Changes around VCT substitute rules reportedly coming for 2024

VCT international tournament crowd and stageColin Young-Wolff/Riot Games

Changes are reportedly coming to the VCT ruleset around substitute players involving Challengers League teams and VCT international league squads.

Riot Games is going to tweak some of its rules around substitute players for the 2024 VCT season, according to a report from Blix. Teams in the VCT international leagues are required to sign at least one substitute player, according to the current ruleset.

Some organizations in the partnered leagues have bent this rule slightly for the 2023 season, signing coaches or content creators as substitute players. This hasn’t impacted some squads as their rosters have not needed to change for chemistry or outside-the-server issues, however, some squads have had to play with their coaches this season.

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Karmine Corp Valorant team huddles on stageHara Amorós / Riot Games / LVP / lag
Karmine Corp. were forced to field their assistant coach in VCT EMEA.

Karmine Corp. and Team Heretics are two examples of teams that were forced to field their coach because the organization did not sign a pro player as a substitute.

Riot Games is seemingly looking to fix this issue by changing the rules to allow VCT international league squads to register Challengers League players as substitutes.

Changes coming to VCT substitute rules for 2024

The new rules will allow VCT teams to register up to four players on Challengers League teams that they enter into some kind of a partnership with as substitutes, according to the report. Tier-1 squads will be able to call up these substitutes from the Challengers League if needed.

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If called up, these players will be paid at least the VCT minimum salary. And, while this provides more substitute players for top teams, it may also be a move from Riot to try and bolster the tier 2 scene.

It will relieve some of the cost to field players in the Challengers League. In North America, esports organizations have been dropping their Challengers rosters to presumably cut costs during the offseason. It seems like Riot is attempting to replicate what they have created in League of Legends esports with the Academy League.

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Some LCS organizations have teams in the Academy league, which is a circuit outside the tier-1 league, and can call players up, or send them down. Unlike the Valorant Challengers League, however, teams in the Academy League cannot earn a promotion into the LCS.

Evil Geniuses ValorantLiu YiCun/Riot Games
Some teams like Evil Geniuses signed multiple substitutes for the VCT 2023 season.

VCT teams will also reportedly pay the substitute player’s salary while they are in the Challengers League. The report also says VCT teams can demote players on their starting roster to the Challengers League as long as they have played less than half of their league matches.

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Esports journalist George Geddes commented on the report, saying that teams in North America are already limiting the number of players they sign to the bare minimum to limit costs. He said he doesn’t understand why organizations would turn around and use this new substitute system and spend even more money on their rosters.

Fans will have to wait and see how this supposed new rule will impact roster building for the 2024 season as the offseason for Valorant esports is just around the corner.

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