The VALORANT community's interests have been firmly centered on the future of the tier-two scene, and Riot credits teams' desire to compete as the reason.
The overwhelming interest from teams to participate in the VALORANT esports ecosystem has motivated us to develop our VCT Challengers plans, according to Whalen Rozelle, the director of Riot's esports division. We believe that connecting every level of the pyramid is the finest way to help promising stars shine and teams compete in meaningful high stakes events.
Riot has just disclosed important information regarding its expanded Challenger ecosystem, which will encompass 21 regional circuits across the world, including in North America, Brazil, Korea, Japan, and throughout the Americas, EMEA, and Asia.
Challengers teams will be selected by open qualifiers over two weeks of regular season play, with the top teams advancing to a new event series called Ascension. The winners of the Ascension tournaments for Americas, EMEA, and Asia will earn a two-year promotion to their respective international leagues starting in 2024.
Beginning in 2026, two teams from each region will rise to their respective international league.
Many VALORANT members were concerned about the games' long-term viability when little to no public information about the tier-two system was released. Fans were also concerned about limiting the international league size to just 10 or 12 teams, saying it would be detrimental given the amount of talent and interested organizations. Riot has now revealed that the number of teams will reach 14 by 2027.
Several organizations, at least in North America, have already departed or are reconsidering their investments in VALORANT as a result.
After todays news, it's unclear whether or not these teams will do a 180 on VALORANT, but a tier-two situation with its own dedicated broadcast window and opportunities to compete at the highest level is certain to entice organizations that were previously hesitant about competing.