Valorant's Vanguard anticheat is killing CPU coolers on startup

Nick J. May 3, 2020

When Valorant was announced, developer Riot Games revealed that it would come bundled with a new anti-cheat so strong that it would be almost impossible to cheat inside the popular new first-person shooter. In addition to preventing cheaters from ruining gamer's nights, however, it seems like Vanguard's anti-cheat is working a little too well.

Citing stories from accross Reddit, Twitter, and even here on WIN.gg's test build, Valorant's Vanguard anti-cheat system is killing the driver processes of several popular brands of CPU cooler, leaving users scrambling to turn their coolers on manually and shutdown Vanguard before their CPUs get too toasty for comfort.

One popular model of cooler affected is the Corsair 115i, and older but stalwart model known for its reliability under heavy loads. The software that powers the the older 115i models is called Corsair Link 4, and Vanguard is not pleased with it, telling users that it blocked the program from running on startup.

Vanguard keeps Corsair coolers from doing their jobs

An exploit for Corsair Link4 was found last year that could allow a local user, meaning a user in the same room as the computer running the software, to use a loophole to inject code or cheats into programs running on the system. Vanguard apparently knows this, and won't let the program start on startup, killing the software without requesting permissions from the user. If Vanguard was squashing random programs, people would probably be less concerned. But since Corsair Link makes sure gamer's expensive CPUs don't overheat, many are frustrated with Riot's lack of response. This includes hardware manufacturer Corsair.

"We’re very much aware of this matter – Valorant’s aggressive anti-cheat is causing a number of issues with third party software... We’re working on a fix with the CPUID team and are focused on resolving this issue ASAP," Corsair head of public relations Harry Butler said to WIN.gg.

The third-party software Butler refers to is CPUID, a system monitoring program that allows Corsair Link to measure the temperature of a user's CPU and adjust case fans and pumps accordingly. Other companies' products that rely on CPUID have also be flagged by Valorant, including NZXT. There are even more reports of Vanguard giving users the infamous "blue screen of death." Thankfully, Riot introduced a way to disable Vanguard when Valorant isn't running in this weekends patch. But for those dealing with hot CPUs, it's not much comfort.

Riot Games did not respond to a request for comment.

Vanguard does seem to be doing a good job of detecting cheats, as former Overwatch pro player Daniel "dafran" Francesca found during a late-night stream of Riot's new FPS.