Now that the 2022 VALORANT Champions Tour season is over, it’s time to turn toward the 2023 VCT season. Next year will mark the beginning of the new top tier VALORANT esports circuit that will consist of three international leagues with 10 teams each. There will be 10 teams in VCT Americas which will be based in Los Angeles, 10 in VCT Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) which will be based in Berlin, and 10 in VCT Pacific which will be based in Seoul. Riot has already revealed details of the 2023 VCT schedule, with a kickoff tournament involving all 30 teams set to take place in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in February.
The 30 teams will be part of Riot Games’ VALORANT partnership program and were hand selected by Riot, and the organizations behind the teams will receive funding from the publisher to help operate their teams, according to Dot Esports. According to Riot, the publisher was looking to partner with teams who share Riot’s values, have a track record of engaging fans and are sustainably building for long-term success. Past competitive success was not an important factor -- hence the reason teams like OpTic Gaming, G2 Esports, XSET and FunPlus Phoenix didn’t make the cut.
Other teams will have a chance to join these leagues in subsequent years through Challengers Ascension tournaments, but for 2023, these are the teams in each league. Here’s a short primer on the organizations that will partner with Riot, with a focus on their past competitive success in VALORANT and other esports.
Photo credit: Riot Games
- 100 Thieves
- Evil Geniuses
- KRÜ Esports
100 Thieves, Cloud9, Evil Geniuses, NRG and Sentinels are the three North American organizations that will be part of VCT Americas. 100 Thieves have been one of the best VALORANT teams in North America since 2020. They won First Strike that year, finished in the top four at Masters: Berlin in 2021 and qualified for VALORANT Champions 2022. Cloud9 qualified for Champions last year where they were the only North American team to reach the playoffs. C9 also have a Game Changers team, Cloud9 White, that has been the best in North America over the past two years. Evil Geniuses haven’t had as much success in VALORANT, but they were pioneers in the scene with a mixed gender roster and recently signed a successful Game Changers roster. All three of these organizations have previously partnered with Riot in League of Legends where they have all fielded competitive teams in the LCS and will be representing North America at League of Legends Worlds this year.
Sentinels have become arguably the most popular VALORANT team in NA after dominating the scene in 2020 and early 2021. They won Masters: Reykjavík 2021 with superstar Tyson “TenZ” Ngo and have continued to be a popular team that brought in a record number of viewers for the NA Last Chance Qualifier this year. NRG have not had as much success in VALORANT, but they do have a good track record in franchised leagues such as the Overwatch League, where the San Francisco Shock have been a two-time champion and perennial contender.
KRÜ have been the premier VALORANT team in Latin America. The organization, founded and owned by Argentine soccer star Sergio Agüero, is the only team that qualified for all six international VCT tournaments in 2021 and 2022. Leviatán are the other Latin American team that will be part of the league. This team rose to prominence in 2022, qualifying for Masters: Copenhagen and Champions.
LOUD, FURIA and MIBR are three of the most popular esports organizations in Brazil. LOUD are the reigning champions of VALORANT Champions and were arguably the best team in the world in 2022. Their League of Legends team will be going to League of Legends Worlds for the first time this year. FURIA were competitive in Brazil throughout 2021 and 2022 and qualified for Champions both years. They have had arguably the best CS:GO team in the Americas since last year. MIBR did not qualify for any VALORANT international events.
Photo credit: Riot Games
- FUT Esports
- Karmine Corp
- Natus Vincere
- Team Liquid
- Team Vitality
- BBL Esports
- Giants Gaming
Among the teams that will be part of VCT EMEA, Fnatic and Team Liquid have fielded two of the most successful VALORANT teams in the region over the past two years. Fnatic and Team Liquid have been consistent EMEA representatives at almost all of the VCT international tournaments. Fnatic were finalists at the very first VALORANT international event, Masters: Reykjavík 2021. Both teams have had very stable core rosters since 2021.
KOI and Karmine Corp have competed in the regional European leagues known as VRLs, and both teams have massive fan bases in Spain and France, respectively. KOI was formed late last year by popular Spanish streamer Ibai “Ibai” Llanos and Spanish soccer star Gerard Piqué. Heretics and Giants Gaming also are big Spanish esports org, and Heretics were one of the most successful VALORANT teams in Europe in 2020 when they won First Strike.
Team Vitality also are very popular in France, and Natus Vincere (NAVI) are one of the top esports orgs in the CIS region of Eastern Europe. Both Vitality and NAVI have not had much success in VALORANT, but both orgs have typically fielded highly successful teams in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
BBL Esports and FUT Esports are the two Turkish organizations that will be in this league. Neither have qualified for an international event in VALORANT, but Turkey has played a key role in the game’s development. Turkey just hosted VALORANT Champions 2022, and the country has produced stars like Mehmet Yağız "cNed" İpek, who won a world championship with Acend at Champions 2021.
Photo credit: Riot Games
- Detonation Gaming
- Global Esports
- Paper Rex
- Rex Regum Qeon
- Talon Esports
- Team Secret
- ZETA Division
DRX, Gen.G and T1 are the Korean organizations in this league. DRX have been one of the most successful teams in the region over the course of the past two years. They finished third at Champions 2022. Gen.G and T1 had both previously fielded teams in North America that weren’t very successful. These organizations are two of the most popular and successful in Riot’s other game, League of Legends.
Detonation Gaming and ZETA Division are two Japanese organizations. ZETA Division have had some success in VCT international events, finishing third at Masters: Reykjavík earlier this year. Detonation Gaming have not qualified for a global VALORANT event.
Paper Rex have been the gold standard in VALORANT esports among teams from Southeast Asia. They dominated the region throughout 2022 and were finalists at Masters Copenhagen. Team Secret qualified for VALORANT Champions last year. Talon Esports, a Thai organization that has fielded successful League of Legends and Dota teams, is jumping into VALORANT for the first time. Rex Regum Qeon’s VALORANT team hasn’t qualified for any international events. This Indonesian organization is known more for its mobile esports teams.
Global Esports are India’s representative in the Pacific league. The organization has fielded the best VALORANT team from that country but hasn’t reached any global VCT events.
Lead photo credit: Riot Games