Valorant betting: the biggest hype machine in esports right now
What is Valorant?
Valorant is the hot new esports sensation developed by Riot Games, a first-person shooter with a focus on teamplay and tactics that is heavily modeled after Valve’s classic long-running Counter-Strike franchise, most specifically its latest entry in the series, Global Offensive. Indeed, players of CS:GO will immediately feel right at home in the game, as even though the environments are more colorful and the player characters have distinct abilities, the core gunplay is very similar between the two games and it is a big part of why competitive Valorant and its esports betting component has skyrocketed in growth over the last year, with experts suggesting there’s much more to come as the developers keep adding new characters and features over time.
Indeed, the game is rapidly growing in terms of its player base and esports potential alike, and it’s no surprise that Valorant betting is of great interest to those already into wagering on competitive gaming events. Riot have always treated their games’ esport segments as their own relevant products, making sure they are smoothly run and revenue-generating enterprises in their own right, and this level of care and attention really shows when you look at the gameplay experience, the cadence of updates, the level of support and many other aspects you could be forgiven for saying Valve doesn’t deliver for Counter-Strike. The robust anti-cheat features, the notable bonus of high tickrate servers, the non-stop patches and the resources dedicated to the game’s growth all dwarf their rivals’ output and it’s no surprise that many CS:GO players have jumped ship, temporarily or permanently, to Valorant.
How is Valorant played?
As discussed above, the basic gameplay concepts are nearly identical to that of Counter-Strike: two teams of five duke it out over the control of a map featuring either two or three “bomb sites”. The attackers want to plant the bomb – sorry, to arm the Spike – and then defend it until it goes off. The in-game economy is persistent across the rounds: you get to keep your equipment should you survive the encounter and get a set amount of additional funds depending on various factors like whether you won or lost the round. Valorant betting enthusiasts constantly keep an eye out on this element of the game as your ability to properly arm yourself greatly depends on the ebb and flow of the in-game economy.
Unlike in CS, the individual player characters differ from each other, offering a set of unique abilities and playstyles to ensure that no two matches play out the same way. This wide and ever-expanding cast of characters and their myriad combat options are too complex to fully list here, but let’s just say that the players’ and teams’ preferences in character, loadout and team composition also play a huge part in Valorant betting considerations.
The games consist of two halves in Valorant, with the teams swapping sides after twelve rounds. The first team to reach thirteen rounds scored wins the game. Professional matches in the Valorant esport circuit often feature best-of-three or even best-of-five matches, played out across a map veto system that is unique to the competitive scene. A good understanding of the teams’ map preferences is also vital for getting the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to Valorant betting.
Valorant esports: what does the competitive circuit look like?
Riot Games has been hard at work to ensure that Valorant’s competitive scene becomes just as vibrant and healthy as its League of Legends counterpart, and the growth in Valorant betting and general interest in the game’s competitive scene suggests that they’ve done an excellent job at this.
The Valorant esports circuit revolves around the Valorant Champions Tour, also known as the VCT. This multi-tiered regional competition pits teams across the world against each other in a structured environment, with local tournaments feeding into massive international LAN events and the eventual global final, much like how the League of Legends competitive scene operates – and it should be of no surprise that much like in the case of LoL, Valorant esports is also closely controlled and micromanaged by Riot.
Valorant Champions Tour: an overview
The Valorant Champions Tour’s top-down system begins with regional Challengers events, with a set number of open and closed qualifiers feeding into the Challengers Finals. From here, the best teams and players qualify for the first set of international LAN events, the Masters tournaments. Strong performances there will net you a direct invite to the global finals, the Valorant Champions 2021 event.
Over the course of the competitive season, you also earn VCT points for your performances across the entire circuit, and those doing the best overall will also get a slot at the showpiece global finals even if they fail to secure one of the coveted direct invitations. The Valorant Champions events are expected to be the greatest of interest in terms of Valorant betting and viewer numbers alike.
Which are the best Valorant esports teams and orgs?
The relative newness and youngness of the competitive scene mean that Valorant betting decisions made around the prestige of the orgs in question are bound to be dodgy at best. Still, there are already standout names and early favorites to consider should you want to bet on Valorant matches, and these teams and players across the various regions are well-worth keeping an eye on when trying to determine who are the most likely victors at the big tournaments:
This region will get the joint-most slots at the Valorant Champions event, with three representatives alongside North America’s. The field is stacked and most Valorant betting experts agree that this is among the most unpredictable regions out there. Recent strong performers include Team Liquid and Fnatic, still coasting off the back of their strong performances at Valorant Masters Reykjavík, powerhouses G2 and FPX, not to mention the recent Cinderella story of Giants Gaming. Teams like Turkish outfit SuperMassive Blaze and Acend are also worth keeping an eye out on when it comes to Valorant betting.
Home of the free and the land of the biggest streamer-memers, the competitive Valorant scene in NA is pretty damn stacked, full of former CS:GO talent trying their hand at the new hotness. Sentinels remain among the best teams worldwide and are understandably among the beloved outfits for those interested in Valorant betting, with reliable deep tournament runs and massive scalps associated with ShaZaM and company. Teams like Version1, FaZe Clan, TSM and 100 Thieves also warrant a mention and should always be considered when you look to place a bet on Valorant.
Over in League of Legends, the LCS is seen as the biggest cash cow and the most profitable of the regional esports competitions, so expect North American Valorant to grow rapidly over time. The regional Counter-Strike scene has pretty much been decimated by the arrival of this game and it could be the first sign of a massive sea change to come in the industry.
The best of the rest
The CIS, Korea, Japan, Brazil, Latin America and the other regions all have their own deep talent pools to consider but they haven’t yet made a major splash on the international scene, with perhaps the exception of the Eastern European region. Korea’ NUTURN Gaming and Brazil’s Team Vikings are the real deep cuts here, but betting on Valorant without paying attention to the performances of Gambit and Na’Vi over in the CIS region is just a fool’s errand.
Valorant betting on Rivalry: the lowdow
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Valorant is the hot new esports sensation developed by Riot Games, a first-person shooter with a focus on teamplay and tactics that is heavily modeled after Valve’s classic long-running Counter-Strike franchise.
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