What is the affiliate system set to be introduced in tier two Valorant?

By George Geddes


Aug 9, 2023

Reading time: 2 min

Over the past few weeks, developer and tournament organizer Riot Games has contacted Valorant organizations in Challengers to discuss an affiliate system next year. So, what is it? 

The plan that was discussed with teams, which is yet to be formally released to the public, discusses a system where teams in the international leagues have the option to partner with a Valorant Challengers team to bring players up to the main roster or drop them down, which was first reported by BLIX.gg and can be confirmed by sources close to WIN.gg. 

The question of which team has to pay the players has been disputed, however. According to a report from The Loadout, the VCT team would have to pay the salary of the players that participate in the Challengers league with the affiliate team. 

But a source close to WIN.gg stated that the tier-two team has to pay the salaries of the players on the roster, but this responsibility will shift to the main team that participates in the international league if the team decides to promote the player. 

Why is Riot introducing the affiliate system? 

The belief is that this affiliate system would enable new talent to be promoted easily to the partnership league without navigating contract difficulties or buyouts, typically seen in traditional transfers. 

The move would give greater power to the VCT team since they could promote a player to the main roster that has been playing well in Challengers, for example. 

But this direction has been criticized by teams that spoke to The Loadout and WIN.gg. The system likens tier-two teams to academy teams that would be providing the best players for partnered teams with no additional benefit to the tier-two team. The organizations in tier-two seek revenue and marketing opportunities similar to the partnered teams.

The dire state of Challengers has caused at least one organization to depart from Valorant entirely. Brazilian team The Union, which won two Challengers events, blasted Riot’s approach to tier two by stating that “the format proposed by Riot does not include pro organizations,” following the announcement of the team’s departure on Aug. 7.

Another issue is that teams in North American VCT are looking to downsize Valorant efforts in 2024, as reported by WIN.gg. It’s unlikely that VCT teams would sign extra players on the books if they have to fork out additional salaries.