Valorant smurfs have decreased, but Riot isn’t done yet

Valorant smurfs are often a one way ticket to a stomp or an early forfeit and some toxicity in the chat, but Riot has seriously clamped down in its FPS game

Valorant smurfs have decreased, but Riot isn't done yet: A tanned woman with slicked back black hair and geometric tattoos stands holding purple energy on a black and gold background

Valorant smurfs have to be some of the FPS game‘s most frustrating rulebreakers. Whether they’re carrying the enemy team to boost a friend or actively trolling just because they can, Riot has been clamping down on alternative accounts for a while – and its efforts appear to have been successful.

In its December 20 ‘Systems Health’ blog, product manager Brian Chang writes “overall, smurf counts are down ~17% compared to earlier in the year, and newly created smurfs are getting to their ‘correct’ MMR two to three times faster.”

This is a result of a new smurf detection system that rolled out in North America as part of Valorant patch 5.01. These haven’t been rolled out globally yet, but from their results it certainly looks like they will be.

The main change Riot has made is adjusting smurfs’ MMR. “By the end of the NA test, we saw that the 50% of detected smurfs whose MMRs we adjusted were within 1% of our target stomp rate, while the 50% of detected smurfs that we didn’t adjust in our control group were still stomping in 25% of their matches!” he states.

A Valorant graph showing smurf accounts with adjusted MMR vs accounts without adjusted MMR

Despite these pretty impressive stats, Riot acknowledges that there’s still quite a bit of work to be done. While having zero smurfs is an unobtainable pipe dream – to borrow Chang’s words “we know that we’ll never be able to completely eradicate any and all concerns that players have around secondary accounts and smurfing” – the devs are still looking for ways to prevent it causing chaos.

Chang states that the dev team will continue to build upon the foundations of the NA smurf detection system, while simultaneously adjusting competitive modes to negate the need for alt accounts. They’re also honing in on boosting and buying accounts, but there’ll be more information on that in 2023.

Having loaded into many a lobby with players who have an ominous string of numbers as their username, I’m very used to smurfs. Hopefully I’ll see less of them in EUW when Riot makes the detection system globally available, because boy are they quite the menace (although there’s nothing better than headshooting one of ’em, am I right?)

To ensure that you’re in a good position to combat smurfs, be sure to load up some of the best Valorant crosshairs and codes.  We also have a breakdown of all of the Valorant ranks – y’know, so that you can brag about stomping a Radiant smurf when you’re only gold.