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June 20, 2022

VALORANT Split removed from Competitive and Unranked Queue

With the introduction of Pearl, VALORANT now has eight unique maps. Riot intends to keep the competitive map pool at seven maps total and plans to have VALORANT Split removed from active duty. Joe “Pearl Hogbash” Lansford on the VALORANT Maps design team explained in further detail why a seven-map pool will be standardized.

[Related: VALORANT Pearl Revealed as Next Map]

Pearl In, Split Out

Discussions with the esports team, professional organizations and players have resulted in the decision for a seven map pool. Riot considered a number of different factors before settling on Split to be removed from the active rotation. Current player sentiment, time since release, and past and future planned updates were all considered in the decision. The map team also considered the strategic value and variance Pearl brought, resulting in the decision to remove Split.

"The team thinks seven is a nice sweet spot that offers both variety and mastery," says Lansford. The level designer remarked that having more maps in the standard pool can overwhelm new players alongside the number of agents and utility to understand. A limit of seven maps allows for an easier onboarding experience for introducing to a new audience. Experienced players and pro teams benefit from practicing executes and strategies on a more condensed map pool, benefiting all parties.

Competitive implications

Split will be removed from the Competitive and Unrated map queues on Patch 5.0, set to be released on June 22. There is no set date on Split's return to active duty. The current map pool will stay at six until Pearl's debut on July 12, Patch 5.01. Split will still be available in Spike Rush, Escalation, custom games and other game modes.

For the VALORANT Champions Tour, Split will exit the map rotation after the August Last Chance Qualifiers for each region. Pearl takes Split's place at Champions events afterwards, raising the map pool back to the intended seven. Lansford explains, "We wanted to make sure that players had ample time to practice Pearl before integrating it into our official map pool for Champions."

[Related: Riot announces Game Changers Championship Berlin]

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