VALORANT Champions Tour 2021 guide: Schedule, results, moments

The VALORANT Champions Tour is Riot Games’ first official attempt at a global circuit for stoking competitive VALORANT. Spawned out of the early success of the First Strike events, the Champions Tour is a year-long circuit of regional competition culminating in a Champions event to crown the first world champion.

For all things VALORANT Champions Tour, including the circuit structure, participating teams, scheduling, notable moments and more, we’ve created a comprehensive guide to keep you informed.

VALORANT Champions Tour format

The VALORANT Champions Tour will begin with the Challenger series of events, regional tournaments with an open qualification system. There will be three sets of Challenger events with three weekends each. The open qualifiers will produce eight teams to compete each weekend. The top four teams from the first weekend will bypass the open qualifiers for the second weekend. The top four from the second weekend will advance to the Challenger Final while the bottom four bypass the third weekend’s qualifiers. Finally, the top four from the third weekend will also advance to the Challenger Final.

The Challenger Final determines which teams will represent their regions at one of just three Master events. Here’s the regional distribution of the 16 Masters teams:

  • Three teams from North America (Oceanic teams will have qualifications through NA)
  • Four teams from Europe (CIS, Turkey, and Middle East/North Africa teams will have qualifications through EU)
  • Two teams from Brazil
  • Two teams from Korea
  • Two teams from Japan
  • Two teams from Southeast Asia
  • One team from Latin America
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Teams who compete in the three Masters events will earn points towards qualifying to the world championship event, Champions. Additionally, the team that wins the final Masters event will qualify directly for Champions regardless of their points total. After that final Masters event, four Last Chance qualifiers will produce the final four teams for Champions. Here’s the regional distribution of Champions teams:

  • Three teams from North America: two via circuit points and one via Last Chance Qualifier (Oceanic teams will have qualifications through NA)
  • Three teams from Europe: two via circuit points and one via Last Chance Qualifier (CIS, Turkey, and Middle East/North Africa teams will have qualifications through EU)
  • Two teams from Brazil via circuit points
  • One team from Latin America via circuit points
  • One team from Japan via circuit points
  • Two teams from Southeast Asia via circuit points
  • One team from Korea via circuit points
  • One team from Brazil-Latin America Last Chance qualifier
  • One team from Japan-Southeast Asia-Korea Last Chance qualifier
  • The winner of the Masters 3 event
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While the esports team at Riot Games hasn’t given any specific details on the tournament format for specific events, it refers to the Champions event as its own “version of [LoL] Worlds.” Will it proceed with a double-round robin group stage? Or will it go with a format that allows for more best-of-threes? We will update when this information becomes available.

VALORANT Champions Tour schedule

The full schedule for the entire VALORANT Champions Tour is still tentative, but we do know that the first Challengers events will take place at the end of January and the beginning of February.

The first Challenger stage will have staggered start dates across all regions. Latin America Challengers starts on Jan. 26, Brazil and Korea begin on Jan. 30, North America runs from Feb. 3 to 7, Europe starts on Feb. 4, Southeast Asia begins on Feb. 5, and the CIS region kicks off Feb. 11. The dates for Japan and the Middle East/North Africa region have yet to be announced.

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VALORANT Champions Tour teams to watch

The beauty of the open qualifier system is that virtually any team, whether they’re a familiar face or a complete unknown, has a chance to make it as far as the wins can carry them. That being said, there are a number of dangerous teams that have been on fire as of late and would consider anything less than contention at Champions as a disappointment.

The big three from North America are TSM, Sentinels, and 100 Thieves. TSM and Sentinels had a fierce rivalry during the Ignition Series, trading wins with each other in head-to-heads and splitting all the trophies. Many expected a grand finals match between the two at First Strike, but the revamped 100T roster shocked everyone by beating both teams en route to becoming the first North American champions.

The results at First Strike Europe were equally, if not more surprising. G2 Esports were expected to appear in the finals, if not win the whole tournament, but fell in the semifinals to Team Heretics. Heretics ended up winning the event after defeating unsigned SUMN FC in the grand finals. SUMN FC are a team worth watching just because they would fetch a high price from a suiting organization, and both Heretics and G2 will hope to make lengthy VCT runs.

In the East, two teams absolutely dominate their respective regions. JUPITER Gaming and Vision Strikers were the consensus number one teams in Japan and Korea respectively before First Strike. Then both teams won their respective First Strike events, making their claims undeniable.

Once the Champions Tour gets underway, we’ll add a regional standings that we will consistently update.

VALORANT Champions Tour roster change tracker

We’ll be tracking the major roster changes before and throughout the VALORANT Champions Tour. Our tracker begins at the beginning of December, when First Strike ended.

January 2021

  • Jan. 18: G2 Esports adds Zeek.
  • Jan. 16: Giants Gaming signs Orgless core of Happy, Boo, pipsoN, and hoody, as well as Meddo (former FPX). They also bench Fit1nho and donQ.
  • Jan. 14: XSET signs BcJ.
  • Jan. 13: XSET releases Brando.
  • Jan. 12: TenZ steps down from Cloud9’s active roster.
  • Jan. 9: NRG Esports releases KOLER.
  • Jan. 4: Immortals release jmoh and neptune.
    • FunPlus Phoenix signs dimasick.

December 2020

  • Dec. 26: Gen.G Esports benches PLAYER1.
  • Dec. 22: Ninjas in Pyjamas signs Ex6TenZ.
  • Dec. 18: G2 Esports benches davidp.
  • Dec. 17: Ninjas in Pyjamas signs Jady, extend CREA and rhyme’s contracts, and part ways with Sayf and luckeRRR.
  • Dec. 12: Equinox Esports releases Dcop.
  • Dec. 11: Cloud9 parts ways with shinobi.
  • Dec. 8: FunPlus Phoenix releases Meddo.

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