How does the Valorant anti-cheat work?

No one likes a cheater, but have you ever wondered how Valorant stops them? Here is exactly how the Valorant Vanguard anti cheat works!

Updated on Oct 19, 2023
Fact checked by Eddie Lemon |
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How does the Valorant anti-cheat work?

Playing Valorant is a lot of fun, until you come up against a Jett or Reyna main who flicks onto your head every second, and just seems to know exactly where you are. These cheats ruins the competitive integrity of the game, but luckily, we have a way to deal with cheat developers and users - Vanguard anti cheat.

Riot Games announced their anti cheat software with the release of Valorant. This is the Vanguard anti cheat client.

What is Valorant’s anti cheat, Vanguard?


Vanguard anti cheat is automatically installed on your computer or laptop when Valorant is downloaded. Vanguard needed to be installed and open to launch the game. It also required you to restart your PC! The aim was to create an operating system to detect anyone using cheats to gain an unfair advantage and stop any cheaters from ruining our games!

With over 1.7 million people watching Valorant on Twitch during its closed beta, hoping for keys to drop, they were unpleasantly surprised with the automatic download of an extra software. This was Vanguard anti cheat.

How does Vanguard work?


Riot Games have created a way to prevent traditional cheats and cheaters, such as wall hacks. This is called the fog of war system. It means that enemy agents don’t exist until they do. This sounds weird, but stick with us.

Essentially it means that if an enemy doesn’t exist until they either appear either in-game or on your minimap. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t there, as it is possible to wall bang enemies, however. It does mean that cheaters’ software can’t detect them.

This has been a big issue in another big Esports FPS game, CS2 (CSGO). The fog of war system prevents wall hacks from being used!

Other methods are put into place for stopping cheaters, such some players banned actually receiving hardware bans! This hardware ban will stop any cheater from playing Valorant on their PC, regardless of account!

Why all the controversy surrounding Vanguard?


The Valorant anti cheat, Vanguard is an anti cheat software with kernel access. What this means is that Valorant’s anti cheat was installed in the depths of users’ computers! This meant not only was Vanguard booted up automatically when turning on your PC, there was no way to disable this, regardless of if you were playing the game or not!

At the time if you wanted to play Valorant, you had to have Vanguard active, and if you uninstalled it, you wouldn’t be playing the game until you downloaded the software again! Many players believed that a kernel level anti cheat system would be a high level security risk, with their data being at risk! Whilst this was never confirmed, reports from Riot Games claim that players’ data was never accessible by Vanguard.

The new and improved Vanguard anti cheat system


Riot Games claims that they have drastically improved the controversial Vanguard driver, with it becoming an easy anti cheat software to deal with. Although you still need to have the Vanguard driver up and running if you want to launch the game, you can now uninstall Vanguard, which at one point was impossible!

Do I need the Vanguard anti cheat system?


The short answer is, yes. Other anti cheat software, whilst optional to install, is active in games with a much higher population of cheaters. Riot Games and Paul Chamberlain the Vanguard anti cheat lead, reports that the Valorant anti cheat has an all time low amount of players banned at 0.3%. 

This is far lower than other popular Esports games, such as League of Legends, Apex Legends, and CS2 (CSGO)! Even though League of Legends is also made by Riot Games, it doesn’t have any anti cheat programs near the Vanguard anti cheat system. Perhaps this is something for the future, and in the future, you League of Legends players who claim to have been killed by a Kassadin with cheats will have your minds put to rest!

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