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Valorant First Strike: the future of Valorant esports

Riot Games announces the launch of Valorant First Strike. While the the Ignition Series were official tournaments, they weren't produced and managed by Riot Games. With First Strike, the firm takes over and is responsible for creating a real esports league.

First Strike, a first 100% official circuit

Valorant First Strike will therefore be the first league of Valorant, managed from A to Z by Riot Games. It will be an international league that will take place between October and December 2020. It will end in a coronation of the official champions of each region. It's not clear whether the tournament will end with an international encounter between the winners of each region, but the health situation probably prevents any prognosis on that side.

Official announcement of Valorant First Strike

Qualifying tournaments will take place as soon as October. Professional and amateurs players will be allowed to participate in the tournament. Whalen Rozelle, esports director at Riot Games, made it clear that Valorant First Strike will be a competition based purely on merit. So we imagine that a team like G2 Esports, undisputed champions of the Ignition Series, will be in the same boat as the smallest of the amateur teams.

What is the different with the Ignition Series?

The Ignition Series allowed different organisations to set the rules of the tournaments, but above all to choose the participants. While, with the Mandatory.GG Cup , we decided to open the competition to as many people as possible, tournaments like the Blast Invitational have been highly criticised for their selection of teams. Valorant Strike will offer impartiality to all participants. Such an environment should make it possible to reveal the different talents and give a more precise overall idea of the level of each region.

First Strike will also be an ongoing competition. The Ignition Series were ultimately independent tournaments. First Strike should make it possible to follow each team's results, game after game, until reaching the finals. All maps will count. The stakes will therefore be all the higher for the teams and the interest increased for viewers.

Finally, Riot Games promises huge investments in terms of broadcast. Technically, they plan to produce the best esports show for spectators. Valorant's observer mode tools will also be largely updated to make actions and fights more readable. On the game side, new tools, such as the ability to reset a round, should be added.

Valorant First Strike should therefore be a completely different competitive circuit, whether in terms of ambition, broadcast of competition. Riot Games gradually wants to create a competitive environment capable of competing with that of League of Legends.

It is not yet known how the entries will be handled or the format of the tournament itself, but this should be clear soon.

An expected but surprising announcement

The sudden announcement of First Strike unsettles some teams. The Ignition Series ended almost as suddenly as it started. For a few weeks now, we had no idea what Riot Games was planning for the competitive future of Valorant. We suspected that something was going on, but we couldn't tell what it was.

By announcing First Strike less than a month before its launch, the different teams are caught unprepared. Ange1, FunPlus Phoenix, expressed its opinion regarding the management of schedules at Valorant in particular.

But those who are the most caught unprepared are probably the teams that do not yet have 5 players in their roster. The Ignition Series allowed teams like T1 or 100 Thieves to do some tests, ultimately inconclusive. But these teams, like many others, are still actively looking for players. It's time for them to finalise their rosters.

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