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.
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.
Which regions are taking part in First Strike?
- North America.
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.