Valorant developer Riot Games has today revealed the full extent of its ambitious plans for the 2023 Valorant Champions Tour ecosystem, introducing a revamped Challengers system to offer more teams an avenue to top level play in the process. With 21 regional circuits coming into play across the Americas, EMEA, and Pacific regions, there’s going to be plenty to look forward to over the next calendar year and beyond.
“Throughout the past few months, the overwhelming demand from teams to compete in the Valorant esports ecosystem led us to expand our plans for VCT Challengers,” says Riot’s head of esports operations Whalen Rozelle. “A strong Challenger ecosystem is a key part of Valorant esports’ long term success and we believe connecting every level of the pyramid is the best way to give aspiring stars the chance to shine and teams to participate in meaningful high stakes competitions.”
Riot is certainly planning for the long term, as the studio is set to expand each of the three International Leagues at the top of its competitive pyramid by one team each year until 2027, capping off at 14 per-league. Over the past months, organisations all over the world have been attempting to cement their place in Riot’s exclusive partnership program, and with it a spot in these prestigious leagues.
However, for those that don’t quite make the cut, there’s hope. From next year, Challenger leagues within each of the three regions will “culminate in a new event series – Challengers Ascension.” Teams which win these tournaments will move up into the International Leagues for two years, before returning to the Challengers system to duke it out all over again. This seems to ensure that not only will partnered teams remain the jewels of the VCT crown, but there will also be opportunities for other organisations to shine on the game’s biggest stages.
Of course, teams who make it into the International Leagues via Challengers Ascension will also become eligible for certain perks, and will receive “similar league benefits” to their established competitors, as well as the chance to qualify for those all-important global events like Masters and Champions.
With a solid five-year plan in place, Riot’s intentions for Valorant’s long term future are crystal clear. As the game continues to grow in popularity, we can’t wait to see what kind of impact its strategy will have on everything from the Valorant ranks to the very top of its competitive scene.