VCT Stage 1 Masters Reykjavik 2022 champion Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker has revealed a major flaw with Riot Games’ tournament setup in Iceland.

Teams could actually hear one another during matches, according to the OpTic Gaming player, including even calls on which site to hit.

Yay shared the story during Tarik “tarik” Celik’s VCT NA Stage 2 Challengers qualifiers watch party.

“We could literally hear the other team sometimes. I’m not trolling. There was a little bit of white noise in there, but if you were loud enough, you could hear people yelling calls,” recalled yay.

Masters Reykjavik 2022 tournament setup failed to entirely block out external noise

At previous Masters events, teams were playing farther apart on the main stage. However, the stage was smaller at Masters Reykjavik 2022, which meant that both teams were a lot closer to one another, at least during the group stage and the first five days of the playoffs.

Teams eventually moved to a bigger stage for the semifinals, which helped mitigate the issue.

According to yay, the smaller stage was a major problem because of how the sound carried between teams. They were close enough to hear their opponents calling strategies, and since there were still no crowds due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the sounds traveled clearly across the stage.

There was no simple fix for the issue either. “If the tournament admins increased the sound of the white noise audio on everyone’s headset, then the players couldn’t hear the in-game audio or even their own teammates,” he said.

At the time, yay was unsure how to respond, but he eventually figured out how to use the flawed tournament setup to OpTic’s advantage.

The OpTic star decided to trick the enemy team with fake calls, where he would tell his teammates to go A, but yell that they were going B to throw their opponents off.

Masters Reykjavik 2022 main stage
Credit: Riot Games

Tarik also pointed out the similarities between the Masters Reykjavik tournament setup and early esports LAN events where teams played close to one another, which allowed them to play mind games with each other during their matches.

“It’s unacceptable. I’m sure you guys let the admins know, but the fact that it wasn’t even accounted for ahead of time was unbelievable,” said tarik.

It remains to be seen whether Riot Games will look for a bigger venue to host teams at the next Masters event. Another solution would be to isolate teams in individual booths, which might become especially important as Valorant looks toward LAN events with live audiences in the future.

Some coaches also criticized the coaching setup at Masters Reykjavik, where they could not stay on stage with their teams and had to move into a different room during the game.

OpTic coach Chet “Chet” Singh shared that coaches were placed two floors down from the stage during the group stage and most of the playoffs. This resulted in certain issues, like the coaches being unable to see their team’s body language during matches.

Team coaches eventually returned to the stage in the final three days of the tournament.

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