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Photo by Colin Young-Wolff via Riot Games

Riot introduces global tier 2 VALORANT Challengers ecosystem with VCT promotion opportunities

A true path to pro materializes.

After months of waiting and concern from VALORANT fans and organizations around the world, Riot Games has finally revealed its expansive plans for the tier-two system of the VALORANT Champions Tour that begins in 2023, including a legitimate path to tier one.

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The global tier-two system will be known as Challengers and will consist of 21 different regional circuits throughout the Americas, EMEA, and APAC. This will include circuits for North America, Brazil, Korea, Japan, and several others, including the regional leagues that have been operating in EMEA over the 2022 season.

Image via Riot Games

The Challengers leagues will begin with open qualifiers and will “ladder the best teams into two splits of multi-week regular season play,” similar to the format of Challengers events that took place in 2022.

Teams that compete in Challengers leagues will have the opportunity each year to earn a spot in the international tier-one leagues. The best teams from Challengers will advance to Challengers Ascension tournaments, one for each of three international regions (Americas, EMEA, and Asia). The winners of Challengers Ascension will qualify for the following year’s international league.

Image via Riot Games

Teams who win Challengers Ascension will earn a two-year promotion into their region’s international league. Promoted teams will receive the same league benefits and have the same opportunity to qualify for international events such as Masters and Champions. After two years, teams will return to their Challengers league and will have to qualify for the international league again through Challengers and Ascension.

Riot is also still planning to implement a true path-to-pro system via “an in-game competitive system that goes beyond Ranked.” Potentially beginning in 2024, the top teams that emerge from this prospective system will get a chance to directly qualify from the game into the Challengers leagues, likely in the form of do-or-die relegation matches against the lowest ranked Challengers teams.

More information on international leagues, global events, and partnered teams will be shared in the coming weeks.

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Image of Scott Robertson
Scott Robertson
VALORANT lead staff writer, also covering CS:GO, FPS games, other titles, and the wider esports industry. Watching and writing esports since 2014. Previously wrote for Dexerto, Upcomer, Splyce, and somehow MySpace. Jack of all games, master of none.