The VALORANT Champions Tour is the official competitive circuit for VALORANT esports in 2021. The VCT takes place throughout the year with the tour culminating at the VALORANT Champions tournament in December. Read on to find out more about the VCT.
What is the VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT)
The VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT), is the official tournament circuit supported by Riot Games in 2021. The VCT is the spiritual successor of the VALORANT Ignition series and VALORANT First Strike, however, unlike the two events in the past, the VCT is a year round circuit of tournaments split into three levels and four stages.
The tour is split into Challengers and Masters tournaments with a single, end of year Champions tournament that will feature teams from different regions clashing to claim the title of best VALORANT team in the world. Due to the on-going pandemic, Challengers and Masters events are projected to take place online and regionally, with the Champions tournament envisioned to be a LAN event if the situation allows for it.
VALORANT Champions Tour format and structure
As a year long circuit, the VCT splits the year into four stages. Three of those stages will feature a Challengers and Masters event while the last stage is exclusively the Champions event.
Here are the projected dates for each stage:
- Stage 1: Challengers (January - February) & Masters (March - April)
- Stage 2: Challengers (April - May) & Masters (June)
- Stage 3: Challengers (July - August) & Masters (September - October)
- Stage 4: Champions (November - December)
The VALORANT Champions Tour consists of three levels of competition: Challengers, Masters and Champions.
Challengers is a regional tournament with online, open qualifiers that enable any team that meets the minimum requirement of each player being 16 or over and has achieved a rank of Immortal 1 or higher during registration, to participate. Professional teams like Team SoloMid, Sentinels, 100 Thieves and others will have to participate in the Challengers to qualify for the higher tier Masters tournament.
The top teams from the Challengers will earn qualification into the Masters tournament and those that finish in the top 4 will bypass the open qualifier for the following Challengers tournament if they participate. Each stage of Challengers will take place over the course of six weeks, broken down into three tournaments: Open qualifiers, Challengers Weekend and Challenger Finals.
Masters tournaments are considered larger than their Challengers counterpart with the 16 best teams from a region competing for prizes and points that contribute to their qualification to the Champions tournament at the end of the year. The winner of the Stage 3 Masters tournament will earn automatic qualification into the Champions tournament.
The VALORANT Champions tournament is the most prestigious event in the VALORANT esports calendar and is considered the World Championship of the game. In total there will be 16 teams from around the world participating in Champions, 11 teams earn qualification through points accrued at Masters events, one team earns qualification by winning the Stage 3 Masters event and the last four teams earn a spot through the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) tournament. Champions will take place over two weeks and will crown the best team in the world.
Who are the teams to watch in the VCT?
While the VCT has yet to get fully underway, the VALORANT Ignition series and First Strike tournaments have provided a good benchmark of the teams expected to be competitive going into 2021. First Strike champions, 100 Thieves (North America), Team Heretics (Europe), Absolute Jupiter (Japan), Vision Strikers (South Korea) and the 14 other champions in the various regions around the world will be among favourites when they participate in the VCT.
The two most competitive regions in the VCT will undoubtedly be North America and Europe, as both regions are home to multiple world-class teams such as G2 Esports (EU), FunPlus Phoenix (EU), Team SoloMid (NA) and Sentinels (NA). Competition is expected to be particularly fierce amongst the top teams because each region will only have three qualification spots available for the Champions tournament at the end of the year.
Want a detailed break-down of the top five teams in VALORANT? Check out our VALORANT Power Rankings.
Which teams will qualify for the VALORANT Champions tournament?
Based on prevailing performance, current rankings and slots available to each region, these are the teams that are projected to qualify for the VALORANT Champions tournament:
- 100 Thieves
- Team SoloMid
- G2 Esports
- Team Heretics
- FunPlus Phoenix
- Pain Gaming
- Estral Esports
- Lazer Klan
- Absolute Jupiter
- Vision Strikers
- Team nxl>
- ahq e-Sports Club
As mentioned above, these team are a projection and aren't representative of final participants at the VALORANT Champions tournament in December 2021.