Everyone who touched VALORANT from the very first moment was encouraged by Riot Games’ commitment to growing an esports scene similar to the international success achieved by League of Legends. In June, the studio revealed their Ignition Series program, and it amplified the competitive scene’s exposure and showed promise on what it can reach.
Once these were over, September came along and it brought with it the First Strike tournaments, acting as “an official Riot-partner program where we spotlight a few tournaments each week, help discover talented players, and build global recognition for top VALORANT pros and teams.” It helped us discover extremely talented teams in every region, and give opportunity for smaller teams to prove themselves against the bigger names in the scene.
This time around, Riot Games are going all-in on their plans for 2021, and it is nothing short of impressive and motivating to any competitive VALORANT fan or player. The studio revealed the VALORANT Champions Tour, a season-long competition tour set to take place throughout 2021. The global tour will feature competitions in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia, and will crown a single global Champion at the end of the year, similar to League of Legends’ Worlds international competition.
The VALORANT Champions Tour will feature three levels of competition: Challengers, Masters, and Champions. Teams begin their journey by first playing in regional Challenger events, before advancing to international Masters events. The Challenger tournaments will give everyone a chance to compete and earn their spot at Masters events.
At the end of each of these open qualification Challengers tournaments, the top four placing teams get to move on to the Challenger Final right away, bypassing the next event. However, the first iteration of the event will only see the top four progress to Weekend 2 directly without having to go through the Open Qualifiers again. The top performing teams in the Challenger Final progress into the following Masters event.
There will be a total of three Masters events spread out throughout 2021, with a Challenger tournament held before each one to determine its participants. During the Masters competitions, top performing teams will accumulate points which will count towards qualification for the Champions event. This final stage will feature the top sixteen teams in the world and will crown a single global champion.
Each one of the aforementioned eligible regions will have a dedicated number of slots available for them at the VALORANT Champions competition. Understandably, North America and Europe will have the most representatives with three, followed by Brazil and SEA with two spots.
The sixteen participants are formed from those who accumulate the most points during the three Masters competition. However, the third Masters winner is granted direct qualification and there are Last Chance Qualifier spots for each region.
The latter will be held following the conclusion of Masters 3, kicking off the action some time in October. The Champions Last Chance Qualifier tournament gives the opportunity to any team to make it to the international stage if they prove their worth and defeat everyone along their path.
For the first time in VALORANT esports, we will get to know who is the true champion between every region. This will finally give us a taste of what international VALORANT looks like, and an introduction to how each region fares against the other. Each region holds a distinctive playing style, and it will surely be an unforgettable competition.
Red Bull and Secret Lab will be the two initial founding partners, committing to the VALORANT Champions Tour and the First Strike tournaments. Both of them are already heavily involved in Riot Games’ League of Legends competitions, and will play a vital role in growing VALORANT from its foundational years.
What do you think of Riot Games’ plans for the VALORANT competitive esports scene in 2021? How much do you wish some of these tournaments are held as a LAN? Let us know your thoughts in the comments down below!