Valorant regions, ranked
Valorant has quickly become one of the biggest FPS games out there, and its competitive scene has also ballooned around the world thanks to the careful nurturing and guidance of the developers. Naturally, rivalries have also emerged along the way, which begs the question for fans and players alike: just which region is the best at Valorant?
Valorant esports: a primer
Valorant was clearly developed with an eye on competitive play from the ground up, and Riot Games have a heck of a lot of experience in managing such a scene and fostering interest based on everything they’ve accomplished with League of Legends. It should be of little surprise, therefore, that the game already has a massive fanbase and there’s great interest in its esports scene based on every metric out there, be it hours watched on Twitch, Valorant betting volumes, active player count or anything else you want to look at.
Riot have designed the competitive scene in a way to ensure rapid growth across the various regions, constantly rolling out new initiatives in different pockets of the world and offering international tournament slots to them as they grow. This is where the main differences in Valorant regions begin to emerge and crystallize in the eyes of the fandom.
How do the Valorant regions compete with each other?
The inter-regional Valorant competition takes place as part of the Valorant Champions Tour, Riot’s global initiative to manage the esports scene of their new title. Stylized much in the way of the League of Legends scene, this makes international events a rare and exciting occurrence throughout the season as the hype builds up towards the eventual global finals.
First, the regions’ own Challengers and Contenders events feed into the three international Masters, each more prestigious than the last, to ensure that recent strong performances matter more than those that came over half a year ago in the circuit. These big events, coupled with the overall Tour performances, offer teams and players passage to the global finals.
Though regional diversity, viewership and other such considerations have all factored into Riot’s thinking regarding the eventual slot distribution at the Valorant Champions finals, it still gives us a good idea of how the minds behind the game see the strengths of each region compared to each other – the stronger the competition and the higher the level of play, the more slots are available, or so the thinking goes.
Valorant Champions Tour regional slot breakdown
- EMEA: 2 direct invites, 7 teams in the last chance qualifier
- North America: 2 direct invites, 7 teams in the last chance qualifier
- Brazil: 2 direct invites, 4 teams in the last chance qualifier
- Southeast Asia: 2 direct invites, 2 teams in the last chance qualifier
- LATAM: 1 direct invite, 4 teams in the last chance qualifier
- Korea: 1 direct invite, 2 teams in the last chance qualifier
- Japan: 1 direct invite, 2 teams in the last chance qualifier
This is, of course, just one part of the big puzzle, but it’s a notable bit of information nevertheless.
So, about those Slasher region rankings…
Esports aficionado and ultimate in-the-know Slasher composed his own tier list back in March, just before the Masters events were set to begin, which still shows up as the authoritative result of choice for the relevant search queries. Here’s what it looks like in all its glory:
Of course, all these factors are subject to change, and having seen the teams in action since then in an international LAN environment, let’s just say that NA may have warranted a slightly higher slot on this initial list. Still, Slasher’s list is mostly in line with what Riot themselves have come up with in terms of Valorant Champions slot distribution, so it’s a good starting point to consider even over half a year down the line.
Valorant regions: what do the tournament results say?
It’s all well and good to banter outside the servers, but at the end of the day, it’s only what happens inside of it that makes a difference. Stage 1 of the 2021 Valorant Champions Tour didn’t feature international events on account of the pandemic, but Stage 2’s explosive conclusion in Rejykjavík clarified matters for many fans. NUTURN Gaming’s massive overperformance certainly put Korea on the map, and Sentinels’ eventual triumph ensured that NA’s still seen as more than just the meme land with fat contracts for washed-up ex-CS players.
Meanwhile, Masters Berlin saw the EMEA and NA teams basically sweep the rest of the competition, with only Korean outfit KRÜ Esports making it out of the group stage alive alongside the two big regions’ representatives. They, of course, fell against G2 Esports in the quarterfinals. Europe and North America were evenly split at the business end of the tournament, with equal representatives in the semis and the grand finals alike. Gambit’s eventual triumph over Team Envy would suggest that Europe has the edge right now in the regional competition, but we will only know for sure after the first Valorant Champions Tour winner is crowned on December 12.