Here's Why NAVI Was Penalized at Valorant Champions 2023
The World Championship of Valorant esports – Valorant Champions 2023 – is currently underway with the group stage and we have already witnessed some exciting action from the tournament. Many of the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) teams are already on their back foot. Natus Vincere (NAVI) and Team Liquid will soon be playing the Decider match and the Elimination match, respectively, and their backs are against the wall. Interestingly, NAVI was penalized during the Group D Winners’ match against DRX on 7th August and this has been the talk of the town in the Valorant community.
Here’s all we know about why NAVI was penalized and was given one less timeout during the series against DRX.
What happened in the series between NAVI and DRX?
EMEA team NAVI was penalized with the loss of a timeout due to one of its players allegedly using Snus at Valorant Champions 2023. NAVI head coach Erik “d00mbr0s” Sandgren revealed that the team was penalized during the first map of the series due to the usage of a banned substance on stage. In a now-deleted tweet, d00mbr0s said NAVI had to lose one of their valued timeouts since in-game leader (IGL) Kyrylo “ANGE1” Karasov was seen on the official broadcast placing a small pouch under his upper lip. This reportedly prompted immediate action and punishment from Riot Games officials.
In the official Valorant Champions Tour 2023 Competition Ruleset, under the heading "Venue, Competition Area Layout, and Schedule," Riot Games has specified numerous consumable restrictions.
Notably, under 3.3.5, Riot Games specified that drinks are permitted in the Match Area only in League Entity-approved resealable containers. It also added that chewing gum is permitted.
However, it added, "Tobacco and other nicotine products are prohibited in the Match Area."
What is Snus? Why is it prohibited by Riot Games?
Snus is a popular form of tobacco used in Europe and other places. It is an alternative to cigarettes and those who use it tuck the Snus, or the pouch filled with powdered tobacco behind their upper lip, while going about their routine. Snus or Swedish Snus is a moist form of smokeless tobacco and does not need to spat out.
Since the product contains tobacco it is automatically prohibited in the Match Area and with ANGE1 using it on stage, it resulted in a penalty.
Interestingly, many pro players in the community reacted to the penalty against NAVI.
Team Liquid player Saif "Sayf" Jibraeel tweeted, "If you snus you get disqualified. Time to quit my addiction, FROM THIS DAY ONWARDS I WILL BE SNUS FREE."
To this tweet, NRG coach Chet Singh commented, "What about cigarettes I have about three packs for tomorrow."
Notably, NAVI's next match will be against the winner of the Team Liquid vs LOUD matchup in the Eliminator on 12th August. The winner of this decider match will be the last team to make it out of Group D.