VALORANT publisher Riot Games has unveiled its list of partner teams which will compete across three international leagues: EMEA, the Americas and Pacific. The publisher implemented a hybrid franchise system in which permanent partnered teams compete alongside promoted teams.
The new format looks to continue the growth of VALORANT esports by providing long-term support, stability and revenue opportunities to select organisations.
But who are the chosen teams that have been selected to represent the Pacific (Asia)? This article provides a brief background and history of VCT’s partner teams.
Entering the esports sector in 2003, T1 is one of the most prominent esports organisations in the world. Despite being mostly known for its success in South Korea, the organisation is operated by a joint venture between SK Telecom and American sports and entertainment company Comcast Spectacor.
Most of its major accolades come from League of Legends, with T1 claiming three World Championships, alongside 10 League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) titles. Outside of Riot’s MOBA title, the organisation has rosters in Dota 2, PUBG, Super Smash Bros and Rainbow Six Siege.
T1 isn’t a newcomer to the VALORANT scene. In fact, it has been competing in the North American region since 2020. The organisation was a regular within VCT 2021, competing at a range of Challenger events. In 2022, the organisation primarily took part in middle-to-lower-tier VALORANT tournaments within the region.
DRX entered the VALORANT scene in early 2022 and quickly made a name for itself as the best Korean team, as well as a fierce competitor internationally. After winning Korea’s 2022 VCT Challengers Stage 1 and 2, the organisation went on to represent the region at VALORANT Champions Istanbul, placing third in the tournament.
DRX was officially born when esports organisation Longzhu Gaming was purchased by Chinese smartphone producer Kingzone in 2018. Similarly to T1, DRX also has a well-known League of Legends division and is a one-time LCK champion under its previous name Kingzone DragonX.
The third Korean representative within VCL Pacific is Gen.G. Founded in 2017, the organisation competes primarily within Korea and houses rosters in NBA 2K, League of Legends, PUBG Battlegrounds and VALORANT.
Following a trend set by DRX and T1, Gen.G is also a former LCK champion, having won the Korean League of Legends league in Summer 2022. Despite being largely based in Asia — although the organisation does have a hub in California — its VALORANT operations took place in North America.
Throughout 2021, Gen.G’s roster competed in VCT Challengers, but failed to make it to a Masters event. This year, the organisation took part in Challenger qualifiers and other lower-tier events.
One of Japan’s two representatives in VCT Pacific, ZETA DIVISION quickly became a fan favourite due to its third-place finish at VCT 2022 Masters Reykjavík. The organisation has competed in the VALORANT scene since 2020 and has qualified for three international events, one of which was this year’s VALORANT Champions Istanbul.
Alongside domestic accolades, the organisation has also garnered large viewership figures at VCT international events. For example, despite not making it out of the VALORANT Champions 2022 group stage, ZETA DIVISION recorded the fifth-best average viewership for an organisation at the tournament, pulling in over 560,000 fans.
Outside of VALORANT, the organisation has been operating esports teams since 2018. ZETA recently announced its entry into Super Smash Bros, whilst also having rosters in Call of Duty and Fortnite.
DetonatioN Gaming is seen by many as a legacy organisation within Japan, having been in the industry since 2012. After originally being established as a Counter-Strike Online organisation, DetonatioN Gaming rose to prominence in League of Legends as DetonatioN FocusMe. Competing, and dominating, in the League of Legends Japan League (LJL), the organisation has qualified for the League of Legends World Championships on four occasions — 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022.
Within VALORANT, DetonatioN Gaming has had a rocky transition. After entering the scene in 2020, the organisation reorganised its division in 2021. Shortly after, DetonatioN Gaming came back in 2022 under the new moniker DetonatioN Gaming White, however, the organisation failed to make a significant impact. This year, the organisation made it out of Japan’s Challenger open qualifiers once.
Rex Regum Qeon (RRG)
From a Western audience perspective, Rex Regum Qeon (RRQ) may be the least known esports organisation on this list. However, the Southeast Asian powerhouse has amassed a popular fanbase across mobile esports titles, most notably Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, League of Legends: Wild Rift and PUBG Mobile. Since its formation in 2013, some of RRQ’s crowning moments include winning the 2018 PUBG Mobile Star Challenge, MPL Indonesia Season 9 (MLBB) and Wild Circuit Asian Invitational 2022 (Wild Rift).
Similarly to DetonatioN Gaming, RRG also said a brief farewell to the VALORANT scene in 2021 after releasing its Indonesian roster. However, soon after, the organisation ventured into the Philippines scene at the beginning of 2022. RRG’s biggest achievement in the VALORANT scene since the regional switch is an 8th/9th finish at VCT 2022: APAC Stage 2 Challengers.
Founded in 2016, Hong Kong-based Talon Esports is slowly becoming one of the most underappreciated organisations in Asia. With every passing year, the organisation continues to expand its operations and bolster its competitive divisions.
Alongside its two LoL World Championship appearances with PSG Talon, the organisation has achieved multiple milestones in Dota 2 and Arena of Valor. This includes reaching this year’s Dota 2 The International for the first time as well as winning 2021’s Arena of Valor World Cup. Its endeavours within Arena of Valor have even secured the organisation a naming rights deal with fast food chain KFC.
Talon Esports ventured into VALORANT in March this year before being accepted into VCT Pacific. Other titles that the organisation competes in are Overwatch, Rainbow Six Siege, Tekken 7 and Street Fighter V.
Perhaps one of the more surprising names making the list is multinational esports organisation Team Secret. The organisation is largely known for its European Dota 2 team, which has secured 3rd and 4th place finishes at The International 2021 and 2019. Outside of Dota, the organisation is the home to Brazilian Rocket League, European Rainbow Six Siege, Vietnamese League of Legends and Malaysian PUBG Mobile rosters.
For VCT Pacific the organisation will continue to represent the Philippines, having entered the VALORANT scene in 2021. Despite not making it to Istanbul this year, Team Secret did compete at VALORANT Champions 2021, making it to the quarter-finals.
Co-founded by former Fnatic Counter-Strike legend Harley ‘dsn’ Örwall in 2020, Paper Rex has become one of the emerging names coming out of Southeast Asia. Representing Singapore, the organisation competed at every available international event in 2022. What’s even more impressive is that in those tournaments Paper Rex finished 4th (Reykjavík) and 2nd (Copenhagen), before finishing the season off with a disappointing exit during VALORANT Champions’ group stage.
Despite the organisation’s disappointing conclusion, Paper Rex was still regarded as one of the best organisations not just in Asia, but internationally. As of September 2022, Paper Rex is all in on VALORANT and currently doesn’t have any other competitive esports divisions.
The final team entering into VCT Pacific is Indian representative Global Esports. Widely known as the best VALORANT organisation in India, Global Esports has collected multiple regional trophies since its entry into the scene in 2020. In 2022, the organisation took the next step and started competing in the VCT 2022 APAC Challengers ecosystem. Across the two stages, the organisation placed 19th/20th (Stage 1) and 13th/16th.
Global Esports also has multiple Indian rosters across an array of titles including CS:GO, Dota 2, Rainbow Six Siege, Apex Legends and Overwatch. The Indian organisation also has a prominent Battlegrounds Mobile India (India’s version of PUBG Mobile) roster, however, Battlegrounds Mobile India was recently banned in the country.