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From Playoffs to Championships: Tips to Following Valorant Esports

7Newswire

Esports has transformed the video game industry by providing consumers with various ways to engage with the market. Aside from buying and playing video games, gamers nowadays also have the option to play the game professionally at an esports level. In a previous post, we highlighted findings from SNS Insider’s research indicating that the global esports market will increase to $11.9 billion by 2030. This is more than double the market valuation recorded in 2022 ($2.49 billion). Today, the esports industry is considered a rapidly growing phenomenon where professional players and teams compete for fame, glory, and sizable cash prizes.

While many video game titles are available for professional play these days, some esports games remain dominant over others. For fans of MOBA games, Dota 2 and League of Legends have dominated the scene for over a decade, with teams from around the world competing for record-breaking prize pools. On the other hand, gamers who prefer first-person shooters (FPS) have a variety to choose from, including Valve’s Counter-Strike games, Activision’s Call of Duty, Blizzard’s Overwatch, and one of the newest in the scene — Riot Games’ Valorant.

As a new player in the esports scene, Valorant has often been compared to other FPS esports titles like Counter-Strike and Overwatch. This is mainly due to some similarities in gameplay, as well as some overlaps in terms of talent. Many Valorant esports professionals aren’t new to the competitive scene, as most transferred from the Counter-Strike scene.

Still, with new team formations and international rosters, the Valorant esports scene can be confusing for those new to the game or esports in general. Below, we’ll be sharing some tips for following Valorant esports:

Understanding Valorant’s esports structure

As mentioned above, Valorant is relatively new to the esports industry than other titles. Released in 2020, developer Riot Games quickly established the game’s official esports scene, starting with the First Strike tournaments worldwide. While seemingly minor for the then-new game, First Strike helped establish some players and teams that fans and experts should watch out for.

Since then, the Valorant esports structure has transformed into a bigger and more established circuit and league system. According to this Valorant betting guide, the Valorant esports system — officially dubbed the Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) — consists of one or more Masters tournaments throughout the season that build up to the VCT Champions stage. Before reaching the preliminary Masters stages, teams worldwide compete in their respective regions. Currently, Riot Games acknowledges four official VCT regions — Americas, EMEA, Pacific, and China — each with their respective regional leagues.

Teams battle it out in their regional leagues, with the top organizations moving onto the international Masters stages. The cherry on top, of course, is the Champions tournament that caps off the VCT season, with even bigger cash prizes at stake and a bigger trophy. By following the flow of official VCT events and tournaments, fans and viewers can easily keep up with the teams they support.

Following Valorant content creators

Another way to keep up with Valorant esports is by following prominent content creators in the scene. Today, there are a lot of content creators and gamers sharing Val-orant content on video and streaming platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, and even short-form video apps like TikTok. Aside from sharing their own gameplay, tips, and tricks, some content creators also have official permission from Riot Games to stream official VCT games and tournaments.

One of the popular Valorant streamers today is Tarik Celik, who is signed to the North American organization Sentinels as a content creator. Tarik also comes from an esports background, having played Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) professionally years ago before officially retiring. Today, Tarik’s streams for official VCT games typically surpass live streams from the official Valorant channel, bringing in meteoric viewership levels.

Aside from sole content creators, many professional VCT players also stream on the side. Some Valorant pros who have since left competitive gaming have also pivoted towards streaming and content creation as a career path — a move popularized by ex-CS:GO pro shroud who retired early from professional esports to pursue full-time streaming on Twitch. Most recently, ex-NRG Valorant pros FNS and s0m joined the content creation side, streaming VCT matches and providing their experience-backed insight to viewers.

Using the Valorant esports hub

Finally, the best way to stay up to date with the latest in Valorant esports is by installing the game yourself. Aside from being able to play and experience the game’s tactical gunplay, Riot Games also included various other esports-related features in the game. The official Valorant esports hub is a relatively new feature introduced by Riot to provide all the information one would need to keep up with past, present, and future Valorant esports events.

This includes official match schedules displayed according to your timezone, all participating and qualified teams in specific tournaments, and format explanations. The esports hub also offers fans and viewers a way to support their favorite Valorant teams by purchasing team-specific “bundles.” These include a gun cosmetic skin, a player card, and a “gun buddy” keychain item that players can use in the game. Part of the proceeds from these bundle sales go directly to the teams and players.