not the best idea to replay rounds, especially after the match is over. Because then all the teams will question all the bugs, which is going to happen in the history of Valorant should be replayed now or not and I think it just very bad situation to have,” ANGE1 said.

XSET Valorant coach at VCT masters answering questions from mediaColin Young-Wolff/Riot Games
XSET are a relatively smaller brand than many of the teams in North American and at Valorant Champions 2022.

ANGE1 and d00mbr0s said they were told that XSET were not to blame for the replay, that it was a Riot decision, but ANGE1 did not sound convinced after the match

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“They can’t be not involved in it right? If you didn’t listen to communication, if they didn’t communicate it, how do you know it affected them. But anyway, let’s just move on,” ANGE1 said.

When told that XSET said did not bring up the bug with Riot in the previous press conference, the FPX players nodded their heads with a curt “uh huh.”

“You need some more comments? No, you’re not going to get it,” the FPX IGL said to end the press conference.

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FPX ANGE1 on the Masters Copenhagen stageColin Young-Wolff/Riot Games
ANGE1 is one of the oldest competitors at Valorant Champions at 33 years old.

For XSET, SyykoNT said the team was glad Riot allowed them to replay the round and for the match to play out fairly, but him and the rest of the team understood the anger coming from FPX.

“I complete understand their frustration,” dephh said. “We would be equally as pissed.”

The IGL also said that no matter how the replay would have played out, win or lose, XSET would have to deal with the fallout of the Riot decision.

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“It just felt like whatever happened here was a lose-lose. Like if we win, we are literally the villains. So we went out there and we did our best. It’s hollow either way,” dephh said.

XSET leave the competition with controversy thrown their way, and FPX will move on to face DRX in the lower bracket semifinal on September 16.