The second wave of Valorant Challenger Leagues has arrived, as EMEA gets its VCLs underway. At the time of publishing, only Spain and East have begun their regular seasons.
EMEA encapsulates the most VCLs after Pacific. The region has maintained every one of its 2022 VRL regions, splitting the Spain league — which previously was the only VRL for Portugal and Italy — in order to create an Italian and Portuguese VCL, increasing the total number to nine leagues.
Of the nine leagues, MENA is the only one with information publicly unavailable at the time of publishing.
Northern Europe is, despite having the least organizations (only two out of eight teams are signed to an organization), one of the leagues with the highest skill ceiling. Polaris is only carrying over three teams from its 2022 season: who cars? who cars? Europe Rank #68 , Human Tripwires Human Tripwires Europe Rank #46 , and HSDIRR HSDIRR Europe Rank #19 (previously KOVA KOVA Inactive ). FOKUS FOKUS Europe Rank #8 — after their offseason changes that added KPZET and Lime from Denmark and the UK, respectively — are now operating in Northern Europe instead of DACH and have also been invited.
Finally, Promod (the Polaris organizers) have also extended invitations to bonk bonk Europe Rank #17 — whose newest roster includes players from several VRLs, among which are ex-FPX stand-in SEIDER and former Guild member bonkar — and Apeks Apeks Europe Unranked , which have united former FNATIC players MAGNUM , Mistic and Enzo with former FPX player ShadoW .
The final two slots were earned by VAMONOS VAMONOS Europe Rank #45 — a roster comprising of former Alliance players Nille and Zik , as well as former who cars? player sunshine — and Les Petit Bouffons Les Petit Bouffons Europe Rank #26 , a roster hosting a multitude of British talent in L1NK , Luzuh (ex-MOUZ and Rix.GG), Russ (ex-Guild) and KRAY (ex-TENSTAR).
Spain's VCL has suffered little changes when compared to the 2022 VRL. It's one of just four 10-team leagues, keeping most of its 2022 talent. Notably, Giants Gaming Giants Gaming Europe Rank #24 , KOI KOI Europe Rank #23 , and Team Heretics Team Heretics Europe Rank #6 have moved up in the competitive ecosystem and are now partnered organizations in the VCT, leaving their slots vacant for the 2023 VCL. Arctic Arctic Inactive have also apparently exited the scene, remaining teamless after dropping their 2022 roster.
Two of those four slots have been filled by AYM Esports AYM Esports Europe Rank #236 and Falcons Falcons Europe Rank #51 . Both organizations are owned and backed by Spanish football players — Aymeric Laporte and César Azpilicueta, respectively. The former have hired Circuito Tormenta players, the second tier of Valorant in Spain, while the latter have gone bigger with names such as eXerZ , KILLDREAM and synsi . The remaining two slots have been filled by smaller Spanish organizations Zeta Gaming Zeta Gaming Inactive and Ramboot Club Ramboot Club Europe Rank #234 .
The final, tenth slot, belongs to jonba 's KPI Gaming KPI Gaming Europe Rank #14 . The league has managed to retain most of its talent, barring some players leaving for the VCT or other VCLs. At the same time, notable imports include H1ber ( Team Queso Team Queso Europe Rank #40 ), saiko ( Movistar Riders Movistar Riders Europe Rank #235 ), and shéd ( Ramboot Club Ramboot Club Europe Rank #234 ).
VCL France, unlike Spain, is a 10-team VCL that is pulling most of its talent from the region it encapsulates. Team Vitality Team Vitality Europe Rank #3 and Karmine Corp Karmine Corp Europe Rank #89 have left for the VCT, and several names have dropped out of the running altogether: OG OG Inactive , Team BDS Team BDS Europe Rank #87 , Valar Morghulis Valar Morghulis Inactive , and MAD Lions MAD Lions Inactive are no longer in the French scene.
These gaps have been filled by organizations exclusively from the region: HEET HEET Europe Rank #25 , 3DMAX 3DMAX Europe Rank #209 , Zerance Zerance Europe Rank #72 , VALIANT VALIANT Europe Rank #188 , Joblife Joblife Europe Rank #53 and SBG SBG Europe Rank #34 . New and old rosters have mostly pulled from the region's pre-existing talent pools, hosting just eight imports, among them former OGLU player hype .
France has been a notable source of talent for the EMEA region, and several of those players are staying in their country to compete. The VCL France will be the stage for names such as HyP , AKUMAAAAA , TakaS , logaN , and rodeN .
