Riot Games has announced the dates and eligibility requirements for First Strike Europe.
First Strike is Valorant’s first major tournament, and the developer is making sure that it’s available to almost everyone, starting with players in Europe. The tournament’s online open qualifiers will begin on November 9 and run until November 22, leaving plenty of time for teams to practice and form up.
It isn’t just one large qualifier, either. In that span of time, Riot will run four separate qualifiers for eligible teams. That means that even if a team fails in the first set of qualifiers, they’ll have three more chances to qualify for First Strike’s group stage.
Open qualifiers are a great way to bring new talent into the game. With no invites and no seeded teams to start with, players who are extremely talented or coordinated can use the event as a tryout of sorts, or even start a team that could make it long term in Valorant. But first, they’ll have to get through First Strike’s open qualifiers.
Valorant’s European open qualifiers will take place over the course of two weeks, and Valorant players will have the chance to compete in four tournaments, giving teams four chances to qualify to First Strike’s play-in. Two qualifiers will take place each week, with the first chance to qualify set to start on November 9. Each qualifier lasts two days and will run a best-of-one, single-elimination format. When all is said and done, the top 16 teams from each open qualifier will advance to First Strike’s play-in stage.
The play-in stage is the next step in the First Strike process. The top teams from qualifiers A and B will play in the tournament’s November 13 play-in round, while B and C winners will play on November 20. The format is still a BO1 elimination, but this time only the top eight teams advance to First Strike’s playoffs. After that, it’s on to the main event.
First Strike marks the end of Valorant’s Ignition Series, which has been a successful run for what is a brand new game and esport. Despite delays around the globe, Riot has managed to create an entire competitive scene thanks to its experience in League of Legends. With Europe’s First Strike tournament turning up the heat in competitive Valorant, other regions including North America and South America will likely see their own versions soon.