Establishing Valorant as a mainstream esport has actually always felt like Riot’s objective, however it was never ever most likely to prove easy– not with the similarity CS: GO, Overwatch, Call of Duty, and Fortnite continuing to prove exceptionally popular.

There are just numerous slices of the pie to share, after all. What’s more, with the unfortunate timing of Valorant’s release in the middle of COVID-19, which has put the kibosh on any LAN occasions last year and for the foreseeable future, the obstacle has been placed on additional hard mode.

However over this past weekend, a double-whammy of Red Bull’s Home Ground tournament in Europe and the curtain-raiser of Riot Games’ Valorant Challenger Series (VCT) in North America painted a really intense future for its prospects moving forward.

Although technically only b-tier tournaments in regards to the reward pool and eminence -one of which simply a qualifier aired at a really awkward time for those outside the US-, both drew remarkable concurrent viewer numbers across the board.

More to the point, each provided extremely amazing matches and offered a compelling demonstration of Valorant’s prospective as an esport.

In Europe, Red Bull’s invitational Home Ground competition saw eight teams fighting over a $25,000 reward swimming pool. Although only a modest figure by FPS esport standards, the real storyline -one that has been brewing in the area over the previous 6 months– was Team Liquid’s efficiency and its qualifications moving forward after an underwhelming 2020.

Indeed, the UK/Belgian team failed in 2015 in measuring up to the potential of their lineup, led by the interesting former CS: GO skill ScreaM. Most significantly, they were discarded out of Nerd Street Player’s First Strike Winter competition in the preliminary just a month ago.

This time around, however, things were different. Battling past a nail-biting 3-2 semi-final win over SUMN, Liquid progressed to the Grand Final and faced-off against bitter rivals G2.

Eventually, it was the consistency of G2 across another five-matcher that triumphed, preserving their exceptional record in the procedure and sealing themselves as Europe’s most popular team.

But boy did Liquid have a good proving, with both ‘ScreaM’ and ‘soulcass’ coming up trumps with some mind-blowing clutch plays. The worth of their efficiencies in helping to take the series to the wire can not be downplayed– not simply for Liquid as a team however the whole EU Valorant esports scene as a whole.

This competition in between the two is hotting up into something exceptional, and it’s just going to fuel Valorant’s success.

Meanwhile, in North America, 64 teams duked it out in open qualifiers for Riot Games’ Challenger Series. The stakes were much less provided that groups will have further possibilities to qualify down the road, however the quality of video games still showed extraordinary and highlighted when again just how competitive the scene is ending up being in the area.

Undoubtedly, the upsets were aplenty as leading groups like 100T, and TSM were knocked out early, while favorites Sentinals lost their semi-final clash to Envy. Immortals wound up sealing the top-spot in the last, earning them the number one seed in the upcoming main occasion.

Overall, it was a great start to this extremely ambitious competition structure, which will be contested throughout 2021 in part domestic (Challengers), part international (Masters) brackets, culminating in the crowning of a world champ with numerous countless dollars on the line.

Of course, VCT has already remained in full speed elsewhere across the world, with Brazil, south-east Asia, and Korea having already held qualifiers. Europe’s begins later on today, and then the centerpieces for the abovementioned regions will begin.

Elsewhere, there are dozens of smaller sized tournaments populating a busy schedule for the game’s esports program as a whole.

All in all, the scene is popping in a significant method, and as a fan of Valorant hoping the video game’s momentum continues to snowball, it’s fantastic to see everything clicking into equipment despite all the obstacles the world is facing right now.

But that’s the appeal of esports and gaming in basic, isn’t it? The scene and the industry has had the ability to pivot and prosper where others have actually struggled. Long may it prosper, and long might dazzling esports competitions assist Valorant establish itself as the next big tactical shooter.

If you’re interested in following Valorant’s esports scene, I advise using Liquipedia. You can discover all the information about groups, and upcoming games/tournaments. You’ll also find links to Twitch broadcasts, too.

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