Riot bans suspected Game Changers cheater indefinitely

Riot bans suspected Game Changers cheater indefinitely
Image via Riot Games

Written by 

Sascha Heinisch

Published 

17th Jan 2024 13:45

Riot Games has released a statement on a competitive ruling regarding the VALORANT Game Changers competitors Madelyn "Malibu" Campos and James "Summertime" Edwards. During Game Changers Series 3, the team "nootnoot" had been identified to be in breach of Riot's rules, resulting in a disqualification from the event.

In a January 16 statement, Riot permanently banned Malibu from all Riot-sanctioned competitions, with Summertime receiving a year-long penalty.

What happened at the VALORANT Game Changers?

During Game Changers Series 3 North America in October of last year, nootnoot participated in the event, making it to the lower bracket quarter-finals after beating fan-favourite Disguised in the upper bracket of the event. As Riot spotted a rule infliction, nootnoot's match against complexity GX3 was forfeited and a public statement followed.

Three and half months later, Riot has shown the results of its investigation, explaining that Malibu had acted maliciously to avoid a hardware ban handed out by Riot's anti-cheat system, falsifying her identity with the help of Summertime to play in Game Changers.

Switching her hardware and providing a false identity even with the help of an AI-generated picture, Malibu and Summertime conspired to allow the former to play in the event, as the statement explains: “Summer offered to assist Madelyn with the eligibility verification process in providing false information to AnyKey."

While both were allowed to provide a clarifying statement, Riot alleges that neither of them did so. Notably, Riot's statement doesn't mention the results of an investigation of potential cheating by either party during Series 3, which had been a major concern within the community during the time.

Disguised had taken issue with the handling of the incident, citing the investment into the scene only to lose to a team in round 1 that would later be disqualified. The full statement is available only on the North American version of the VALORANT esports News section, which requires you to switch your location in the top right corner to English (North America).

A reaction to public pressure?

In the history of Riot esports, only a few and severe instances have received attention that prompted the developer to respond with a public statement. However, Riot may have felt the pressure in this particular instance due to Disguised's public outing on their reasons for leaving the Game Changers ecosystem. 

Citing frustration with the handling of the situation with Series 3, the team had let go of its entire roster just before Christmas, stating that "after a heartbreaking ending to our GC Series 3 run this year, where a player was able to bypass Riot's anti-cheat system in our games, we do not feel comfortable investing more into the scene as it exists today."

The resolution of the matter took more than three and a half months and is arguably not resolved in its entirety, without any public certainty whether Disguised had lost to an active cheat during their matches. 

Given the severity of Malibu's punishment, there might still be vindication for the organisation around content creator Jeremy "DisguisedToast" Wang - knowing that no further harm will be caused by the individual in future competitions.

Registrations for Verizon Game Changers 2024 Series 1 have closed, with the competition kicking off on Januar 23 for the first open qualifier, followed by a second round starting on February 6.

Sascha Heinisch
About the author
Sascha Heinisch
Sascha "Yiska" Heinisch is a Senior Esports Journalist at GGRecon. He's been creating content in esports for over 10 years, starting with Warcraft 3.
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