Valorant Controversy at SEA Games 2023: Indonesia and Singapore Tie for Gold
In the end, it worked out in favor of all the competing teams.
Multiple esports titles are being played as medal events in the ongoing 32nd Southeast Asian Games which is hosted in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The event featuring Valorant concluded earlier today on 11th May following a controversial grand final match between Indonesia and Singapore.
A lot of commotion was triggered due to an alleged Cypher camera bug (Spycam) used by Singapore on Split against Indonesia. After hours of discussion, it was announced by Frengky Ong - Secretary General of the Indonesian Esports Central Board (PBESI) that both teams would receive a joint gold medal.
Additionally, the bronze medal was also shared between Philippines and Vietnam, despite the former having won the best-of-three series fair and square by a 2-0 scoreline.
Valorant at SEA Games 2023: Indonesia and Singapore share gold medal, Philippines and Vietnam share bronze medal
In a rare occurrence, there were no silver medals awarded during the Valorant event held as part of the 32nd SEA Games. This is because the two finalists were declared as joint gold medal winners and both teams fighting for the third place were declared as joint bronze medal winners.
All this was due to a controversial Cypher spycam setup on Split which had the community divided and resulted in the final result being delayed by more than 18 hours.
During the grand final between Indonesia and Singapore, a controversy struck during the second map, Split, where the legality of multiple Cypher camera setups used by Singapore was called into question.
Singapore had already won the first map of the best-of-three series, Ascent, which was its own pick. It registered a comfortable 13-8 win displaying a well-rounded attack and defense.
Going into the second map Split which was Indonesia's map pick. The team was trailing by four rounds during the halftime mark and just two rounds into the second half a technical pause ensued.
At this point, the score was 10-4 in favor of Singapore and it was during the timeout that a complaint was formally registered by Indonesia against Singapore's use of an allegedly bugged Cypher camera.
From this point on multiple demands were made and after a delay of more than 18 hours which extended the conclusion date of the Valorant event from 10th May to 11th May. A decision was taken by the PBESI to declare a shared gold medal win for both Singapore and Indonesia.
Tidus "STYRON" Goh is a professional Valorant player for Enigma Gaming who was also a part of Singapore's national team for the SEA Games 2023. Following this controversy, he made a detailed post to explain the situation from his point of view and here are a few important things that he spoke about.
According to STYRON, a technical pause was called by Indonesia after the score reached 10-4 on Split. After about 20 minutes, they were informed about a complaint that was filed against them for using a Cypher camera when the score was 9-4 (14th round).
STYRON says that the spycam used by them was quite common and was legal in multiple VCT (Valorant Champions Tour) events. However, they respect the tournament organizer's decision to roll back and play the 14th round again.
However, 30 minutes later another issue was raised by Indonesia, once again flagging a Cypher camera setup used by Ingram "FREY" Tan from Singapore when the score was 5-3 (9th round).
Here, STYRON argues that the spycam used by them is different from the one that gets bugged as it cannot turn all the way towards the attacker spawn.
To this point, Indonesia countered that they had privately messaged the tournament organizer's regarding certain Cypher camera setups that cannot be used on the map and this was one of them. Unfortunately, this information was never shared with Singapore and was not even featured in either the rule book or the exploit list.
STYRON further says that according to the rulebook, the penalty depends on the impact a particular bug had on the round. As it turns out, it was Indonesia who had won the 9th round or when the score was 5-3.
The teams then allegedly just sat around from 19:00 (07:00 PM) on 10th May to 12:51 (12:51 AM) on 11th May. After this, the decision by the tournament organizer and SEA Games (technical officers) was that the map would restart from the 14th round or when the score was 9-4.
Singapore agreed to this decision whereas Indonesia was given an hour to enter the lobby by 01:51 AM. Instead of the map starting, more protests took place demanding another decision. Another two hours were granted to them by the SEA Games jury to make their final decision.
Around 04:00 AM, Singapore was informed that a decision had been taken to replay the map from the 9th round onwards or when the score was 5-3. But as they had used spycam which went against the rules twice, a penalty would be incurred and they would start from the 11th round onwards with a score of 5-5.
Teams went back to their hotel around 04:30 AM and came back to the stage at 08:00 AM. About 50 minutes later, Singapore received the news that Indonesia had decided to forfeit the series to uphold its national dignity, demanding Singapore to give up the second map.
This was followed by the Singapore team simply waiting from 9:00 to 11:00 AM for the medal ceremony to take place. Instead, they received another proposal to make a choice between two final outcomes, either share the gold medal with Indonesia or be stuck in Cambodia for another week awaiting the final result of the dispute.
In the end both teams ended up splitting the gold medal victory. However, Singapore had to deal with quite a lot according to the instances of the incident shared by STYRON.
If this recollection of what transpired is to be believed it seems as though Indonesia had quite the influence at the event, leaving Singapore with no option rather than to just accept any outcome thrown their way and move on.
In conclusion, STYRON mentions that they had just three female managers where as the Indonesian contingent had their whole council and committee protesting. All said and done, he was proud of what they managed to achieve after only getting a day's worth of practice before the tournament.