VALORANT pros weigh in on map advantages in grand finals

by Jessica Scharnagle

The VALORANT Champions Tour has seen the conclusion of its first Challengers, VCT Game Changers and Masters events. The tournaments were similar in structure but were different in one key way: a map advantage in the grand final.

Challengers qualifiers consisted of an upper and lower bracket, as did Game Changers and Masters. All of these tournaments required teams competing in the grand final to win a best-of-five series.

In the Challengers grand final, the team that won the upper bracket got a one-map advantage over the team that came up through the lower bracket. For Masters, there was no map advantage. Instead, the upper bracket winner was able to select the map order.

Read more: Cloud9 White win VCT Game Changers without dropping a map

The difference captured fans’ attention during the Masters grand final match. Sentinels won the upper bracket final against FaZe Clan, and sent them to the lower bracket final. FaZe Clan then defeated Gen.G to compete in the grand final. There was no map advantage for Sentinels, which meant that in order to win, at least three maps had to be played.

The difference in map advantage across each tournament final sent VALORANT Twitter into a tizzy, with many people arguing for or against the map advantage, and whether it should be consistent across all of the tournaments.

“I saw someone on Twitter say there should be a map advantage, but the catch to it is that if a team has never played that team before while going into the upper bracket and they got knocked down, then there shouldn’t be a map advantage,” FaZe Clan’s Corey “corey” Nigra said. “But if you did beat that team, for example Sentinels beat us before, then they should have the map advantage because they beat us coming through the upper bracket.”

Read more: ShahZaM says Sentinels should have had bracket reset or map advantage in Masters final

Some pros aren’t even sure what they want in regard to the upper bracket advantage. Multiple solutions have been thrown around, including picking or banning maps. Other pros were of the opinion that a map advantage is the easiest way to give teams incentive for staying in the upper bracket.

“I think that it makes sense for teams to have a map advantage if they win and go through the upper bracket. However, I can understand how having no map advantage would make the finals series more competitive,” Andrej “babybay” Francisty said.

The VCT Game Changers tournament final had a map advantage as well, which caused even more confusion among fans who thought the Game Changers final would be similar to the Masters final.

“VCT Game Changers is utilizing the same ruleset as VCT Challengers which has a map advantage for the top team in the Winner’s bracket,” Riot said in a statement.

“I think there needs to be an incentive coming from the upper bracket,” CLG Red’s Benita “bENITA” Novshadian said. “It makes sense to me to have a map advantage.”

Discussions around whether there should be a map advantage or not have often shifted to a conversation about the future of competition. Many pros concede that there aren’t many maps in the pool, so teams being able to completely eliminate a map from the pool is impossible in a best-of-five situation.

CLG Red’s Evalynn “ChoboMe” Chiu had a different opinion and suggested instead of a map advantage, there be a map choice with no veto power.

“I wish there would be another advantage. Maybe not a map advantage. Maybe they get to choose a whole map themselves or something. But I do like the incentive to stay in the winner’s bracket, otherwise what’s the point,” ChoboMe said.

With VCT Stage 2 starting this week, It is unlikely that Riot will adjust the tournament structure, so fans can expect the same map advantage rules for the next round of Challengers and Masters. It is unclear what kind of advantage will be given for Champions, the international tournament at the end of the year.

During Stage 2 Challengers qualifiers, teams will compete for prize money and to qualify to compete at Stage 2 Masters in Reykjavík, Iceland, in the first major international tournament of the year.

Lead image credit: Riot Games

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