Split will be removed from the map pool in Unrated and Competitive queues at the start of Valorant Episode 5 Act 1, Riot Games announced Thursday.
There is no date set for its return to Unrated and Competitive. Split will still be available in Spike Rush, custom games and other game modes.
Why is Split Being Removed from Valorant?
As announced with a developer blog post alongside its 5.0 Patch Notes release, the main reason Riot Games decided to remove Split from full-length settings is that it wanted to preserve its 7-map pool for tournament best-of-5's while adding Pearl into the mix.
"Last year," Riot map design lead Joe Lansford wrote, "we were really excited to get to seven maps because it meant tournament best-of-5’s could have two map bans without any repeat picks. This year though, we’ll be at eight maps with the launch of Pearl in Episode 5. So what’s that mean for our map pool?
"After working with our esports team, surveying players and talking to professional organizations we’ve decided to keep a 7-map pool and will be rotating Split out for now."
Lansford explained how having seven maps in the competitive rotation "is a nice sweet spot that offers both variety and mastery." This, in theory, will allow players to know where they should prioritize sharpening their angles, lineups and strategies no matter how many maps Riot introduces down the line.
In regards to why the outlier map will not remain in Unrated at least, the answer Lansford presented was, "It can feel like wasted time when you’re playing a map you know you’ll never see in Competitive."
Ultimately, Split found itself as the outlier in what Lansford stressed was a decision that didn't have all that much to do with the Tokyo-based map itself.
"We promise we are not picking on Split," Lansford wrote. "We looked at a bunch of different factors when making this decision. Player sentiment, time since release, past and future planned updates, what the map brings in terms of strategic variance, as well as where Pearl fits into all of it (to name a few).
"When we plugged all those numbers into the magic algorithm machine, we landed on Split. We’re pretty sure it will be back sometime in the future though. Maybe even with some tweaks?"
Competitive and VCT Logistics
When Episode 5 Act 1 and Patch 5.0 roll out on June 22, ranked will see a temporary 6-map pool until Pearl enters the Competitive queue on July 12.
As has been the case with previous map launches in Valorant, this is because the underwater, Portuguese map will first be introduced with a Pearl-only Unrated queue that will give players a chance to practice on it.
For the 2022 Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) slate, Split will exit the map rotation at esports events after the Last Chance Qualifiers (LCQ) in August.
Pearl will be integrated into Riot's official map pool for LCQ and Valorant Champions.
For more on Valorant, be sure to check out our 2022 VCT Stage 1: Masters Reykjavík content:
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- VCT Pros Explain What the Best Map is in Valorant
- VCT Pros Reveal What the Worst Map is in Valorant