Tournament operator Nerd Street Gamers, known for their involvement in the VALORANT scene by hosting weekly events and partnering with organizations such as FaZe Clan and T1 to run larger tournaments, have announced that they are partnering with Riot to host the first leg of Champions Tour events in North America.
The first open qualifiers are set to kick off on January 27th, running until the 31st. February 4th-7th will be the first closed qualifier round, or Challenger event. The matches will then continue in pairs of open qualifiers and Challenger events, with the second round running from February 10th-21st and the third from February 24th-March 7th. North America’s first Masters event will be held from March 13th-21st.
Exact details are scarce, but it is likely the event will be run in a similar setup to Korea’s recently announced first leg. That format has 8 teams making it through to each Challenger event, with different setups for open qualifiers based on whether 32, 48, or 64 teams register. In Challenger events, 8 teams are sorted into 2 groups of four, playing best-of-2 matches in a single round robin. In the first Challenger round, the top 2 teams from each group get a bye to the second, and in the second, the top 2 of each group qualify for Masters and the bottom two of each group get a bye to Challengers #3. Finally, in this last round, the top two teams of each group join the top 2 from Challengers #2 in Masters.
“Since the launch of VALORANT, Nerd Street Gamers has been a strong supporter of competitive VALORANT in North America. We are confident that the 2021 Champions Tour will help elevate North American teams to the next level. With various VALORANT tournaments under their belt, Nerd Street Gamers was a strong choice to partner with for the first stage of the Champions Tour. We’re excited to continue our partnership with Nerd Street Gamers and continue to build the esports ecosystem together,” Chris Greeley, Director of Esports at Riot Games, said in the official announcement.
We’ll soon have over a full month of top-tier North American gameplay to enjoy, thanks to what has been one of the most dedicated tournament organizations in the VALORANT space. Things kick off in just over a week, on the 27th, so get ready!