Riot Games is now letting friends play Compatitive together in Valorant, regardless of their rank, but with heavy penalties.
Premade parties, or stacks, are groups of people who go into a match together, as opposed to going at it solo and letting the matchmaking decide who ends up on your team. This is fantastic for people who want to play with their friends but horrendous for the solo players who end up playing against strong stacks.
Valorant initially limited the negative effects of this phenomenon by introducing a limitation on rank disparity between party members but patch 3.10 is doing away with this system. Instead, everyone will be able to queue up together for Competitive, regardless of their rank, but this will carry penalties based on rank disparity between the party members.
For example, if the lowest-ranked party member is in Bronze and the highest in Platinum, this will translate to 75 per cent reduction of RR gains. If the party has a Diamond 3 or a player that ranks higher, the penalties can go up to 90 per cent. These reductions are in place to prevent boosting of players with weaker skills past the point where they would peak on their own.
Furthermore, 5-stacks will only be matched against other full parties and it will be against the ones with similar collective MMR. As a result, 5-stacks can expect increased queue times as it will be harder to find teams that come with five players but are roughly similar to each other.
While the 5-stack improvements are taking place, Riot Games are removing the 4-stack option because it often results in toxicity towards the solo player.