The second anniversary of VALORANT will happen in less than a week, to be precise, on June 2. We have witnessed some of the game’s greatest moments, from Sentinels cementing their position as the first Masters champions to upsets happening left and right. Some say it adds to the excitement that there has never been a clear favorite in the game.
Looking back throughout these years, there was one particular match that should be remembered.
Gambit Esports vs. Acend – VALORANT Champions 2021
The most prestigious VALORANT tournament in 2021
When Riot Games revealed the 2021 VALORANT Esports roadmap, it was clear that they wanted VALORANT Champions to be the apex of the season, similar to the prestige of The International in Dota 2. Featuring a two-week-long tournament with the top 16 teams from around the world in attendance, VALORANT Champions attracted more than millions of viewers to tune in to a game that is still relatively new.
In addition to the US$1,000,000 prize pool, fifty percent of the sales from the VALORANT Champions Collection skin line went to the sixteen participating teams. According to Upcomer, Riot Games made US$18.72 million in revenue from VALORANT Champions skins, which means teams who competed earned US$585,000. The participants’ portion of the revenue from the VCT Champions skins, $9.36 million, was distributed equally among every team.
That’s why the stakes were higher than ever before, leaving many to wonder who would be crowned the first VALORANT global champion.
With a peak viewership of 1,08m, according to Esports Charts, the competition still hold the title as the most popular VALORANT event to date, topping the previous record set by the first-ever Masters event hosted in Reykjavík, Iceland, in May of last year by a mere 3,218 viewers. Japanese-speaking viewers also dominated the viewership figure, highlighting VALORANT’s continuous growth in Asia despite their favorites, Crazy Raccoon, getting knocked out early in the group stage.
The grand final match between Gambit Esports and Acend, which went the distance, was the pinnacle of the season. And for both fan bases, the final definitely did not disappoint. The five-map thrillers demonstrated how each player’s experience, hours of training, and preparation culminated on that day to cement their position as the most dominating in all of 2021.
The downfall of the once-unrivaled NA squad
KRU Esports pulled the greatest upset in VALORANT history by knocking out Sentinels after coming back from losing their own map pick to send one of the top teams at VALORANT Champions home. From that moment on, everybody knew that a new trophy lifter would be at the event. Sentinels were regarded as one of the most dominant teams in the entirety of North America, while KRU Esports had a sizable following. Combine those and you get one of the most-watched series in VALORANT history.
Next, Masters will take us to Copenhagen
In contrast to the previous four offline events held by Riot Games, the upcoming Masters in Copenhagen, Denmark will be filled with supporters to cheer on their favorite teams. The best teams from each region’s Stage 2 Challenger events will meet in Denmark. Set to take place from July 10-24, the tournament will feature twelve teams competing for VCT circuit points, prizes, and glory. Riot Games has yet to disclose venue and ticket details.
Cover photo courtesy of Lance Skundrich/Riot Games