The Ignition Series has, if nothing else, proved that Valorant esports has an audience. There’s already some big organizations involved despite the fact that the entire scene is comprised of third party tournaments. That is, until now.
First Strike Tournament(s)
The First Strike Tournament is Riot’s first foray into running a first-party esports event for Valorant. Essentially, this means that Riot is putting everything together for this without relying on other organizations to, well— organize tournaments. Although, the First Strike Tournament is a misleading name. It’s not just one tournament, it’s a bunch of different tournaments taking place across the world.
First Strike is regionally separated, and finals will be played between the top teams from each region. This doesn’t mean that a world championship can’t happen in the future, but that isn’t possible right now for obvious reasons. Riot have already announced all the regions that will be a part of First Strike.
First Strike Regions
- North America
Each region will have its own respective tournament bracket, and qualifiers will take place as soon as the second half of October.
How do teams qualify?
Players who are aged 16+ and are ranked Immortal 1 or higher can compete in qualifiers. Any team that can field a roster fitting these requirements will be allowed to play in qualifiers for each region. Dates are a bit nebulous, but we know finals will consist of the eight best teams, and they’ll be taking place December 3-6 in each region.
What makes this so different from the Ignition Series?
Many events in the Ignition Series were invite-only, meaning that only the big esports orgs like G2, TSM, and Cloud 9 (along with a few up and coming teams) were invited to compete. First Strike gives aspiring teams a shot at competing against established top teams. Whether or not they stand a chance remains to be seen, but watching any matches within each region’s First Strike tournament should be a great way to learn more about Valorant. These players are the best of the best, after all.
The other big differentiating factor is that this makes Valorant’s esports scene more compact. Instead of having to hop around to different sites and streams for tournaments, everything will be on Riot sites and streams. Now, each region has a chance to flourish, and it’s all in one place.
Exact details are still a bit hazy, but Riot plans to release more information about scheduling and signups for qualifiers in the coming days. You can read Riot’s official press release here