VALORANT Champions Tour changes promotion system for 2025 season

VCT 2025
Image credit: Riot Games

Game developer Riot Games has announced changes to its VALORANT Champions Tour Challengers and Ascension promotion system for the 2025 season.

From 2025 promoted Challenger teams will have the chance to extend their tier-one status and will no longer face automatic relegation.

ESI Lisbon 2024

Per a release by Riot Games, incoming changes will mean that Ascension teams — those competing as non-Riot-partnered sides in one of the game’s four international regions — can remain in tier-one leagues indefinitely, provided they fulfil certain performance-based criteria.

In addition, the current fixed two-year term length for Ascension teams will be scrapped. Instead, promoted teams are given a one-year term that can then be increased. Qualifying for VCT Champions will grant an Ascension team an additional year. This could differ if both Ascension teams from a single league qualify. In such a case, the better-performing of the two at Champions will earn the automatic extension.

Teams that do not earn an automatic extension, but still finish within the top eight places in their respective leagues will have to re-earn their tier-one spot by competing in the region’s Ascension tournament. Ascension teams that finish in the bottom four of their league’s Stage 2 split will be automatically relegated.

Tier one leagues will be capped at 12 teams each, meaning that this year’s Ascension tournament will see the final slot be filled. The current promoted VCT Assention teams — Gentle Mates (EMEA), Dragon Ranger Gaming (China), Bleed Esports (Pacific) and G2 Esports (Americas) — will not be affected until the end of the 2025 season.

In VCT’s tier two Challengers leagues, additional tournaments are to be introduced in an effort to provide year-long competition for teams. Previously organisations faced a months-long gap in play following Ascension tournaments and ahead of the following season. However, a third stage will be added after Ascension to plug that gap from next year. The new Challenger League tournament series is to feature both Challenger and Premier sides.

According to the release, Premier — VALORANT’s in-game path to pro feature that offers Challengers qualification — will see teams promoted every two in-game ‘Acts’. This allows promotion to sync with the tier two Challengers stages which ‘ensures the stakes for each Invite act are clear and better aligns with the Challengers calendar’, per the release.

Lee Jones