Female VALORANT Players Upset At Mixed Game Changers Series Announcement
As the professional female VALORANT scene begins to develop through the Game Changers tour, many of the top-tier players in Europe have become upset with Riot Games as they've introduced mixed teams into the second series of the three-stage tour.
TENSTAR Nova, a fully French roster, fended off fierce competition from Rix.GG Lightning, BBL Queens, Oxygen Esports, and Guild X, to take home the first all-female Riot-backed VALORANT tournament, in the Game Changers Series 1, taking home a life-changing $9,200 in prize money. The EMEA side was the first to be crowned as champions of their region, just as North America saw the dominant Cloud9 White take their third consecutive gold medal.
However, just before the queens were crowned with their diadems, Riot Games confirmed that Series 2 will be landing at the end of the month, featuring mixed-gender teams.
Despite a ruling that weighs in the favour of females - mixed teams must field at least three women - a large majority of professional ladies have taken issue with the format, believing that whilst a mixed-gender competition is the end goal for all of VALORANT esports, women first need a platform to excel in and learn the trade.
Guild X's newest star Sophia "Kim" Benfakir took to Twitter following the announcement to voice her displeasure at the format, realising that some teams may look to take advantage of an undeniable skill gap in order to get a quick payout.
She said: "I understand that some real mixed team should have a chance to compete.. but let's be realistic y'all know it's going to be male pro player plus three pro females, get there, play only the tournament, and then bye see you never.
"Don't try to force inclusivity because if this was working then we would have already had female in male sub top or top scene which we don't. Literally having some boys in Dm telling me this is easy money and being so happy about this."
Female VALORANT observers, Melanie "mel" Hoi-San Man and Heather "sapphiRe" Garozzo, also weighed in on the matter, with the latter saying that the format should be replicable of that used in North America, where it has remained all-female for the entire three series.
She said, "part of me wishes NA & EU (as well as other regions) followed similar formats to great a global narrative in advance of the first international LAN"
Saif "Sayf" Jibraeel, Kim's male Guild counterpart, also took to Twitter to support the stance, confirming that he, and the rest of the male roster, will not be participating.
The second series of the EMEA Game Changers is set to be on October 25, where many of the existing women rosters will look to upset those incoming mixed-gender squads.