Riot admits ‘oversights’ in allowing male substitute to play in VCT Game Changers NA

In a VCT Game Changers NA open qualifier match between Complexity GX3 and Team X yesterday, Complexity played with a male coach as an emergency substitute in an attempt to avoid a forfeit after one of the female players slept through the first map. In a statement to Dot Esports today, Riot Games said it “made oversights” on the decision.

On the opening day of the tournament, Lacey “akaL4CE” Dilworth made a call for Twitter to help her wake up Annie “Aniemal” Lee, who was about to miss one of their Game Changers matches. The team was forced to begin their game down one player, and halfway through the match, the map was considered forfeit because the rules do not allow for teams to play with four players.

According to reports on Twitter, Team X waited while Complexity tried to fill in their empty slot. When attempts to get a fifth member failed, the team was allowed to sub in male coach Johnny “boms” Boms. Complexity still lost the map, and because they had to forfeit the first map, lost the match 0-2.

The substitution did not go unnoticed by the Game Changers community, and many are questioning the legality of a male player in Game Changers. Dot Esports reached out to Riot regarding the incident, and a spokesperson for VALORANT NA Esports issued a statement.

“In an effort to avoid competition delays, we made oversights regarding match continuation and emergency substitutions for Game Changers,” the statement said. “We are evaluating our processes surrounding these scenarios. Furthermore, we will work more closely with participating teams to ensure there is no confusion about respective player eligibility.”

According to the Game Changers rulebook, subbing in a male coach violates one of the fundamental rules of the tournament, which is that all players on a team’s roster must be women players. It also stipulates that players have 10 minutes between each match to find a substitute, and tournament officials will determine if an incident qualifies as an emergency. Substitutes must be on the team’s roster.

There are also rules that govern substitutions between maps. According to the rules, teams wishing to substitute for a player must inform the approving team and receive approval from the referees, and also must be a member of the tournament roster.

It isn’t clear why Riot allowed the team to put in a male player instead of forcing a forfeit to occur, since Complexity did not have a complete and eligible roster to finish the game. Given Riot’s statement, it is unclear whether it plans on issuing a competitive ruling on the incident.

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