On The Wisemen Podcast, Global Head of VALORANT Esports Leo Faria provided reasons behind the LOCK//IN format decision.
VALORANT esports is rarely without drama or controversy. One of the latest issues in the community is the format of the LOCK//IN kickoff tournament in Brazil. Thirty-two teams will battle in a single elimination tournament to begin the 2023 VCT. Despite the pushback from players, the Global Head of VALORANT Esports believes the format is the right choice.
Leo Faria was very vocal on Twitter during the initial community reaction. Soon after, he joined the second episode of The Wisemen Podcast hosted by Rod "Slasher" Breslau, Spencer "Hiko" Martin, Josh "steel" Nissan, and Sean "sgares" Gares. On the podcast, he answered a slew of questions and stood his ground as to why the finalized LOCK//IN format makes the most sense.
Global Head of VALORANT Esports addresses community concerns
Coaches and players were quickly dismissive of the LOCK//IN format. It starts with one half of the bracket playing through the majority of their games, with the second half competing the following week. This caused concern regarding quick eliminations and a handful of teams having more time to analyze and practice.
Slasher directly asked Leo to comment on the decision to go with the confirmed format. The comparison was made to CS:GO Majors or a basic Group Stage into a bracket. The Global Head of VALORANT Esports explained the choice,
"I'm not coming in planning on changing the formats of our tournaments. Fans like it, we like it. Its one of the best things about VALORANT esports. Double elimination works really well... LOCK//IN is a one-time only event that we are doing for a very specific purpose. One, introducing all of the new partnered teams to the world. And also celebrating the launch of VCT."
On top of that, Leo mentioned the timing of the event. Partnered teams still need time to move to the VCT hub cities. That prevented the season to fully begin in January, making way for LOCK//IN to close the gap between the end of the 2022 circuit and the start of play in 2023.
LOCK//IN format did without seeding to provide a "fresh start"
The next subject that ruffled some feathers amongst the VALORANT community is the lack of seeding. Just about every team with a partnered spot in the VCT has a new-look roster. This played into Leo's reasoning as to forgo seeding,
"Everything is new. We want to give everyone a fresh start... A lot of rosters changed tremendously... There are no teams from the same territory, the same league, in the first match up. We don't have Americas vs. Americas... It was, of course, all randomized."
Though it may not have garnered universal approval, after the Global Head of VALORANT Esports' appearance on The Wisemen, it seems like everyone agrees that the format at least makes sense. You can watch the podcast in its entirety to hear Leo touch on other topics, such as the amount of international tournaments per year, support for partnered teams, and what to expect for 2023's VCT offseason.
Brandon "Mothman" Moore is an esports journalist based in the United States. He has a heavy background in FPS titles, including professional Valorant coverage from day one. Brandon is a family man who loves writing, gaming, and catching a baseball game.