As of 2023, VALORANT esports has entered a new era, but before the international leagues have begun and the partnered teams begin to play, the action is already underway across global Challengers leagues that make up a robust tier-two ecosystem.
North America is one of the most exciting Challengers regions in terms of player talent depth and high-profile organizational involvement. Twelve teams stacked with talent make up the NA VALORANT Challengers League, which will compete in two splits of round-robin group stage play, culminating in do-or-die playoffs that determine who goes to Ascension.
After week one, the action has already begun to go at an all-time high, with some outstanding performances from the top teams and a handful of potential breakout stars already making appearances.
Here are some highlights from the NA VALORANT Challengers' first week of the 2023 season.
NA VALORANT Challengers 2023's top plays
Francis "OXY" Hoang provided the most attention this first week, putting him in a major role in G2's victory against FaZe to start the season. G2 was able to come back to life on Icebox thanks to this play from OXY.
After an audacious zipline, FaZe forced up Stingers, and Dicey tried to use his Cascade wall to get the ultimate orb in front of the A site. But Rossy was exposed by a Recon Dart, and while OXY did well to eliminate him quickly, the real highlight was the unreal transfer onto babybay.
Will Cheng was praised by the MAD Lions organization and was actively involved in the selection process for the former Dark Ratio players to the group. In their opening match against TSM, the former 100T duelist demonstrated what the hype was all about.
Will faced a one-versus-three post-plant scenario in the pistol round. He cleverly used his Blast Pack to deter a second opponent before repositioning. He also underhand tossed his grenades.
Oxygen was aiming to bring the series to a map three when they had a man advantage and weapon advantage in one of the toughest rounds before BreakThru duelist Tyler "sym" Porter took the stage.
Because of Verno's Guardian, Oxygen transformed a four-vs-five retake into a three-vs-one retake, and Sym shot the Yoru clone, making up for it, hugging the wall on B, getting a nice flick on randySAVAGE, and saving his team from what was almost a catastrophe.
Challengers in NA VALORANT will resume on week two, starting on Wednesday, February 8.