Riot’s North American pro-scene makes a comeback in 2021
By Nevan Shum
As we near the last quarter of the year, major e-sport tournaments are kicking off left and right. Both games from Riot Games, Valorant and League of Legends, have their final and most important tournaments of the year. These competitions have massive prize pools of millions of dollars and trophies specified for winning that year. The creators of the Worlds trophy, Thomas Lyte, list that their trophy is made of brass and silver plate with 24 carat gold accents.On one hand, we have the League of Legends Worlds tournament, the most important League of Legends tournament of the year. These tournaments will start on Oct. 5 and end on Nov. 6, and they take place in Reykjavík, Iceland.
Because North America is a major region for any professional video game scene, they are often spoken about even in other regions and countries. Despite this, North America has only seen the semi-finals, reaching third and fourth place in the World Tournaments.
This year, we see teams who won in the North American League Championship Series (LCS), 100 Thieves, Team Liquid, and Cloud 9 participating in Worlds 2021. Of these three, Cloud 9 is the most famous in the League scene for making it into the semi-finals during the 2018 Worlds Championship and winning half a million dollars. Although these three teams did make it into Worlds, the best North American team by first-place results in LCS. TeamSoloMid lost to Cloud 9 this year.Meanwhile, Valorant’s final competition, Champions, is the tournament that decides who the world champions are for the 2021 year. The tournament is set to start on Dec. 1, and end on Dec. 12. This event’s location is set in Berlin, Germany, only a couple of weeks after Worlds, which is surprising given that both tournaments are important final tournaments.
However, before teams can enter Valorant’s Champions Tournament, they must progress through Valorant’s Masters Tournament. This is because the Masters Tournament decides which teams enter the Champions bracket. Currently, the highest ranked North American team, Sentinels, and the second-best by points, Team Envy, are qualified to enter Champions. Because of North America’s large representation, they qualify for three teams. The third team is still to be determined, however, from the remaining ten North American teams participating, the one with the most points for the qualifying tournament currently is 100 Thieves.Of these three teams with the most points so far, Sentinels have been agreed upon as the best team in the world. After winning the first two Masters tournaments, the Sentinels were the fan favorites leading into the most recent Masters tournament, Masters Berlin. Unfortunately for Team Sentinels’ fans, in the third Masters tournament in Berlin, Sentinels were swept by a fellow North American team, Team Envy. Team Envy would finish in second place during this tournament, securing their spot in Champions, but Gambit, a Russian team, surprised the world and won, earning their place in the Champions tournament.
Both events — League of Legend’s Worlds and Valorant’s Champions — occurring at the end of the year brings excitement to all Riot fans, and although in-person viewership is still not allowed, Riot still brings entertainment to their fans every year.
FEATURED IMAGE (at the top of this post): Riot Games Headquarters in Los Angeles [PHOTO CREDIT: wikimedia.org]