Following the Riot Games' recent announcement of its extensive plans for the global scene, professional VALORANT through the VCT is expected to be fun for a long time.
Riot will establish a new Challengers ecosystem that supports tier-two and tier-one VALORANT in 2023, and that will provide opportunities for teams to compete in the top-tier international leagues beginning in 2023.
Riot has long-term ambitions for VALORANT in mind? Lets go through each level.
VCT five-year roadmap
The top tier of competitive VALORANT will be formed into three international leagues, one for the Americas, EMEA, and Asia, respectively, with the best teams from each region competing against each other at international tournaments such as Masters and Champions. Partnered teams will receive salary stipends from Riot and will be able to collaborate on unique in-game activities and partnerships.
The partnered teams will begin to be supplemented by the Challengers Ascension tournament winners, which form the final stage of the Challengers league system in 2024 (more on that below). Teams who qualify via Ascension will earn a two-year promotion into their respective international league and will return to Challengers after the two-year period.
The best team from each regions Ascension tournament from the year earlier will be promoted into the international league in 2024 and 2025. Starting in 2026, two teams per year will be promoted from Ascension. So starting in 2023, there will be 10 teams per international league, and that will go up by one each year until 2027 when it caps at 14 teams.
Challengers will be transformed into an expansive tier-two ecosystem with worldwide weekly competition and the opportunity to qualify for the international league in 2023. There will be a total of 21 regional Challengers circuits across the world, including a domestic competition for North America, Brazil, Korea, Japan, and many other countries.
The Challenger Leagues will begin with open qualifiers and move the best teams into two multi-week regular season league matches. At the end of the Challengers Leagues, the best teams from the leagues will compete in the Ascension series: three tournaments that will honor the best Challengers teams from the Americas, EMEA, and Asia.
As previously mentioned, the top two teams from each of the 2025 Ascension tournaments and so on will both qualify for the international leagues for a two-year period.
According to Whalen Rozelle, the original intentions for the Riot Games VCT Challengers scene in 2023 were rapidly expanded due to the overwhelming demand from teams to compete in the VALORANT.
Riot stated in its most recent statement that it believes that the path to Champions should start directly within VALORANT. The team has been developing an in-game competitive/tournament system that goes beyond the ranked.
The team has huge ambitions for this in-game system, and maybe as early as 2024, the top teams from these in-game events will be eligible for Challengers Leagues. This will be done through a bridge of make-or-break moments where the lowest ranked Challenger teams will have to defend their spot against the latest batch of online superstars.
Before the end of the year, more information on this in-game system will be shared.