VALORANT ranked gameplay, particularly in North America, has recently been afflicted with an epidemic that has caused plenty of constraints amidst professional players. The problem: crypto throwers. But what exactly are crypto throwers, and why are they such a menace to the VALORANT ecosystem?
Crypto throwers: who and what are they?
There are websites where people can bet on the outcome of competitive matches, usually of professional players who are streaming ranked matches using cryptocurrency. The ability to make almost ludicrous sums of money has caused some players in the lobbies of these professionals to throw matches to ensure the bets they’ve placed have paid off.
For example, let's say that Tarik is streaming ranked online. A player, on his team, places a bet that Tarik’s team would lose the game and stakes money on it. The player proceeds to throw rounds, not get kills, and more, leading to the loss for Tarik’s team and him making some money. Some players also bet on their opponents to win when they’re on an enemy team and cause their own team to lose to make some money.
Several pro players, including NRG's FNS, SEN's TenZ, and more have spoken up about the issue and how throwing can mess up the ecosystem but why is it such a huge problem?
Why are Crypto throwers a problem in VALORANT?
Cryptothrowers destroy the integrity of the game and undermine the goals of playing ranked, which is to play among players of your rank and to try and improve. Having crypto throwers in your game can have negative consequences for everyone, such as bans for themselves and loss of MMR and rank for those in their games. Betting on competitive games and throwing to make money is also a direct violation of Riot Games’ Terms of Service.
There’s no easy fix either because increased security around player profiles is not just hard to implement but also can reduce the pool of available players in a game. This could drastically increase queue times in games and even lead to games that aren’t balanced well in terms of rank.
After months of dealing with his games being adversely affected, Tarik “Tarik” Celik, an extremely popular VALORANT content creator and streamer currently signed by Sentinels has come up with a solution.
Tarik’s solution: Pro City
Tarik proposed his own league in order to make a safe place where VALORANT professionals would be able to practice against each other and do better. Called Pro City, players would be able to hold each other accountable for their actions in the game and not worry about crypto throwers and stream snipers. The server is invite-only and includes folk who are either professional players for teams or those who have been on top of the ranked leaderboard. Pro City has been operational since January 2023 and has a Discord server with over 120 members. These players play in ten-person custom lobbies.
Requirements for entry to Pro City
Players should belong to an S or A-tier organization, which means they should be a part of either a partnered team or a team that has made it to the North American Challengers League (VCL.) If players don’t belong to a team, they should have finished top 50 on the ranked leaderboard.
There is a Pro City council, consisting of an anonymous seven-person panel that has oversight over who is a part of the server. These members are secret, not just to the community but also to each other, and are established professional players.
Where can I watch Pro City Games?
To watch players participating in Pro City games, you will have to watch the livestreams on Twitch of players participating. This is because there is no official stream for the games (yet!) According to Tarik himself, Riot Games doesn’t have plans to take Pro City down any time soon, and they’re also open to potentially introduce prize pools.
Is there a leaderboard for Pro City?
Yes, there is! You can check out the leaderboard following the link.
In January, GUARD neT topped the leaderboard with 21 wins and only five losses. He was followed by dicey, who had 29 wins but 14 losses which lowered his net MMR. This month, 100 Thieves’ Cryocells is leading the way, with 18 wins and 5 losses.
In the last month and a half, Pro City has grown by leaps and bounds and several professional players and content creators have been seen participating in the 10-player custom lobbies. With Pro City being an elegant solution to sidestep the torture of ranked players not communicating or being crypto throwers, it seems like it’s here to stay.