The Valorant Champions Tour is in its final stage. Riot’s official professional circuit is practically over for most teams, and we’re barely in the second half of August. So what’s next?
Valorant Champions Tour and beyond
The Valorant Champions Tour has given the new yet bustling Valorant scene a taste of how great the game’s potential for being a top-tier esport can be. With the game barely over a year old, Riot’s first-person shooter has undoubtedly caught the attention of the global esports community.
Riot’s introduction of Valorant’s official professional circuit, the Valorant Champions Tour, leaves a lot to be desired. Yes, there has been a ton of action with incredible moments that stretch the game’s competitive limits, but for the most part, fans of Valorant esports are always left wanting more each VCT weekend.
The trouble with the VCT format
For the most part, each VCT stage has a Masters or its international stage. To get to Masters, you have to qualify for its seeding tournaments first. This is done through one of the VCT Challengers events. While the VCT format is relatively easy to understand, sustaining a team throughout the whole tour is a herculean task.
Outside the Valorant Champions Tour, there aren’t many local or international Valorant events that come close in terms of production or prestige. We foresee this as a significant issue for the Valorant community as Stage 3 is inching closer to its culminating event, Masters Berlin.
Leaving fans hanging and hungry
The Valorant Champions Tour is essentially a series of qualifiers that allow teams to rack up points to make it to Masters events hopefully, and eventually Valorant Champions. When a team fails to qualify for Challengers or Masters, they would have to wait several weeks or months to get back into the VCT for another shot at qualifying.
Fans of tier-one teams in the VCT have it worse. The best teams only play in the VCT and nothing else. Take, for example, 100 Thieves. The team just secured a trip to Masters Berlin, which is excellent. However, if we look at the team’s match history, we can see that 100T only plays in the VCT.
This means that they only play for a single weekend in a month, two if they qualify for the main stage of a Challengers Series event, and that’s about it.
Spotlight: post-Valorant Champions Tour Stage 3
With that said, Stage 3 is coming to a close, with each region finalizing their representatives for Masters Berlin as of writing. The only other tournaments on the VCT schedule are the Last Chance Qualifiers and Valorant Champions.
Sufficient to say, there seems to be a lack of opportunities for teams that have ended their VCT season to compete from now (mid-August) to the end of the year. That’s roughly a five-month absence of competitive Valorant at the highest level.
Tournament organizers to the rescue
This so-called “off-season” for Valorant is a pivotal time for the whole community. Fans of the game will be left hanging, and organizations might find it challenging to reconcile keeping their roster on the payroll when there is practically half a year of nothing significant to play for.
Alternatively, this may also be the perfect time for grassroots or local tournament organizers to take the forefront of the Valorant scene in their local markets. In North America, Nerdstreet Gamers and Pittsburgh Knights have established themselves as reliable vehicles for competition in both lower-tier and top-tier organizations. In Europe, the LVP Rising circuit and the Valorant Open Tour France have provided great alternatives for high-level Valorant.