Posted on: September 22, 2022, 09:17h.
Last updated on: September 22, 2022, 10:54h.
With the 2022 Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) season finale in Istanbul, an era within Riot Games’ competitive shooter game ended. The eSports competition wrapped up with the crowning of the Brazilian outfit LOUD as the new World Champion, and the lineup for VCT 2023 is already in place.
Riot Games is introducing new VCT leagues, which will host international and regional events. It’s a novel approach that mixes current leaders with rising legends, which could benefit competitive eSports everywhere. The VCT Americas International League will bring together the 10 leading organizations from North America and Latin America to compete for the regional championship in Los Angeles.
North America will have five teams whose names are commonly known to eSports fans. Cloud9, 100 Thieves, Evil Geniuses, NRG, and Sentinels have already left their mark on the eSports industry and will likely continue next year.
On the Leaderboard
Being part of the scene for several years, Cloud9 and Evil Geniuses are synonymous with eSports. They have huge fan bases and multiple championships wins, including in Legends and CS:GO. Looking to the future, these veteran outfits will fuel the next generation of stars, as they proved in the last VCT Game Changers tournament.
Joining them are 100 Thieves and NRG. They have been innovating in eSports for five years, not only as competitive teams but also as brands. Backed by high-caliber investors and their large army of gamers and content creators, they will seek to establish themselves within Valorant in their quest for international glory.
The Sentinels have been around since the early days of First Strike. With the expansion of international leagues, the Sentinels are seeking to push the region forward and inspire a new generation of fans to believe in them.
eSports continues to find larger audiences, both for viewing and participation. The industry isn’t slowing down, with a recent report projecting an overall value of $3.5 billion within five years. With a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.3%, it’s easy to see why it’s an important part of the global gaming industry.
Latin America Leads the Charge
Among the chosen teams out of Latin America are KRÜ Esports and Leviatán. Since the game’s launch, both squads have become leaders at the top of Valorant eSports. In addition, they have cultivated a vibrant fan base within the broader Hispanic community.
Alongside their international campaigns, KRÜ and Leviathan catapulted onto the global stage by impressing fans with precision in front of their screens. This has made their long-running rivalry something to talk about in 2023 and beyond.
Also, out of Latin America, Brazil will have three teams. LOUD, FURIA, and MIBR are at the top of the charts and will also host the first edition of the VCT next year.
LOUD stand out as the current world champions. They are also a leading Brazilian organization in several other games. With an unprecedented fan base, the team will defend its crown against the best across the LatAm region.
FURIA and MIBR have a long history in Brazil, mostly in the first-person shooter scene. They both have multiple international titles and generations of players rising to the top. This could prove why their region might be the most powerful in the Valorant ecosystem.
For the EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) roster, 10 teams made the final cut. Spain’s Giants, Team Heretics, and KOI captured three spots. In addition, there are BBL and FUT Esports from Turkey, NaVi from Ukraine, British squad FNATIC, Team Liquid from the Netherlands, and France’s Vitality and Karmine Corp.
Marking Their Territory
Squads from all regions embarked on a months-long selection process to get here. It included a written application, multiple in-depth interviews, and detailed financial reviews. The process was incredibly competitive and overwhelming, given the number of requests the Riot team received during this time.
According to those in charge of selecting the chosen teams, previous competitive performance wasn’t a key factor in determining the candidates. This explains why teams like OpTic Gaming and TSM were left out of the new international league.
Riot Games will release all of the information about the tournament lineups in the coming months, though the first event is already in place. The inaugural tournament will be held in São Paulo, Brazil, on Feb. 14, 2023.