Sep 21, 2022
In April, we gave you a sneak preview of what VALORANT esports would look like in 2023, with the introduction of international leagues that will deliver premier-level competition between the world’s best players and top-tier organizations on a weekly basis.
In August, we expanded upon this with information on how the regional Challengers circuit would grow and give a greater opportunity for up-and-coming talent to succeed on a bigger stage. This new system would also open up a pathway for the best regional teams to compete in their respective international leagues. It took a lot of careful consideration on our part, as there were so many exemplary candidates deserving of a place, but we are now ready to reveal to you the ten teams that will join the EMEA International League in 2023!
Meet the teams!
Introducing the teams joining the EMEA International League:
- Karmine Corp
- FUT Esports
- Natus Vincere
- Team Liquid
- Vitality - established in 2013, Vitality is undoubtedly one of the biggest French esports organizations of all time, and we are excited to welcome them to the International League! Their most recent success came at the domestic level, beating MAD Lions in a dominant 3-0 victory to win VALORANT Regional League 2022 France Revolution Stage 2. Will they be able to repeat this success on the international stage?
- Karmine Corp - despite only entering VALORANT 4 months ago, KCorp have already made their mark, placing 3rd-4th at VALORANT Regional League 2022 France Revolution Stage 2, defeated 3-2 by the victorious Vitality. They will undoubtedly be hoping to get a taste of revenge against Vitality in their first season in the International League, along with finding success in this brand new challenge! Established in 2020, KCorp has quickly gathered an immense following of fans at a ridiculous scale, who will undoubtedly bring a fascinating fervor to any stadium that they fill!
- BBL - founded just two years ago in July 2020, BBL has quickly made themselves a serious contender. They showed what they were made of back in 2020 by claiming the First Strike Türkiye trophy. Last year, they won both VCT 2021 Türkiye Stage 1 Challengers 1 and Stage 1 Challengers 2 convincingly, and will hope to translate their success at a domestic level in the International League!
- FUT Esports - first stepping into esports in 2017, FUT Esports has gone from strength to strength as an organization. Their most recent success comes from a win at the VALORANT Regional League 2022 Finals, where they reverse-swept fellow International League 2023 members Vitality to take the trophy home. Last year saw a 3-0 sweep against fellow Türkiye team BBL in the finals of VCT 2021 Türkiye Stage 1 Masters, surely making FUT Esports the Türkiye team to beat next year unless BBL can find a way to rival their recent success!
- Giants - established in 2008, Giants are a colossus of Esports! Being the most decorated Spanish organization of all time, success is second nature to Giants. The team came close to international success last year before being taken down 3-1 by Team Liquid in the VCT 2021 Europe Stage 3 Challengers 2. Will they be able to conquer the final hurdle next year?
- Heretics - after recently joining the LEC, we are delighted to also welcome Heretics to the International League! Founded in 2016, they are one of the most popular organizations in Spain, and a renowned name in the tactical shooter space. Popular streamer David Cánovas “TheGrefg” Martinez is one of the owners alongside founder Jorge “Goorgo” Orejudo. In 2020, Heretics had a miracle run at First Strike Europe, beating G2 and Liquid on their way to the trophy. Last year they reached the grand finals of VCT 2021 Europe Stage 1 Masters, losing to Acend 3-2 in a neck and neck series which saw 114 rounds played!
- KOI - after being founded last year by Spanish caster and streamer Ibai “Ibai” Llanos Garatea and professional footballer Gerard Piqué, KOI have quickly made their mark. Ibai and Heretics’ TheGrefg have regularly faced off in challenges on their streams, but how will their teams fare in challenging each other? KOI’s roster currently consists of young talents and experienced minds who will be hoping to make an immediate impact on their jump to the International League!
- Natus Vincere - formed in 2009, NAVI is a household name in Esports. First entering VALORANT just over a year ago, we know NAVI are here to succeed (their name is Latin for “Born to Win” for a reason), and we look forward to finding out who will be repping their jerseys next year!
- Fnatic - an esports organization for nearly two decades, Fnatic are instantly recognizable. They won the inaugural League of Legends World Championship back in 2013, and have experienced a plethora of success across their teams. Just 3 months ago they claimed victory at VCT 2022 EMEA Stage 2 Challengers, and will hope to see those results continue in International League 2023!
- Team Liquid - founded all the way back in 2000, Team Liquid has become synonymous with every esports title it has competed in, and the same holds true for VALORANT. Winning VCT 2021 Europe Stage 3 Challengers 2 but failing to find success this year, Liquid will be looking to return to winning ways in 2023!
What did we look for in teams?
The process was incredibly competitive, and we were humbled by the interest and the overwhelming number of applications we received. The selection spanned months, including a written application, in-depth interviews, and financial reviews. Ultimately, we looked for three things in our new VCT partners:
- Organizations who share our values of always putting fans first, celebrate our diverse community, and are committed to supporting pros
- Organizations who have created a strong connection with fans through engaging content, a compelling brand, and an exciting roster
- Organizations who build for the long-term, with a focus on sustainability
It’s worth addressing directly that while we respect and celebrate past competitive performance, it was not a key consideration in our decision - as we instead focused on an organization’s ability to create the most compelling VCT for fans in the future.
We are thrilled to finally be sharing this information with you as we move into this new chapter of the competitive VALORANT scene. 2023 will be kickstarted with a bang with the commencement of Challengers Split 1 and the largest international tournament in VCT history, so get ready for all of the action - you don’t want to miss this!