Vanguard in League of Legends explained cover image

Vanguard in League of Legends explained

Find out when the Riot anti-cheat Vanguard is coming to League of Legends, or if you should be afraid to have Vanguard on LoL.

Riot Games has finally revealed when their Vanguard anti-cheat is going live for League of Legends players. LoL cheaters, count your days.

When (and why) is Vanguard coming to LoL?

A recent dev blog by Riot Games revealed that Vanguard will hit League of Legends players this year. Good news for VALORANT players though: "if you have it for VALORANT you have it for LoL." If you're on Windows 10, you also would not need Windows 11 for this, but note that Vanguard requires some BIOS-specific settings.

Linux players, however, are all out of luck. Yes, all 800 of you.

Riot K3O went into more detail as to when Vanguard will go live for LoL players. For players in the Philippines server, this is Patch 14.8, scheduled for April 17, 2024. The rest of the world will be one patch behind on the anti-cheat, receiving it on Patch 14.9, scheduled for May 1, 2024.

Vanguard is an anti-cheat, and its primary purpose in LoL is to prevent cheaters. However, it can offer more to the whole ecosystem. Botting will be more difficult, and getting banned in LoL by Vanguard can no longer be bypassed by buying another account.

"With its device fingerprinting, Vanguard also gives us a renewed opportunity to sink teeth into boosting, smurfing, and account compromise," explains the devblog. "We'll be able to revoke rewards boosters didn't deserve, get smurfs to their proper rating faster, and maybe even invalidate 'unfair' premades."

What is Vanguard?

Vanguard isn't a new software by any means. VALORANT players will recognize it as Riot's proprietary kernel-level anti-cheat and the one that the shooter game released with. It's the anti-cheat that VALORANT players have to thank for the hardware ID bans that cheaters are getting.

According to Riot Games, 30 people are now working on Vanguard. This is a stark increase from the three that they began with back in 2014.

The "kernel-level" portion of Vanguard is the one that has the LoL player base pressed. This caused worry before and is also the reason for the scares that LoL players can see in social media and forums. Riot Games head of anti-cheat and self-proclaimed anti-cheat artisan with 85 million bans under his name Phil "mirageofpenguins" Koskinas took to a FAQ section on the devblog to appease these worries once more.

Is Vanguard spyware? mirageofpenguins briefly answered "No," and took a potshot against fearmongers who say this to be the case. "I'm sure those words in that exact order are mathematically the fastest way to farm retweets," says mirageofpenguins. "Content algorithms everywhere are programmatically addicted to the clicks the words 'spyware' or 'rootkit' can generate."

If you still feel your privacy is being breached, you can simply exit Vanguard by right-clicking it on your system tray. Note that if you want to play LoL or VALORANT, you would have to reboot your PC.

Should you be afraid of Vanguard?

This is a question you need to answer for yourself. Riot has iterated time and again that they only use kernel-level access and your data to give you a better experience, but at the end of the day, it's all up to personal comfort.

"We get it, and we 100% respect your decision [if you're personally incompatible with Vanguard]. Hopefully one day soon, the platforms our games run on will offer developers the security features required to prevent cheating without necessitating extracurricular software," says mirageofpenguins.

"However, if your beef is only about data privacy at Riot, running the game client or running Vanguard makes not one bit of difference. Data can still be retrieved from user-mode, and we're all engineers for the same studio with the same goals, none of which are collecting your personal information."

"If Riot hasn't earned your trust, do not run our software," he closes.

We highly recommend you read the whole Vanguard x LoL devblog to aid your conclusion.

Vanguard will go live in LoL in Patch 14.8 (April 17, 2024) for the Philippine server and Patch 14.9 (May 1, 2024) for the rest of the Riot servers.