It’s safe to say that we’ve seen some ambitious, leftfield, and often completely ridiculous formats when it comes to esports tournaments and competitions. Sometimes, when there’s so many stages, brackets, regions, qualification methods, and points systems, you just need someone to lay at all out for you in simple terms.
Well, the Valorant Champions Tour appears to be one of those competitions that needs some explaining. While it is certainly not the most complicated out there in terms of its format and structure, its year-long duration, open qualifiers, and regional tournaments have left people a little confused as to how it all works.
So, we’re here to try and help explain all the elements of the Valorant Champions Tour and show you how even the humblest of amateur Valorant teams could, technically, become a world champion. This is the Valorant Champions Tour – explained.
Valorant Champions Tour format
In a nutshell, the Valorant Champions tour is an 11-month-long competitive structure that is open to anyone ranked Immortal 1 or higher in the Valorant ranks.
The Valorant Champions Tour’s format consists of three different levels of tournament: Challengers, Masters, and Champions.
Challengers are regional open qualifiers, where teams compete for not only prize money but spots at Masters events.
Masters events are essentially majors, which in normal circumstances would be international LAN tournaments. However, due to the pandemic, they are currently regional online tournaments. Nevertheless, they’re still very important, as teams who make it to Masters compete for bigger prize pools and VCT Points. VCT Points are used to qualify for Champions.
Champions is the climax of the entire season, with only the best from each region being able to attend. It will have a big prize pot and one team will be crowned Valorant world champion by the end of it.
While the majority of teams will qualify for Champions based on their VCT Points total, there will also be last chance qualifiers in some regions, where the winners can book themselves a Champions place.
Below is the rough schedule of the 2021 Valorant Champions Tour.
As you can see above, the VCT is split into four stages. Stages 1-3 each hold three Challengers and a Masters, while Stage 4 includes the last chance qualifiers for Champions, and Champions itself.
Valorant Champions Tour regions
For online competition, there are 11 regions in the Valorant Champions Tour. For international offline events, some regions are combined to create a total of seven regions.
Below is a full list of VCT regions. Regions that are rolled into larger regions for international events will have that shown in brackets.
- North America
- Europe (part of EMEA)
- CIS (part of EMEA)
- Turkey (part of EMEA)
- Middle East and North Africa (part of EMEA)
- Southeast Asia
- Latin America South (part of LATAM)
- Latin America North (part of LATAM)
Valorant Champions Tour qualification
Qualification to each level of the Valorant Champions Tour can be a little confusing, so we’ll try to break it down for you.
VCT Challengers qualification
To qualify for Challengers, you have to grind your way through open qualifiers. These are available to any player Immortal 1 or over. For most Challengers events, the top four teams from the previous Challengers tournament will auto-qualify and skip these online qualifiers. The remaining four spots are occupied by the top four teams in the open qualifier.
VCT Masters qualification
Spots at regional Masters tournaments are currently given to the top four teams from the second and third Challengers event of that stage. For example, Stage 1 Masters will contain the top four from Stage 1 Challengers 2, and the top four from Stage 1 Challengers 3.
This means that, in their current online form, each region’s Masters event will feature eight teams.
This will change, however, if they eventually become international LAN tournaments, as they should be in a COVID-less world. International Masters events will feature 16 teams, with varying allocations of spots for each region.
VCT Champions qualification
There will be a number of methods to qualify for Valorant Champions at the end of the year.
The main way is to have the most VCT Points in your region. VCT Points are earned through performances at Masters events. The higher you place, the more points you get.
There will be certain allocations of teams coming from each region. For example, NA has two spots at Champions allocated for it via VCT Points, so the top two NA teams in terms of their points tally will qualify.
The second way to qualify is through last chance qualifiers, which will take place in the weeks leading up to Champions. Here, the teams who just missed the cut in terms of VCT Points will compete for four spots at Champions. Here is how the last chance qualifier spots are divided up:
- North America: 1
- EMEA (Europe, CIS, Turkey, and MENA): 1
- South America (Brazil, LATAM North, LATAM South): 1
- Asia (Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia): 1
Finally, there is a place reserved for the winner of the Stage 3 Masters – but this rule will only apply if it is an international LAN. If Stage 3 Masters is an offline regional event, it is currently unclear how that spot will be filled.
Valorant Champions Tour prize pool
Riot is yet to announce the total amount of prize money on offer throughout the entire Valorant Champions Tour, but it’s going to likely surpass $2 million.
Challengers and Masters tournaments have varying prize pots, depending on the size of the region. NA and Europe events boast the biggest prize pools.
Challengers events can have prize pools of up to $50,000, and Masters events can climb as high as $150,000. Over the course of the 2021 VCT, there will be nine Challengers events and three Masters events, so lots of opportunities to cash in on these prize pools.
There will likely be a massive prize pot for Champions at the end of the year, but we don’t know how high it’ll be just yet.