Explore the inner workings and controversies of Riot Games' anti-cheat system, Riot Vanguard.

All You Need to Know About Riot Games Vanguard

Maintaining a fair and cheat-free environment is paramount in competitive online gaming. Riot Games, known for its viral game VALORANT and League of Legends, has developed a robust anti-cheat system named Riot Vanguard. 

Since its inception, Vanguard has been praised for its effectiveness and scrutinized for its intrusive nature. Here's an in-depth look at what Vanguard is, how it works, its controversies, and its overall effectiveness.

The Necessity of Advanced Anti-Cheat Systems

Cheating has plagued online gaming, transforming it into a significant challenge for game developers. Studies indicate that up to 30% of players in online games engage in cheating, particularly in first-person shooters (FPS), which undermines the integrity and competitiveness of these games. Despite various anti-cheat systems, cheaters and developers continually evolve, making it necessary for game developers to develop more sophisticated solutions.

What is Riot Vanguard?

Riot Vanguard is Riot Games' proprietary anti-cheat software to protect VALORANT's competitive integrity. It is distinctive due to its kernel-level access, which allows it to monitor and prevent cheating more effectively than many other anti-cheat programs. 

This level of access means that Vanguard operates with significant control over the system, starting up with Windows and running continuously in the background, even when VALORANT is not being played.

How Does Riot Vanguard Work?

Riot Vanguard employs an AI-based system combined with a kernel-mode driver to detect and prevent cheating. The kernel-mode driver runs at the deepest level of the operating system, providing it with comprehensive oversight of both software and hardware operations. 

This allows Vanguard to identify and block cheats more effectively and discover new cheating methods. When suspicious activity or confirmed cheating is detected, Riot Vanguard can issue bans ranging from 90-120 days to permanent bans. Moreover, it can identify and block specific hardware, preventing cheaters from creating new accounts to bypass bans.

Impact of Riot Vanguard on Valorant Services

Vanguard is designed to detect unusual patterns and behaviours associated with account sharing by analyzing gameplay data and identifying inconsistencies, flagging accounts that are likely being boosted. 

The effectiveness of Vanguard in identifying boosting activities has significant implications for the game service industry. Websites and companies that offer Valorant services will likely face challenges; however, to what extent is hard to say.

Controversies Surrounding Riot Vanguard

Vanguard's kernel-level access has sparked significant controversy and concern among players. Here are some key points of contention:

  1. Intrusiveness and Privacy Concerns: Players have expressed unease about Vanguard's level of access to their systems. Fears about personal data collection and potential misuse, such as mining cryptocurrencies, were prevalent when Vanguard was first released. Riot Games has repeatedly assured players that Vanguard does not collect personal data and adheres to strict privacy policies.
  2. Comparison with Other Anti-Cheat Systems: Unlike other anti-cheat programs that activate only when the game runs, Vanguard starts with Windows and maintains constant vigilance. While effective in preventing cheats, this level of control is seen by many as excessive.
  3. Blocking Legitimate Software: Initially, Vanguard blocked several legitimate programs, such as temperature monitors and fan controllers, which led to issues like system overheating. Riot has since reduced the number of blocked programs and now prefers non-invasive solutions.

Effectiveness of Riot Vanguard

Despite the controversies, Riot Vanguard is highly effective in combating cheating. It utilizes a combination of behavioural analysis, machine learning algorithms, and heuristics to detect cheats in real-time. Statistics from 2020 revealed that 97% of players had never received a single cheating report, highlighting Vanguard's efficacy.

Installing and Uninstalling Riot Vanguard

Riot Vanguard is bundled with the VALORANT installation package and requires Secure Boot and TPM (Trusted Platform Module) to be enabled in the system BIOS. It can be uninstalled through the system tray icon or the Windows settings or reinstalled via the Riot Client.

Riot Vanguard: Player Reactions and Community Feedback

The introduction of Riot Vanguard has elicited a wide range of reactions from the gaming community. While many players appreciate Riot Games' commitment to maintaining a cheat-free environment, others are concerned about the software's potential overreach.

  1. Positive Reactions: Players who have experienced rampant cheating in other games often express relief at Vanguard's effectiveness. The reduction in cheaters enhances their gaming experience, allowing for fairer competition.
  2. Adverse Reactions: Conversely, Vanguard's kernel-level access and always-on nature have led to privacy concerns. Some players are uncomfortable with software that runs continuously and has deep system access, even if Riot Games ensures its safety.


Riot Vanguard represents a significant step forward in the fight against cheating in online gaming. Its innovative approach and effectiveness have made it one of the leading anti-cheat systems in the industry. However, its intrusive nature and the controversies it has sparked highlight the delicate balance between maintaining game integrity and respecting user privacy. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.