Valorant patch 4.08 introduces a change to 5-stack RR gain that may help combat smurfing, at least within certain ranks. Most 5-stacks will now only have a 25 percent RR penalty at maximum, compared to up to 75 percent before.
The change is designed to better serve players who want to 5-stack with friends, non-5-stack queues, and even the smaller pool of players at higher ranks, according to Jonathan “EvrMoar” Walker, Senior Competitive Designer on Valorant.
This means that the vast majority of the player base will also have less reason to use a smurf account to play with lower-ranked friends on account of a reduced RR gain.
How the new 5-stack system works in Valorant patch 4.08
In patch 4.08, players ranked between Iron and Diamond 2 will have no RR penalty if everyone is within three ranks of each other. If you are Gold 3, this means that everyone in your party needs to be either between Silver 3 and Gold 3, or Gold 3 and Platinum 3.
The 25 percent RR penalty applies when any player falls outside this grouping, such as when a Platinum 3 is playing with a Silver 3.
If anyone in your party is ranked between Diamond 3 and Immortal 3, your group will also receive a 25 percent penalty. But if someone is Radiant, everyone will then be hit by a 75 percent penalty.
“We felt comfortable making this change because our data showed that we can make extremely fair matches for 5-stacks. So even if you have a wide skill disparity our matchmaker is making fair matches, which lets us reduce that penalty,” explained EvrMoar.
Some players expressed concern that the new system would create a new backdoor for boosted accounts, but Riot says it will be watching closely and taking in feedback to tweak the system if necessary.
On top of that, improvements have been made to reduce waiting time for 5-stacks. The matchmaking system tries to match teams with a similar average MMR to give each team a 50 percent chance of winning. If it cannot find a match, it begins to look for matches outside of that range, with a cap on how far it can go.
“We can make adjustments to how fast it moves to certain ranges, or how long it waits at them, you just need to make data-informed decisions. So once we knew how long specific groups need to find a match, and what range they need, we can adjust to get to those spots quicker,” EvrMoar shared.
You can read the full notes for Valorant patch 4.08 here.