After just a month of VALORANT Champions Tour action, the European region has a lot to look forward to.
Eight teams will square off in the first regional Masters event in just a matter of days. Additionally, the first international VALORANT LAN will be held in Europe when Masters Two takes place in Reykjavik, Iceland in May.
Many fans and analysts are having trouble looking ahead to Masters Two, though, when a change to the EU Challengers format needs to be addressed first. But Daniel Ringland, the head of VALORANT esports for Europe & MENA, confirmed that the European VALORANT team is “absolutely” considering changes to the format for Challengers.
“We want our local challengers to create engaging storylines fans can get excited about and to foster the best players that take on the world and win,” Ringland told Dot Esports. “This will take iteration as the ecosystem develops and evolves. I think it’s important we have robust regional tournaments that create an ecosystem where our best get better. I also think we need to simplify our structure so the journey is easier to follow and get excited about.”
Ringland is also excited about how far Europe has come so far, especially when it comes to the trend of unsigned teams going on huge runs before getting signed.
“Europe has a lot of talent and a lot of teams looking for talent,” he said. “As these parties come together, we’re going to have some powerful contenders on the international stage.”
Throughout First Strike and Challengers, the performances from teams like SUMN FC and Monkey Business led to these rosters getting signed by bigger orgs, like Fnatic and OG, respectively. Additionally, teams represented by smaller organizations have made a splash. DfuseTeam, Ballista, and Raise Your Edge have all qualified for Masters, shining a light on lesser-known orgs.
These teams have taken advantage of a European format that better suits “underdog” teams since the closed qualifier for Challengers only requires a team to win one series to advance. This has left some big names, such as G2 Esports, Team Liquid, Fnatic, and OG, out of the first Masters event, thus leading to questions about changing the format before Masters Two.
Looking ahead to Masters Two in Iceland, Ringland seems unfazed by the challenges of running the first VALORANT LAN during a pandemic.
“[It’s] nothing the team hasn’t been able to overcome,” he said. “The ever-present challenge in the world we live in today is that we all need to be prepared to change our plans.”
Masters One begins on March 12 and will split the eight teams into two GSL groups. The top two teams from each group will advance to a single-elimination playoff bracket. $150,000 is on the line, as well as a plethora of VCT Circuit Points that will be pivotal to qualifying for Champions.