Riot makes qualifying for NA VALORANT Challengers even more daunting with new promotion system

Reaching Challengers is a lot more challenging now.

The VALORANT Esports team announced the format for promotion and relegation for the NA Challengers League 2024 season today, but the opportunity for new teams to qualify for the league and potentially compete for Ascension has become severely limited.

The league is currently in the middle of its second split, with playoffs to take place soon after. The top eight teams in points will advance to the playoffs, but if that wasn’t daunting enough, finishing the league in the top eight is now crucial to avoid relegation.

Finishing in the top eight at the end of the NA Challengers League 2023 season secures a team their position in the 2024 league, no qualifiers needed. Additionally, the bottom four teams from 2023 will play a GSL-style double-elimination bracket relegation tournament, with the top two teams from that bracket securing a place in the 2024 season as well.

This means that only two slots will be available via the 2024 open qualifier, where the winner of the upper bracket and lower bracket finals of that tournament will secure a spot in the league that year. The announcement today notes that the two teams that are relegated at the end of 2023 will be able to compete in the 2024 open qualifier.

For players and teams looking for an opportunity to play in one of the biggest and most-watched tier two VALORANT leagues, it now becomes a much harder and more daunting task. Even for the 2023 season, teams that missed out on qualifying for the NA Challengers League were effectively done for the year after open qualifiers. Going forward, those teams that missed out on Challengers this year will now have to fight for only two spots via open qualifiers in 2024.

Additionally, the announcement makes no mention if or how Premier will be worked into the open qualifier, considering Riot’s publicly made goal of integrating the in-game competitive system in the VCT qualifier ecosystem.

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