Premier is exactly what competitive Valorant needs right now

How Riot built the new Premier mode in Valorant to weed out most of the smurfs and cheats from ranked and recreate the FPS's ultracompetitive environment.

A group of soldiers all stand side by side, covered in shadow.

Valorant developers are quick to tackle bugs, and I love that. But let’s not pretend that ranked is the same as it was a few months ago. The FPS game‘s increasing popularity comes with a bigger playerbase and more malicious actors, which means more smurfs, cheaters, and trolls. I no longer feel tempted to get up from bed and play Valorant in the middle of the night. That happened a lot back in 2021. But Valorant ranked is just not the same now, in 2023.

Premier, Valorant’s new competitive mode, convinced me to log back in, and the experience was absolutely refreshing. It’s safe to say that Premier sets a standard that closely aligns with the aspirations of Valorant’s ranked players.

“Hell yeah. I cannot even look at ranked anymore. Premier is all I wanna do,” one player says in a community discussion.

Out with the old, in with the Premier

Since Riot announced Premier, I have noticed more friends online teaming up for serious competition. Premier has fewer to no hackers, smurfs are filtered out, and the end goal is worth the sleepless nights. I’m not the most competitive, but Premier has reignited the drive to compete among serious Valorant players, and it’s honestly a treat to watch.

YouTube Thumbnail

Valorant Premier is a game-changer, not just because it comes with a bigger reward: a road to VCT. Sure, it helps, but ranked players want a healthy gaming experience more than anything, which Premier offers.

Part of the reason Valorant’s hype declined was that full-stacks could only queue if they were OK with losing a chunk of Rant Rating for their Valorant Ranks. It ultimately marked the end of all-nighters in which the full squad would race for the next rank. It’s a whole culture in FPS, which eventually died down in Valorant.

But many Valorant players are returning solely for Premier because it’s clean, competitive, and captivating. It brings back memories of old-school FPS, with a bigger reward attached.

Valorant Premier removes rank bindings, restricting players from competing at a higher level with friends. In Premier, players are divided into divisions based on the MMR of the top five players in a team. For example, I can queue with my bronze friend and over-achiever Ascendant at the same time while being a Platinum. Now imagine playing in a team of your best friends with equally skilled players, no hackers or smurfs. It’s an absolute pipe dream.

A woman with white hair tied back into a ponytail whips around to face her attacker.

“Real Valorant” is back with Premier

Due to the cut-throat nature of Premier, you won’t get shamed for try-harding. Instead, a Premier lobby is reminiscent of CSGO Faceit, where stakes are high and there is no space for trolls. A lobby where a casual joke during a game could upset your over-competitive friend who wants everyone wholly invested in the game. That’s the kind of environment I’m talking about. Hell, players have even started calling it “real Valorant.”

Instead of barging into the site, Premier forces players to communicate, coordinate, and strategize. It gives a semblance of what it feels like to be a pro, motivating players to perform better. Valorant ranked, conversely, has become all about the climb, by hook or by crook. This hunger for the red badge causes players to opt for unfair shortcuts, which players can’t do in Premier even if they tried.

Premier mode in Valorant is an exclusive club reserved for those willing to link their accounts with a phone number. Meaning if you’re not verified, there’s no space for you in Premier. This rule alone has sifted out more than half of the riffraff from the competitive ranks of Valorant.

Simply, Premier has roped my friends and me back into Valorant’s wild, cut-throat world. Not just that, it has also provided Riot with the ultimate recipe to spice up its ranked queues too. So, hopefully, Valorant ranked will be great again someday.

If you’re still suffering in ranked, read up on what Valorant Premier mode is and why it’s worth competing. It’s possible to enjoy Valorant without running into smurfs and no-mic menaces; check out our Valorant tier list to pick the best agents when doing so.