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Original Reporting

Editor’s note: This story was updated to reflect Riot postponing the NA LCQ matches on Thursday, Oct. 14.

After multiple players on FaZe Clan’s VALORANT team tested positive for COVID-19, the North American Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) has been delayed until further notice. Players and casters have been sent back to their hotel near the University of Southern California, where they are waiting further instruction from Riot Games.

“The health and safety of all involved with LCQ is our greatest priority,” Riot Games said in a statement. “After receiving multiple conflicting test results, in an abundance of caution, we have decided to pause competition for today while we evaluate how to safely resume to LCQ.”

Riot Games Statement on cancelling Thursday's LCQ NA games
Provided by Riot Games

Riot then decided to postpone the matches scheduled for Thursday as well. “We have decided to postpone Thursday’s matches as we continue working to implement solutions that will allow the LCQ to continue safely and without compromising competitive integrity,” Riot said in a second statement. “We will update the community as additional information becomes available.”

VALORANT LCQ Delayed in North America

Riot NA LCQ Official Statement on postponing the tournament until further notice
Riot’s Statement following LCQ’s postponement | Provided by Riot Games

The Last Chance Qualifier was meant to begin on Wednesday with a match between Rise and FaZe at 3:30 p.m. ET. Multiple members of FaZe Clan tested positive and were moved to the hotel to compete from their rooms. Members of the opposing team, Rise, complained about that arrangement. FaZe Clan would play with their high-end PCs while Rise would be stuck with lower-end rigs at the event venue.

The stream was then put on hold before Riot announced that the tournament would be delayed until further notice.

“I just wanted to play, whether on stage or in the hotel,” said FaZe player Shane “Rawkus” Flaherty on stream at his hotel. “Just an unfortunate circumstance nobody can control.”

Players have expressed frustration on social media, saying that they tested negative shortly after the initial positive test. LA County COVID-19 restrictions don’t differentiate between positives and false positives, meaning Riot Games still has to isolate the effected parties, inform staff members who may have been exposed and investigate the situation.

“Twitter is making LCQ sound like the worst event ever when in reality it would’ve ran perfectly if nobody had gotten false positive on their rapid tests,” XSET player Brendan “BcJ” Jensen wrote in a tweet. “They are doing their best to manage it but there is a point where they hear our message and are doing their best to fix it.”

Aron Garst looks at esports from a different point of view by tackling the ways games are molded and broken by players around the world. He covers Call of Duty, Fortnite, Super Smash Bros, and everything else for Upcomer. You can read his previous work at WIRED, Rolling Stone, ESPN and elsewhere. Rise up red sea.
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