The professional Valorant esports scene is about to get a lot more structured. Today, developer Riot Games announced its plans for competitive Valorant in 2021, and it includes a new global tournament series that will see teams play in regional competitions before making their way up to play the best in the world. Riot calls it the Valorant Champions Tour.
While no specific competitions or dates have been announced yet, the competition is divided into three tiers. There are regional “challengers” events, and the best teams from these will move on to three different “masters” competitions, which will serve as the qualifying round for the final global championship event where 16 teams will compete. Riot says tournaments will take place in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia.
The structure sounds similar to League of Legends, also from Riot, which has professional leagues across various regions, and the top teams qualify for the prestigious World Championship at the end of the year. “We’ve spent a couple of years now talking to players, teams, fans, prospective partners, and other stakeholders, and we’re extremely excited to launch our first official season,” Riot’s senior director of esports Whalen Rozelle said in a statement. “Our focus will be on elevating and showcasing the creative and talented players who are shaping this game across the globe.”
Ever since its launch in June (and even before), the potential for Valorant as the next big competitive game has been clear. The game combines the tactical shooter elements of Counter-Strike and the colorful characters of Overwatch, and it has managed to lure top players from both games. The esports scene has grown fairly slowly, however, starting with team-run events over the summer. The first Riot-managed event is slated to take place from December 3rd–8th, with the First Strike tournament, featuring eight teams competing for a pool of $100,000.