This week, Riot Games concluded a probe into two former players of VALORANT Game Changers, Madelyn “malibu” Campos and James “Summertime” Edwards. The investigation found that both players breached the regulations of the VCT Game Changers, resulting in significant suspensions for each.
A notable narrative from the VALORANT Game Changers series in 2023 involved the disqualification of the team Noot Noot, which had successfully progressed in the rankings and ousted the squad of well-known content creator Disguised Toast. Over three months after the critical match that led to Noot Noot relinquishing their position in the tournament, Riot has announced its decision: malibu has been indefinitely banned from all competitions endorsed by Riot, whereas Summertime has received a suspension lasting one year.
The formal competitive decision, released on the VALORANT esports website on January 16, outlines how malibu and Summertime breached Riot’s guidelines concerning cheating and the verification of players for the Game Changers series.
The reason behind malibu’s harsh ban is her prior action of bypassing a hardware ban imposed by Riot Games’ Anti-Cheat team. Additionally, she provided fraudulent information during the verification process of Game Changers, which included the use of an AI-generated profile picture. Summertime was involved in submitting this misleading information on behalf of their teammate.
Following the disqualification, both players chose to deactivate their social media profiles. Nonetheless, their teammate Allison “xann” Angel spoke out following Riot’s official announcement. The announcement didn’t highlight any in-game cheating, apart from malibu’s previous hardware ban, prompting xann to concentrate on the bypassing of the verification process.
Xann remarked, “Oh so they weren’t cheating, and everyone just immediately jumped to conclusions because they see a good player.” However, other commenters quickly noted that providing false information during the verification process is still a form of dishonesty.
The penalties are now being imposed on the players, but the disqualification of Noot Noot from the Game Changers event in October occurred a match too late for one of their competitors.
During their October 5, 2023, match against Complexity GX3, which includes ex-Cloud9 White standout Jazzy “Jazzyk1ns” Manankil, a Noot Noot member was found guilty of breaching a competitive rule. Noot Noot forfeited the match after the second map, allowing Complexity to advance. Yet, just a day before, Disguised Toast’s VALORANT team was eliminated by the same Noot Noot lineup that was later disqualified.
The Disguised roster, comprising a host of Game Changers talent hastily assembled, had made a remarkable journey in the tournament. Regrettably, Disguised will not participate in Game Changers in 2024. Instead, it’s reported that the team will seek a new beginning in the Asia-Pacific region.