Riot Games has just announced their plans for Valorant esports in 2021, ahead of First Strike regional finals.
For 2021, Riot Games is introducing Valorant Champions Tour, a new competitive structure that will span across all regions and offer a platform for all players who want to compete and show their skill.
Throughout the whole year, players will compete for a chance to earn a spot at the prestigious Valorant Champions tournament, where a global Valorant champion will be crowned for the very first time.
Here's how the Valorant Champions Tour works.
Valorant Champions Tour regions and slots
The competition will be divided into seven regions, similarly to how League of Legends works, but with a much smaller number of regions at the beginning.
Based on the number of players and other factors, each region will have a different number of slots at major international events.
Valorant competitive esports scene is divided into these regions:
- North America (includes Oceania)
- Europe, Middle East, and Africa (includes CIS, Turkey, and MENA)
- Latin America
- South-East Asia
Valorant Champions Tour structure
Tour will give anyone a chance to go from grassroots to global fame (Picture: Riot Games)
The Valorant Champions Tour is split into three ranks of competition: Challengers, Masters, and Champions.
- Challengers are the lowest level and are focused on regional competition. They will be organised in collaboration with well-established tournament operators, some of them who have already worked on Ignition Series events and First Strike qualifiers.
- Masters are the next step. Masters will be much larger, international events and the most important seasonal tournaments. There will be three masters during 2021 and will feature teams who represent the best players from their regions.
- Finally, the very best players and teams from all regions will compete at Valorant Champions, the biggest event of the year, where top 16 teams will battle for a title of the first Valorant global Champion.
Valorant Champions Tour Timeline
The calendar is planned so that teams can recuperate properly (Picture: Riot Games)
The season starts in February 2021, with a series of online Challengers in all regions, followed by Valorant Masters tournaments in March 2021.
The cycle will repeat in May and June, and then during the summer once again. Riot is making sure for players to have enough time to recharge their batteries, so the calendar is planned with enough free time in mind.
In October, teams will have one last chance to earn their spot at Valorant Champions, and then December is reserved for the final event of the year, Valorant Champions.
How do Valorant Challengers work?
Anyone can register and play at the Open Qualifiers(Picture: Riot Games)
Valorant Challengers are the lowest level of competition in Valorant Champions Tour and are designed so that anyone can compete at them.
They are regional events with open qualifications, and they serve as qualifiers for Masters.
Three times a year (before each Master) there will be three Challenger tournaments for each region.
Teams earn their sport at Challenger tournaments through open qualifiers (one before each Challenger) and the best teams will compete at the Challenger Final, where they will try to ear a sport at Masters.
Not every region has the same number of slots, and they are split as follows:
- North America (and OCE) - Top 3 teams
- Europe - Top 4 teams
- Brazil - Top 2 teams
- Korea - Top 2 teams
- Japan - Top 2 teams
- South-East Asia - Top 2 teams
- Latin America - Winner of Valorant Challengers Final
What is Valorant Masters?
Valorant Masters are the biggest seasonal events of the Valorant Champions Tour and are the first stage of international play in Valorant.
For each Masters, 16 of the best teams from all the represented regions will compete for a hefty prize pool and a chance to earn points that will count towards qualification into Valorant Champions.
The team who wins the last Masters event of the year will automatically earn qualification into Champions and an additional team slot at the event for their region
Specific details regarding the point distribution will be shared at a later date.
What is Valorant Champions?
The system is designed so that all regions will have representatives at the final event of the year (Picture: Riot Games)
Valorant Champions is the biggest and most important event of the year. It is Valorant's end-of-year world championship.
The top 16 teams across all regions will fight to decide who will be the first Valorant global Champion.
To earn a spot, teams will have to perform well throughout the whole year, particularly at the Masters events, which earn points for Valorant Champions.
Teams with the most Masters points, 11 of them, will be invited directly to the Valorant Champions event, as well as the winner of the last Masters of the year.
After the third Masters event, a series of Last Chance Qualifiers will give teams one final opportunity to qualify into Champions.
Last Chance Qualifiers are split into North America, Europe, South America, and Asia-Pacific tournaments, and one team per continent will qualify into Champions.
Valorant Champions slots are distributed as follows
- North America (and OCE): 4 slots
- Europe (+ CIS, Turkey, and MENAI): 4 slots
- Brazil: 2 slots + possibly 1 more through LCQ
- Latin America: 1 slot + possibly 1 more through LCQ
- Japan: 1 slot + possibly 1 more through LCQ
- South-East Asia: 2 slots + possibly 1 more through LCQ
- Korea: 1 slot + possibly 1 more through LCQ
- Masters 3 Winner: Direct invite
The Valorant Champions Tour is set to kick-off in February 2021 with the start of Valorant Challengers Season 1 for all regions.