Riot Games announces First Strike and Team Liquid finally beats G2

“First Strike” will be the first Valorant esports tournament directly organized by Riot Games. The main event is set to begin later in December, with qualifiers running in the later part of October.

Riot had initially started the Ignition Series for organic growth in the Valorant esports scene. The Ignition Series had been a collection of tournaments, where Riot engaged various partnerships with other third-party event organisers. This strategy had been widely successful, with various tournaments part of the Ignition Series reaching record views along with many star teams and players emerging into the spotlight.

Riot Games announces First Strike and Team Liquid finally beats G2

© Riot Games

Getting into First Strike

The first qualification round for the First Strike event will begin in October. It is currently unknown if such tournaments will award teams qualification points or a direct entry into the First Strike event.

However, Riot have mentioned that these qualification events will allow the opportunity for not only established pro organisations to enter, but amateur teams as well. While able to qualify, we can also expect that there will be a separate pre-qualification tournament teams for amateur squads to save the time of pre established names that have already proved themselves. The event will have global participation, especially with the likes of; North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America and others. Further details will be announced later.

Unfortunately, Riot has a major challenge in organizing such an event. First Strike is not only their first Valorant tournaments, but also an international event with participants across the world. Riot will have to decide to either force all teams to play on a high ping , or bring all qualifying teams to a single location similar to the 2020 League of Legends Worlds Championship.

First Strike candidates

In Europe, G2 have so far shown themselves to be one of the best Valorant teams out there. Their early tournament results have been universally in their favor. Team Liquid might not have such impressive results, but the team have shown promise.

On the North American side, Sentinels, TSM, Cloud9, Dignitas and Envy are battling for supremacy, with Sentinels largely being the best American squad.

Asia is largely dominated by the former MVP PK CS:GO squad of Vision Strikers.

Finally, Estral,Rainbow7, paiN Gaming and Infamous are the likely candidates from South America.

The end of the Ignition Series?

The Ignition series events are largely over around the globe. The last Ignition Series event “Gamers Club Ultimate #2” finished yesterday, with a paiN Gaming mix squad taking the trophy. The list of candidates we mentioned above, are largely all the Ignition series champions or solid performs at these events.

As of yet, Riot is unclear about their Valorant esports strategy and how they want to pursue it. We are confident this is not the end of the Ignition series, and there will be at least another set of events before Riot decides if they want to take a complete control over competitive Valorant.

What do watch in the meantime?

With the Ignition series over, there is still plenty of non-partnered Riot Games events to watch or participate in this fall. The FTW Summer Showdown was a female only Valorant event, not part of the Ignition Series, that provided us with the best North American all female roster in Team MAJKL.

Meanwhile, Aimlab organized a unique event for the EU fans called The Best in West Showdown for fans of Team Liquid and G2. The event featured unique game modes and rule sets for both players and fans of both teams to compete in. Ultimately, Team Liquid won the event beating G2 in an “event” final for the first time this season. Even in regular games, Team Liquid are a good choice to stand up to G2. But now they can finally claim they beat G2 in a series.

With the Ignition Series events over, we can expect plenty of this type of events popping off the in the following months. The lack of Riot oversight might mean we will be devoid of Valorant betting for the next month or so. We are confident however, as soon as First Strike rolls around there will be plenty of odds available to pick up where we left off.

Finally, there are still two events on the schedule to cap off October. Nerd Street Gamers the organizers of FTW Summer Showdown are holding a NSD Monthly event north American teams. The Asia region still has A.W EXTREME MASTERS as the final event before First Strike, with all the usual suspects already invited. 

First Strike will give us a chance to compare the strength of each region in Valorant for the first time.

Read next: ESL Pro League Season 12 Weekly Predictions