Valorant Premier mode beta starts, adds team matchmaking

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Team matchmaking with map bans is not available in Valorant, as the beta test for Premier launches today.

Premier mode is one of the most hyped features in Valorant, with the first alpha going live in October of 2022. Now more than six months later, all Valorant players have access to test the new feature. In addition to giving the average Valorant player a competitive experience, top-rated teams may also get opportunities to join the esports world of Riot’s tactical shooter.

The announcement was revealed concurrently with the Valorant Champions Tour LOCK//IN event happening in Sao Paulo, Brazil. During the event, game director Andy Ho outlined a new mode for matchmaking called Premier, designed to resemble organized competitive play. The mode will feature designated teams competing against each other on pre-selected maps. 

Head of Valorant esports Leo Faria explained that Premier will also function as the primary way to qualify for VCT Challengers events. This would mean getting rid of open qualifiers in favor of the new system. This means that grinders can theoretically become pro players entirely within the Valorant client. 

What is Premier matchmaking in Valorant?

The new Premier game mode is designed to give an esports-level experience to Valorant players at home. 

First, players will need to create a formal team with a roster. Based on trailer graphics, it appears that seven players are the max limit for a squad. Premier will also be broken up into different skill divisions, so lower-rated players can still enjoy a competitive environment.

Valorant Premier regular season

Once assembled, teams will be given designated maps to play on in certain windows of the week. These designated times were four hours long in the trailer and were designed to get as many Premier teams on at once as possible. Winning these games contributes to a positive record, though there may be an ELO system in place.

After a regular season, teams can qualify for playoffs, where they will go against other high-performers in their skill bracket. The prizes for winning a Premier season were not revealed, though the thrill of winning a competitive tournament should be enough for most players.

Valorant Premier playoffs

The open beta for Valorant Premier matchmaking is now live in the client, and anyone can sign up with a team and begin competing. The system is still in its infancy, and Riot will likely make several changes over the next few months. However, the fact that Premier will become the default path to pro play should be plenty of incentive to try it.