Riot Games has confirmed that the start of the 2023 Valorant circuit season will see the birth of an international kick-off tournament. The event, which is scheduled to be held in February 2023, is referred to as the “largest international tournament in VCT history.”
According to the tournament organizer, the new tournament is to feature a new system and format and have all 30 squads in the international leagues, which include the Pacific, EMEA, and Americas, participate. The usual number of teams hosted per tournament is 16, making this competition the biggest in Valorant history.
The tournament organizer confirmed in a press release that the event would take place in São Paulo, Brazil, making it the first international Valorant tournament to be held in Latin America. The one-time event will last three weeks and take the place of the first split of the year. The split will resume its position in 2024, moving on.
The tournament will have the Valorant partnered teams and rosters face off against each other, with the winning team finishing as the champions of the off-season.
It will be the biggest international tournament hosted by Riot Games and will have a number of competitive stakes tied to the rest of the year. The event’s winner will be crowned in early March and will reportedly win an additional slot for their respective international league at the Masters later on in the year.
This means that if the winner emerges from Southeast Asia, the teams in the franchise’s international league, such as Paper Rex, Team Secret, and others, will bag an additional slot to join the 2023 Masters. After the event comes to a close, the first competitive split of 2023 will kick off with LAN competitions held weekly in all three leagues in late March or early April.
The international league matches will follow and reportedly occur in LAN environments in Berlin, California, South Korea, Los Angeles, Seoul, and Germany. The league will be divided into two splits for the last eight weeks of the regular season, until three league champions are crowned in May. The new international leagues will only include franchises selected to be part of Riot Game’s partnership program, indicating that several teams will be sidelined.
Riot, however, provided a way for squads to snag a spot in the various leagues via its Challengers Ascension tournaments. This will reportedly give more franchises leeway to stay in the competition.
The free agency period will end before the event starts and will give teams a chance to showcase the lineup they put together for the new three-league format next year. The league system is similar to that currently in use in League of Legends.
Whalen Rozelle, the Esports COO at Riot Games, said in a press release that the organization’s decision to “dream big” resulted from the inspiration provided by the Valorant community.
“The Valorant community’s passion inspired us to dream big and evolve the Valorant Champions Tour to meet the overwhelming demand we’re seeing in every corner of the world,” Rozelle said.
“In 2023, we’re taking everything we’ve learned, adding in new ideas, and forming partnerships that will help us realize our dreams for the next edition of the VCT.”
Despite the country having some of the best Valorant teams worldwide, with OpTic Gaming reaching the top three during the Valorant Champions 2022, the 2023 international kick-off tournament is Brazil’s first time hosting a Valorant international event.
In the past years, several Valorant international events have been organized in European countries, mainly so the teams involved could travel safely and efficiently with little or no COVID-19 restrictions.
The Valorant International Kickoff tournament will reportedly run simultaneously with the Challengers’ first split. The event will start in January 2023 and come to a close in March.