Valorant exploded onto the gaming scene back in 2020 with its unique blend of tactical gunplay and hero abilities, and it’s since become a monumental presence in gaming. Millions of players log in on a daily basis to grind its ranked mode, including some of the most popular content creators in the gaming space. Unfortunately, not all is well with the competitive queue in North America as a nefarious crypto throwing scheme has had disastrous consequences and led arguably the most successful streamer to create his own private league called Pro City.
So what’s the crypto throwing drama all about then? Well, the highest levels of ranked play have become infested with individuals who purchase boosted accounts and then seek to make big bucks by betting (crypto money) against the streamers in their games and throwing to ensure a payout. The issue has become so serious that dozens of content creators and professional players in North America have essentially gone on strike and refused to play ranked.
Riot Games has remained tight-lipped on the situation, and in an attempt to combat the issue, one of North America’s top content creators and heroes (depending on whom you ask) is taking matters into his own hands.
By now, many of you know the story of Tarık Çelik, the former Counter-Strike: Global Offensive pro turned content creator. Tarik won North America’s only CS:GO Major in 2018, and since then, has turned his sights towards dominating the content creation side, with his popularity largely helping to boost Valorant’s numbers through the roof. He not only plays the game but also hosts esports watch parties, such as the recent Ludwig x Tarik Invitational.
Tarik is an avid ranked player; if you look at the leaderboards, you’ll see his name close to the top every single act. Due to his reach, he’s been a prime target for the crypto throwers, and after much visible frustration, he took to creating an official high elo discord to dodge the throwers and cheaters.
Enter Pro City.
What is Pro City?
Pro City is Tarik’s solution to the ranked play dilemma; a pro-10-man server, where the highest levels of professional and semi-professional players compete, free not just from crypto throwers but also the usual ranked trollers. There’s even a leaderboard that tracks the stats and MMR of each member. Ironically, Tarik sits at the bottom of the leaderboard! But we’ll cut him some slack since he’s played the most matches…
Since this is a private group, it is important to note the participants aren’t playing for in-game rewards or official ranked badges. The proverbial reward is the experience, as this group is as close as players can get to replicating a pro setting aside from competing.
Who Can Play in Pro City?
As mentioned, Pro City consists of high-level players in North America. This includes professionals from Valorant’s esports teams (franchised, Challengers, and Game Changers) or players at the top of the ranked leaderboards, including many popular content creators.
At the top of the group sits the Pro City Council which determines the players that get into the server. The council remains anonymous, but if you pay attention to the list of players, usually the top echelon of North American players who take Valorant seriously are invited. There has been plenty of discussion regarding eligibility, but seeing as it’s only been a few weeks, much of the system’s structure is not set in stone.
How to Watch Pro City Games
Watching the Pro City Games is easier than you’d think; all you have to do is tune into your favorite player’s POV. Typically, players invited to Pro City stream the matches on their Twitch channels, though it depends on how active said player streams. Pro City is typically active later at night to accommodate players’ schedules with practice.
A slightly more arduous way of checking would be to head over to Valorant’s Twitch directory and scroll through the thousands of streams with the same goal, but that method is beyond time-consuming.
Below are a few different POVs you can watch:
The Future of Pro City
If you’re a fan of this format, one thing to keep in mind is Pro City is a player-created idea. If Riot Games decides to clamp down on the lobby, then Pro City will have to close its doors. However, if the developer continues to remain silent on crypto betting, here’s hoping they’ll leave this creation alone as it’s hugely entertaining to watch and offers a platform for professionals to compete at a higher level than ranked on a day-to-day basis.
With this year’s Champions Tour set to kick off in a few weeks at LOCK//IN, it’ll be interesting to see how the group handles players shuffling around due to professional obligations. For the time being, it has been a nice change of pace, given the sad state of high-level ranked play, as viewers can watch their favorite players team up for high-level tactics, misplays, and hijinx.
Keep it locked to Twinfinite for everything Valorant, including our latest feature on the state of the meta and, in particular, Chamber’s fall from grace.