Riot are re-using one of their most successful models from League of Legends and porting it over to VALORANT with the establishment of VALORANT Regional Leagues.
Riot Games Europe have announced a number of details around their 2022 VALORANT competitive circuit. This includes Game Changers updates, some start dates, and the establishment of new VALORANT Regional Leagues.
VALORANT Regional leagues
In League of Legends, the European Regional Leagues, or ERLs, form one of the most successful models Riot has created. Different smaller regions get their own leagues, broadcasted in the local language. They’re successful enough that tier 2 or 3 pros can earn a living off them, they get huge viewership every year, and they funnel talent directly to the top level of European LoL. Riot are re-using aspects of this format for VALORANT.
There will be eight VRLs for 2022:
- France and Benelux
- Spain, Italy, and Portugal
- The UK, Ireland, and Nordics
- Middle East and North Africa
- Poland and Eastern Europe
- Germany, Switzerland, and Austria
Several tournament operators are already known: LVP have announced that they’re running the Spain Rising VRL, after having success with their Rising Series since 2020. It’s also likely that Mandatory, the TO behind the VALORANT Open Tour France, continues running the France Revolution VRL.
There will also be a year-end event to determine the champion of the VALORANT Regional Leagues, likely similar to European Masters in League of Legends.
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What is the format for Valorant Esports 2022?
VRLs are a super neat addition, but how do they fit into the overall structure? The first Challengers of the year will have the 4 Champions teams – Acend, Gambit, Team Liquid, and Fnatic – invited. There will be four spots for teams from an open qualifier to join them. This open qualifier will already begin in the first weeks of January. Of the teams that don’t, the top teams alongside big organizations will be placed into the VRLs.
For subsequent Challengers, the eight VRL winners at the time will join the two lowest-placed teams from the last Challengers. The top two in that tournament will progress to Challengers and the big stage. At the top end, the format remains much the same, with teams qualifying to Masters and eventually Champions.
There will also be a new amateur circuit. Named the VRCs, or VALORANT Regional Circuits, these are meant to be very localized tournaments where players can get their start in the competitive scene. Similarly to the VRLs, the VRCs will have a championship at the end of the year, with teams qualifying based on a points system.
Changes to Game Changer Events in 2022
Lastly, some updates were announced to Game Changers. There will be three EMEA Game Changers events in 2022, taking place in January, May, and September. Two teams from each will qualify to the global Game Changers championship, announced several days ago and taking place in November.
There will also be six Game Changers Academy tournaments held throughout the year, though details are scarce.
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