New Challengers Emerging: Women Teams at the VALORANT Champions Tour
8/13/2021, 2:45:17 AM
Game Changers is a program by Riot Games created to provide more opportunities for women and other marginalized genders to compete in VALORANT. This global initiative is unique among other esport titles in that it is an early investment specifically designed to promote diversity and inclusiveness within the esport. The goal is to develop more women-identifying players into pros and create safer spaces for these players and teams to develop.
Since Game Changers started in February of 2021, there have been multiple NA tournaments specifically for women-identifying players. These included the Knights’ Sakura Cup, Super Girl Gamer Pro Series, and Game Changers Academy. Though teams like Shopify Rebellion, TSM, and Dignitas have been dominating these tournaments, once up against Cloud9 White (C9W), it is apparent that C9W is on a completely different level. C9W has won the last two Game Changers tournaments with ease, only dropping one map in total throughout both series.
C9W has been breaking barriers for several months, entering multiple VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) qualifiers and Nerd Street Gamers events. Much to the frustration of people in the scene, C9W has been the only women’s team to compete in the NA VCT circuit. Mel of C9W has also expressed confusion as to why other women’s teams have not sought out more competitive experiences beyond women-specific tournaments. She insisted that this is vital for team growth and a reason for their own success in the Game Changers series.
Here are some all-women VALORANT teams that have competed in the VCT.
C9W reached the round of 64 by defeating Evolved Gamers 2-1 before losing 1-2 to Brimstone Gaming in the next round. Though C9W has had the most experience of the women’s teams, they haven’t always had the best of luck in the bracket. Luminosity and Soniqs were some of the teams they faced in the first or second round.
For their first attempt in the VCT qualifiers, Shopify Rebellion (SR) reached the round of 64. They first defeated Pog Champions 2-0, but then lost 0-2 to Renegades, one of the favorites to go far on that side of the bracket. SR are also one of the first women’s teams to compete in the Vanguard Championship Series (VCS), making it to the round of 16 of their premier VCS (#61). They have since competed in subsequent VCS’s and the Nerd Street Gamers Summer Championship 12th Open.
CLG Red unfortunately lost to team Hysteria 0-2 in the first round. Only recently having solidified their fifth player (Claudia), there is much potential within this team. They have previously finished second at the Game Changers #2 series.
Bob’s Girls, also known as GX3, has recently been signed. However, the organization has not yet been announced. They lost the first round 0-2 to Zero MarksMen, another team with significant competitive experience this year.
Though Europe does not yet have a dedicated Game Changers initiative, they are not short of tournaments for women and marginalized genders. Goose House Games hosted a tournament which filled all sixteen slots in just one day.
This region has also made history recently, having the first occurrence of two women’s teams competing against each other in the EU VCT Open Qualifiers for Stage 3: Challengers 2: fReya versus The Goose House Lunar.
While none of the teams qualified, this is a hopeful and progressive step as the purpose of the Game Changers initiative is to get more women and marginalized genders competing in these top-tier VALORANT events. There is a lot more work ahead, but with this last stage of VCT qualifiers, it is apparent that we are headed in the right direction.
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Lynne "drDelta" Dumeny
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