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Is the Valorant loser’s queue curse real, or is it all in your head?

Some days in Valorant are so bad that you're convinced Riot has a vendetta against you, but is it the just FPS game, or are you just terrible at Valorant?

Is the Valorant loser’s queue curse real, or is it all in your head?: A cute Asian girl with blue and yellow hair in spce buns stands in front of a list of lost games in Valorant and a flash

As someone who’s been fragging in FPS games for a decade, it didn’t take me long to adjust to Valorant‘s shooting. But, some days were like a walk in the park – I’d drop a smooth 30 bomb without even breaking a sweat. On other days I’d spend the entire game inspecting teammates, fuming at the bottom of the scoreboard. Turns out, I am not alone. Many players think Valorant matchmaking feels awfully inconsistent. The horrors of red carpet don’t elude even the best in the game, but why is that?

Valorant is fairly well-optimized, so I can’t really put my bad days down to pesky hackers, software bugs, or other technical glitches. But this fascinating little thing called the loser’s queue making the rounds in Valorant’s rumour mill would explain a lot. Apparently, it’s an old gaming patent that causes that infamous red carpet to unfurl out of nowhere. At this point, the loser’s queue feels like the sole explanation for my 13-game losing streak.

A japanese man with black hair with a blue streak wearing a blue combat jacket holding a knife on an icy location

What’s causing the red carpet blues in Valorant?

Jonathan ‘EvrMoar’ Walker is a former Valorant competitive designer who has elaborated on the notorious loser’s queue many times in the past. But, some loopholes point at the loser’s queue being real. 

Firstly, purposefully putting players in a certain pool isn’t a wild concept. It has been happening in gaming for a while now, for example EA’s FIFA allegedly relying on DDA. Formally known as Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment, this system manipulates matches in a way that players keep returning for more. Now, the losing streak in Valorant sure convinces players to play “just one more game,” but it also drives them away. 

EvrMoar argued that if Valorant had such a system, the devs wouldn’t hide it since it’s nothing particularly new. But, a patent similar to DDA is just not good for “business” and game health. This is why Valorant players losing in huge, seemingly never ending streaks is either a coincidence or a reminder to hit Aimlabs. 

“Data, across multiple games and genres in the game industry, all point toward fair matches being a huge reason players have a fun and enjoyable PvP experience. Why would we create a system that forcibly sets up players to lose if we know that would force them to leave the game early?” EvrMoar said

A woman with black hair in a bob wearing a gas mask walks towards the camera holding a rifle

While all of this sounds reasonable, losing 13-15 games in a row makes you wonder if the game system is flawed or if Riot is keeping something from the players. One possible explanation could be MMR stagnancy, which the devs have explained multiple times. 

It’s quite possible that the matchmaking system in Valorant isn’t pairing up losers specifically, but rather matching you with those hard stuck in your MMR pool for the same period. Which is why it can happen to good players too, since being overly consistent can also cause problems. 

For instance, if your MMR is stuck at 1500, players stuck at a similar rating for a long time would be less than those who are actively ranking up. Therefore, the system might match you with those closest to your MMR on the ladder instead of matching you with other players experiencing a similar losing streak. 

But, the question of why those players stuck in the MMR pool are also experiencing a losing streak remains. It’s sort of a paradox; those with a strong encounter MMR would increase their variation and escape the ELO hell, leaving behind the losers who can’t seem to get out of the same MMR. Now, these losers are naturally matching up with each other due to low variance. 

This stagnancy can happen at high ranks as well. You keep getting 20 kills every game, and now Valorant’s system is bored. Nothing new is happening, and it’s convinced you are a certified Ascendant. Now, you are getting matched up with other hard stuck Ascendants who are not improving every day, resulting in a string of losses. 

Combine hard-stuck ELO with bad mental and frustration, and you get the perfect recipe for a losing streak. If you place trust in EvrMoar’s explanation, then it seems there can be no other logical conclusion to explain the frequent and infamous ‘red carpet’ occurrences that plague Valorant. 

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While the issue of the loser’s queue in Valorant remains somewhat of a mystery, it’s best to err on the side of caution when deciding who or what to trust. Instead of blaming Riot, players could change things they have control over based on factual information. 

That said, my humble advice would be to stick to the tried and true method of outsmarting the system: don’t get too cozy in the same rank. Instead, strive to surprise the matchmaking algorithm by upping your game, shattering personal records, and injecting some variance into your play style. The chances of matching up with players within the same pool would drastically decrease, resulting in more green on your ranked history palette. 

If you are also on a losing streak, consider mixing things up. Try running the best agents on the Valorant tier list based on the current meta, switch up your weapons, load up one of the best Valorant crosshairs, and most importantly, practice more!