Valorant First Strike: Riot announce global esports tournament - Dexerto

Valorant First Strike: Riot announce global esports tournament

Published: 23/Sep/2020 16:00

by Andy Williams


Riot Games are making the next step towards evolving Valorant esports with First Strike — a Riot-produced global tournament designed to recognize the best teams in their region.

As part of growing an organic esports ecosystem for Valorant, Riot tested the water with the Ignition Series of events. After an incredibly successful global campaign — in which over 20 premier event organizers dished out over $572,000 in prize money — Riot have decided to take the next step towards making Valorant esports the best in its class.

On September 23, Riot Games announced First Strike: a Valorant tournament organized and operated by Riot themselves. The global event will provide opportunities for players from around the world to quite literally rise through the ranks in a bid to be crowned regional champions.

So what’s the mission? Riot are looking to leverage Valorant esports and build on the momentum from the Ignition Series, as we continue to see Valorant grow at an exponential rate. First Strike will be the perfect stepping stone and will provide a foundation which Riot can build upon for years to come.

Riot Games' First Strike Valorant tournament.
Riot Games
Valorant’s First Strike is a step in the right direction for the shooter’s rapidly growing esports scene.

How will Valorant First Strike work?

First Strike will be a global set of tournaments, composed of regional finals taking place around the world (regions listed below). A series of merit-based qualifiers will draw to a close at Riot-produced regional finals in December — where the top eight teams within each domain will battle it out to be crowned their region’s First Strike champions.

Who can enter First Strike events?

Players aged 16 and above who have earned a rank of Immortal 1 will be eligible to compete in the qualifiers. So time to grind and get your roster of players together!

When do First Strike qualifiers start?

Regional qualifiers will begin in the second half of October (dates, rules, and policies to be confirmed). These events will be run by premier esports organizations within each region.

Valorant player shooting Jett on Ascent.
Riot Games
First Strike will showcase who’s truly the best team in each region, via Riot’s merit-based qualifying system.

Which regions are taking part in First Strike?

  • North America.
  • Europe.
  • CIS.
  • Turkey.
  • Asia.
  • Oceania.
  • Brazil.
  • Middle-East.

When are the First Strike regional finals?

Eight teams will meet in each region’s finals between December 3-6.

Will First Strike be online or offline?

Due to the current ongoing travel restrictions imposed internationally, First Strike will be restricted to online events in each region.

Taking Valorant esports to new heights

Speaking in their press release, Riot Games’ Senior Director of Esports, Whalen Rozelle expressed how this is the next logical step in the right direction for their tactical shooter. “Valorant is a deeply competitive title with global appeal and the necessary elements to become the next premier esport.

“First Strike will provide our thriving competitive ecosystem with the platform to showcase their greatness, build regional legacy, and a foundation that will support the esport for years to come.”

“Esports remains one of the best investments we can make to support our community for the long term,” said Anna Donlon, Executive Producer of Valorant. “As we’ve already seen from the Ignition Series, there’s a huge demand and hunger for Valorant to be played at a professional level, and we’re so excited to be starting that journey with fans, players, and organizations.”

Donlon continued: “As a development team, supporting the competitive world of Valorant is one of our top priorities, and we are committed to this journey.”

With that said, some considerable changes will be coming which are designed to improve Valorant’s spectator and casting experience in future updates. In addition, esports integration into Valorant’s Competitive mode will be coming to supplement the First Strike global event structure. So it goes without saying that Riot are fully invested and the future is bright for Valorant esports.


Cloud9 look to tap into collegiate esports with new initiative

Published: 29/Oct/2020 18:53 Updated: 29/Oct/2020 19:00

by Adam Fitch


North American organization Cloud9 have announced their collegiate initiative after partnering with Uconnect in August 2020.

A range of events and resources with their new partner will run from November in an attempt to foster the “next generation of esports talent.”

Cloud9 University is described as a celebration of collegiate esports and includes panels, a League of Legends tournament, a community Discord server and a college fair.

Sponsorship marketplace Uconnect partnered with the organization in August following an initial activation at the LCS that featured 16 collegiate esports teams.

Cloud9 Uconnect Partnership
They initially announced their collaboration in August.

The Cloud9 Panel Series will take place in November, and will be broadcasted live on the org’s Twitch channel. The two-day event aims to provide insights into the different departments of an organization, how they operate, and what other career opportunities are up for grabs in esports.

The League of Legends Intercollegiate Tournament will follow the panel in December, with more details set to be released nearer that time. The competition will be hosted on Uconnect’s platform.

Eight universities from the United States will be chosen as affiliates for the program, receiving perks such as early job and internship opportunities and access to exclusive events and resources.

The Collegiate Fireside initiative will see the eight affiliates be assigned with a Cloud9 mentor that will help them host Q&A sessions, resume workshops, and participate in panel discussions.

“Collegiate esports is thriving – we at Cloud9 recognize its potential and want to be a part of uplifting these hard working students with resources and opportunities,” said Cloud9’s CEO Jack Etienne when the partnership was first announced. “We’re excited to see this generation of esports professionals grow.”

The final aspect of Cloud9 University is a youth initiative program called Training Grounds College Fair. Affiliate institutions will be given a chance to show their esports programs to the org’s players, who are stated to have “expressed a growing interest in considering esports programs when selecting colleges.”