The Structure of the VALORANT Champions Tour
Riot Games has announced the 2021 VALORANT Champions Tour, which serves a road map for the future of VALORANT esports. Starting in late January after the First Strike finals, the first tournament will take place. VALORANT’s competitive system will have three tiers: Challengers, Masters, and Champions.
Challengers will act as an open qualifier into the high tiers, focused on regional competition with 8 teams battling for Masters slots.
Masters will be much larger LAN events, currently regionally as well but looking to transition to international, that will feature 16 teams. Both tournaments will award points that count toward qualification into the final Champions tournament. Along with this is the Last Chance Qualifier for Champions, which qualifies an extra team for each region.
What Riot is Doing Right
This announcement answered the question of what the future of VALORANT esports will look like. Though currently, it has only been invitationals and small circuit competitions, Riot has taken the reigns of the scene with First Strike, and it appears like they have no intention of letting go.
Ultimately, this system has many benefits. First, it’s similar to what is already in place for First Strike, so audiences won’t have to relearn the format. Second, allowing highly ranked teams to qualify for Masters automatically prevents player burnout we’ve seen in other esports. Third, automatically putting the first-place team from the last Masters into Champions and the winners of the Last Chance Qualifiers ensures that the hottest teams are competing in what will be considered the most prestigious tournament.
With the VALORANT Champions Tour, Riot is setting up the game to be the premier FPS in the esports market. It will have a highly thought out and structured circuit. Indeed, problems will occur as they already have with regional qualifiers for First Strike. However, it will be interesting to see how this circuit works and if Riot decides to stick with it for the future.
If you’re interested in the growth of Esports, check out our article on the growing League of Legends scene and what it means for the industry.