Valorant Challengers NA will test a large number of teams as they try to fight for a spot in the main event and the Ascension league.
Ever since Champions ended in 2022, Valorant fans have been waiting for the action to kick off in 2023. The esport is now in its partnership era where the VCT is home to a set amount of teams guaranteed a slot. Of course, there are spots open in coming years for those who battle through Valorant Challengers NA, the other regions, and eventually the Ascension league.
With invited teams and a vast open qualifier to start, this is the first time in 2023 for player's to prove that they belong. Read on for all you need to know about Valorant Challengers NA.
What's at stake in Valorant Challengers NA
Many teams will have to work hard for what others were given. Valorant Challengers NA Split 1 marks the beginning of their journey and could very well mark the end for some. This is their chance to match up with the big dogs of North America.
As it stands, the Challengers event takes place from Jan. 9 all the way until June. Through this time period, you'll find different qualifiers, two Splits, a Mid-Season Invitational, and the Playoffs. Each step brings teams closer to their goal of the Ascension league and the main VCT circuit.
Nothing in Valorant is a certainty and we can expect a lot of surprises as the year unfolds. Every team and every player will need to leave it all in the server if they want to ascend through the ranks. As of right now, surviving Challengers is the only way to earn that coveted promotion to a partnered position.
Powered by Knights Arena, Split 1 of Challengers Valorant NA features a massive open qualifier. There are 256 teams fighting in single elimination matches until the Round of 32 when things re-seed and move to a double elimination format.
Only the top four teams will make it through the open qualifier and find a spot in the Challengers league. That leaves a lot of teams missing out and a lot of talent looking for another opportunity as the year progresses.
Teams to pay attention to
There are a handful of teams that didn't receive a direct invite that you should keep your eye on:
- Moon Raccoons
- City Boys
Moon Raccoons has earned themselves a cult following in Valorant. The brand boasts two teams entering the open qualifier, with one seeing a reunion of many original players. The power of the trashtronauts might be enough to propel them forward.
Then we have Version1, who recently signed a team from free agency. V1 has had its share of success in Valorant and now they are home to some of the best talent Game Changers has ever seen. Melanie "meL" Capone and Alexis "alexis" Guarrasi, formerly of Cloud9 White, headline the roster.
Next is City Boys. This team consists of ex-FaZe, Sentinels, and Akrew stars. These are all players who have had the spotlight on them in the past and would do anything for that feeling again. From top to bottom, this group looks dangerous.
And lastly, a surprise team taking on the open qualifier. Jeremy "Disguised Toast" Wang is one of the most famous content creators on the planet. He has decided to fund a team for Valorant Challengers NA, known as Disguised. Former 100 Thieves and T1 IGL Joshua "steel" Nissan leads a team packed with ex-Knights players.
Six teams received automatic invitations to the Split 1 main event. Those teams are:
- FaZe Clan
- Shopify Rebellion
- G2 Esports
- The Guard
Another six teams will join them through the open qualifier (4) and a subsequent last chance qualifier (2). The teams that make it through will face their toughest challenge yet in the form of the invited teams. They are under some of the most prominent organizations in all of esports.
These are all teams who have made their presence known, or came very close to doing so, in international Valorant competition. M80 is the exception, as they are a newer org, but the roster they have put together is nothing to scoff at.