Riot Games will host the North American qualifiers of its first major VALORANT tournament beginning Oct. 26, the developer behind the game said in a statement released on its website.
Nerd Street Gamers will partner with Riot to produce the tournament—titled First Strike—and will be the game’s first officially sanctioned tournament since its release in June. Riot, which is also the developer behind the wildly successful League of Legends, has extensive experience hosting large scale tournaments, such as League of Legends Worlds.
“First Strike is the first major chapter in VALORANT esports, and we’re proud to have the support of two stellar partners to bring it to life—Nerd Street Gamers, which has already partnered with FaZe Clan and T1 to power their Ignition Series tournaments, and Engine Media/UMG, one of the most storied names in both elite and amateur competitive organizing,” Riot said in the statement.
The first round of competition will begin on Oct. 26 with an open invitation to 128 teams, where each team will have a chance to qualify for the eight team main event in early December.
Out of the 128 teams in the first round, 16 will advance to the NSG qualifying tournament, where the top four will advance directly to the main event. The remaining 12 teams will have a second opportunity to qualify for another four spots in the main event the following week in a second qualifier.
In total, the main event will consist of eight teams competing for a $100,000 prize pool.
Riot requires all competitors to be at least 16 years of age, have an in-game rank of at least Immortal, and each team must have three of its five players living in the same region, the developer tweeted.
Since this event is an open competition, teams of any experience level could join, as long as they fit all of the requirements. Technically speaking, this means collegiate programs could sponsor teams for this major tournament.
Famous esports organizations, such as 100 Thieves, T1, and FaZe, have already expressed interest, with plenty of other top competitors expected to show interest in the coming days. However, an official list of competing teams has not been released yet.
Riot will be streaming the open qualifier on its official Twitch account Monday, Oct. 26 to Friday, Oct. 30.
By Aaron J. Miller