Why is it important to talk about the First Strike tournament at all?
The answer is obvious and simple:
First Strike tournament will be the first Riot official Valorant tournament to be organized directly by Riot Games. Until now, the most important events in Valorant’s eSports scene. The various independent organizers with media support from Riot Games hosted the Ignition Series tournaments.
Ignition tournaments were designed to «ignite» the flame of eSports in this young discipline, and it must be said, they accomplished their goal very successfully.
Certainly, it is largely due to the developers paying close attention to the development of eSports in the game from early on that so many professional organizations have signed up their Valorant lineups. Organizations attract new players and spectators to the discipline and create favorable conditions for the development of professional e-sportsmen.
First Strike tournament is Riot Games’ next step.
Before the announcement of First Strike tournament, eSports in Valorant was chaotic and a free-for-all. There were no restrictions, which allowed people to become a part of it and grow into it easily. But having a clear and understandable structure is good because it can give us a clearer picture of the strength of individual teams and regions, introducing clear «rules of the game» that will make it more attractive to developers and third-party organizations.
Thus, First Strike tournament is an entirely new step in the development of Valorant eSports that offers a unique experience, the likes of which has not been equaled or seen before.
So, will First Strike tournament become a Major in the Valorant world?
To answer this question, we need to take a closer look at what First Strike tournament is and understand what a Counter-Strike Major is.
First Strike’s main innovation is arguably the division of its entire eSports ecosystem into regions. Previously, players were only limited by ping because all competitions were held online. Now the usual division into Oceania, Asian, European, North American, and South American regions has been significantly expanded.
The following regions are highlighted in First Strike tournament:
- North America
- South America
- Middle East
Multi-level qualifying stages will be held in each region. For example, in Korea, they start with four clan battles, with the best 24 teams playing closed qualifiers. It will end with a final battle and the eight best teams qualifying for the regional finals.
The final prize pool is unknown, but…
We already know that in each of the clan battles’ four stages, $2,586 will be up for grabs. In other regions, the system and prize money may differ, but in general, the schemes will be similar everywhere.
Let’s talk a little about Majors in CS.
A Major in the world of CS is the main eSports event of the year. The large companies organized Majors with the direct participation of Valve.
The prize pool for every Major since 2016 has not been less than $1,000,000.
Team selection for the Major is based on the previous Major and the other two CS tournaments’ results. Attentive readers may have already noticed some very important differences between CS Majors and First Strike tournaments.
First, the Major is organized by large tournament operators such as ESL, Dream Hack, etc.
Second, the Major has no regional restrictions, and it is widely regarded by e-sportsmen and fans to be the Counter-Strike World Championship, which of course gives it a higher status than First Strike tournament.
However, First Strike, like Counter-Strike’s Major, is now the largest and most important tournament in Valorant eSports.
So, we can see that Riot is using First Strike tournament to test Valorant eSports in the League of Legends ecosystem, which means that the next logical step from Riot may well be to announce a World Championship or its equivalent for Valorant. And here, one should not even be afraid of the limitations imposed by the global coronavirus pandemic.
As we can see that despite it, the LoL World Championship is still being held in LAN format, although without live spectators and a large number of casters and journalists. This suggests that
Riot is ready to adapt to the conditions imposed on them by the current epidemiological environment.
The only real obstacle to holding a Valorant World Championship at the moment may be the unwillingness of its eSports ecosystem to enter such a significant tournament. First Strike tournament will make it possible to really assess the status of the discipline in each of the regions and develop a clear team selection system for the future World Cup, which once again shows the incredibly serious approach Riot is taking to developing eSports in its shooter.
First official valorant tournament is by far the most significant event in the Valorant eSports scene..
Of course, First official valorant tournament will not be a Major for Valorant in the sense that CS players understand it, but it is by far the most significant event in the Valorant eSports scene at the moment, just as the Major is for CS. We’re looking forward to the start of First Strike tournament in each of the regions and seeing which teams will be the main contenders to represent these regions on the world stage!