Esports organisation, the Pittsburgh Knights hosted the last North American Valorant tournament of the year. Knights before Christmas invited 32 teams to compete in an online Valorant tournament. They were a mix of top tier teams and some lesser-known teams. One of these lesser-known or unproven teams, Time In (Founded by Tyler “Ninja” Blevins) was the centre of some major controversy at the event.
Gen.G &The Grand Finals
Before we are bogged down by controversy and accusations, we should take some time to celebrate the winner of this year’s event, Gen.G. They had a slow start to the semi-finals after dropping Haven to XSET and putting up a poor defence. They quickly gained the upper hand after the quick thinking of Shawn “SHAWN” O’ Riley allowed them to secure a reverse sweep and qualify for the Grand Finals.
The Grand Finals saw Gen.G face off against Dignitas in an intense final match. Dignitas had the upper hand in the first map, much of that was due to Bryan “MAKKA” Drouillard. Ascent and Bind were confident sweeps for Gen.G but after five back-to-back round wins on attack for Dignitas, they had sparked hope for their fans. Ultimately, Gen.G came out on top to win the lion’s share of the $10,000 prize pool.
Now we come to the nasty part of the event, the cheating controversy. Or should I say lack of cheating? The event saw Tyler “Ninja” Blevins’ new team, Time In, lose 2-0 to Built By Gamers in the Pre-Quarter Finals. After the match we learnt that the tournament organisers had decided to disqualify Built By Gamers because their Sova player, Tristan “Critical” Trinacty, was suspected of cheating.
James O’Connor, the president of Pittsburgh Knights, tweeted:
“After reviewing the clips, I made the final call to DQ the team. With the tournament continuing tomorrow and us putting competitive integrity first, we suggested BBG decline to play and they agreed. Riot is currently reviewing his 4th cheating accusation in the past few months.”
After the announcement, many Valorant and CS:GO pro gamers came out in support of Critical. They suggested that players and teams should not be disqualified or banned simply on the suspicion of cheating.
The controversy deepened after the decision to disqualify Built By Gamers and Critical was reversed. After reviewing the clips, they found that the evidence was inconclusive and did not suggest that they were cheating. Despite the decision being reversed, Built By Gamers have decided to forgo the remainder of the tournament.
Tyler “Ninja” Blevins along with the Pittsburgh Knights have borne the brunt of the criticism. Blevins was under fire for his comments about Critical. Ninja suggested the investigation was justified because of three previous cheating allegations made against Critical. He tweeted:
“Just going to use your logic real quick, you are saying that if there are suspicions of someone cheating (for the 4th time) in a tournament for money, don’t do anything until after, even though they knocked out several deserving teams unfairly? after the fact? Lol”
Blevins was criticized for his remarks because despite being accused of cheating three times, Critical was subsequently cleared of all cheating allegations. Many believe that it was Blevins’ celebrity and status that pushed Pittsburgh Knights to disqualify the team without any evidence. FaZe’s Charles ‘Hoppin’ Clapper joined in the accusations:
“The tournament organizers be like ‘there is an on-going investigation, but ninja told us he thought they were cheating so let’s dq them’.”
It has been a long and winding road for Built By Gamers but the team and Critical have left the event with their heads held high. After the event Critical thanked everyone who had supported him during the accusations and disqualification:
“Stressful day but I am off, thanks to everyone who defended me today and showed support and love to me and the team. Awesome to see the scene stand up for us and I couldn’t be happier gngn <3”