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VALORANT Champions Tour 2022 has already begun in earnest in some regions. It will officially begin in North America at the end of January with the VCT NA Stage 1 Challengers qualifying tournaments. Some changes were recently made to the format and qualification process. Games will be streamed on VALORANT’s three official Twitch channels:

The biggest change made to the format so far is that there will be two rounds of open qualifiers, each of which will feature a 128-team bracket. These open qualifiers will also be double eliminations starting from the round of 32 onwards. All matches will be best of three.

Four teams have already automatically qualified to the Stage 1 Main Event: Sentinels, Envy, Cloud9 and 100 Thieves. The first three teams represented North America at VALORANT Champions 2021, while 100 Thieves attended both Masters events and consistently placed highly in domestic competition. Thus, eight spots are still up for grabs in the Main Event, which sets the stage for 12 teams in total to compete in Stage 1 Challengers.

Sentinels’ Tyson “TenZ” Ngo, Shahzeb “ShahZaM” Khan and Jared “zombs” Gitlin pose at VALORANT Champions Tour 2021: Stage 3 in Berlin, Germany. | Provided by Riot Games

When will VCT NA Stage 1 Challengers start?

The first open qualifier for VCT NA Stage 1 will take place from January 27 to January 30. On the first two days, matches will begin at 6 p.m. EST; on the final two, matches will begin at 3 p.m. EST. The second open qualifier will take place from February 3 to February 6. On the first two days, matches will begin at 6 p.m. EST; on the final two, matches will begin at 3 p.m. EST.

All open qualifier matches will be best-of-three. Each qualifier will have four spots for the Main Event. Teams that place between 5th and 16th in the first open qualifier will be seeded #1 to #12 in the second open qualifier.

The Stage 1 Main Event will begin on February 11. Teams will be split into two groups, with each group having six teams. Matches will be played every Friday through Sunday for the following five weeks. All match days will begin at 3 p.m. EST. All of these matches will be best-of-three. The top-eight teams will advance to the playoffs.

Playoffs will begin on March 17 and will be double elimination. Matches will be played Thursday through Sunday for two weeks. All match days will begin at 3 p.m. EST. All playoff matches will be best of three until the Lower Finals and Grand Finals, which will be best of five. The two finalist teams will qualify to VALORANT Masters 1.

Will Neon be available in VCT NA Stage 1?

Neon promotional artwork
Provided by VALORANT

Neon will be available in competitive play beginning January 25, meaning she will be available for play throughout the entire event including both open qualifiers. Neon, VALORANT’s latest speedster, was released as part of the beginning of VALORANT Episode 4: Disruption. Her kit is based around fast-paced aggression and high-tempo engages, which could make for some interesting new strategies and playstyles emerging in professional play.