Returning to eight-team leagues, DACH stands out as one of the most downgraded regions. Several big names — Kryptix , Luzuh , ozzy , elllement , DeepMans , RECIDENT and more — have flocked away from DACH in 2023 after spending the second split of 2022 and the OFF//SEASON there. DSYRE DSYRE Europe Rank #29 and Wave Esports Wave Esports Inactive are no longer a part of the league, the latter having missed registrations deadline, leaving their roster without an organization for the league and competing under “TBD”.
Unicorns of Love Unicorns of Love Europe Rank #22 have stepped into DSYRE's slot, after spending most of 2022 competing in DACH's Project V VRC. They joined the OFF//SEASON DACH: Evolution - Unity competition playoffs, placing third after losses to Ovation eSports Ovation eSports Europe Rank #37 and DSYRE. Most organizations have largely kept their rosters and/or cores, while MOUZ MOUZ Europe Rank #35 and ALTERNATE aTTaX ALTERNATE aTTaX Europe Rank #178 are notable exceptions.
MOUZ have only kept al0rante from their offseason roster, filling the gaps left by former members with the likes of Obnoks , murii , and Filu . ALTERNATE aTTaX have brought on former Giants player Ambi and bucher , formerly of FOKUS.
Turkey is another 10-man VCL in this list. The country is known as a powerhouse of EMEA talent and has benefitted greatly from Riot's new system, with many big names returning to compete in Turkey. The league has just two imports across 54 players. The VCL will also include three new organizations, one to fill FUT Esports FUT Esports Europe Rank #5 's slot as they head for the VCT, and two more to become a 10-team league: Parla Esports Parla Esports Europe Rank #10 , S2G Esports S2G Esports Europe Rank #134 , and Digital Athletics Digital Athletics Europe Rank #79 are now VCL teams.
The two imports are a part of İstanbul Wildcats İstanbul Wildcats Europe Rank #115 , who have kept braveaf from last year's roster and have added 7ssk7 . AslaN and DubzWoW , from Germany and Australia, both carry dual citizenship and are Turkish.
AslaN is part of S2G, a roster which also includes pAura , russ and former SuperMassive SuperMassive Europe Rank #13 coach 9999 , being one of the most competitive in the region. Other big names — sociablEE , Izzy , CyderX , lurzy0y0 , glovee , XiSTOU , and DeepMans — have remained in the region despite the big shuffle.
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Eastern Europe's VCL is the final 10-man league in this list, also being one of the most competitive leagues in EMEA in players and size. Eastern Europe is one of the largest regions in EMEA Valorant, going so far as to encapsulate Ukraine, Greece and even Israel.
Several rosters from 2022's VRL have kept their core: Anorthosis Famagusta Esports Anorthosis Famagusta Esports Europe Rank #50 , Enterprise Esports Enterprise Esports Europe Rank #38 , Zero Tenacity Zero Tenacity Europe Rank #58 , Diamant Esports Diamant Esports Europe Rank #20 hold at least three players from last year's roster. NOM Esports NOM Esports Europe Rank #226 have promoted their academy roster, while the organization's former roster core will keep playing in the VCL under Cyber Wolves Esports Cyber Wolves Esports Europe Rank #28 . Rapid Ninjas Rapid Ninjas Europe Rank #18 , a former VRC East: United team, has joined the VCL with the same roster.
Finally, there are two unexpected names in the East. B8 Esports B8 Esports Europe Rank #48 , a Ukrainian organization, has joined the league with a roster spearheaded by arch and Dreamas . Acend Acend Europe Rank #33 , Valorant's first world champions, have returned to competition in VCL East with MONSTEERR , musashi , and baddyG .
VCL Italy: Rinascimento is one of two new leagues, going from a VRC last year to becoming an eight-team VCL this year. DSYRE are a part of this league after a 2022 stint in DACH, returning home with the former DSYRE Elevate DSYRE Elevate Inactive roster.
Several organizations from Agents Series, last year's VRC in Italy, have transitioned to the VCL: QLASH QLASH Europe Rank #110 , Macko Esports Macko Esports Europe Rank #228 , Outplayed Outplayed Europe Unranked , and Axolotl Axolotl Europe Rank #133 are all returning to competition. WLGaming Esports WLGaming Esports Europe Rank #117 and HMBLE HMBLE Europe Rank #49 are both returning to Valorant after a year away.
The final name comes from Azerbaijan. After ditching their CIS roster in late 2021, GMT Esports GMT Esports Europe Rank #130 have recently returned to competition and now field bipo , HearthBeat , and AFoxx in a mostly-Italian roster that qualified to VCL Italy via the first LCQ.
Portugal is, akin to Italy, the second new VCL. Last year's Campeonato de Elite, the country's VRC, has become VCL Portugal: Tempest. Four former DSYRE players, who won DACH: Evolution - Unity, have joined the Portuguese competition under the GTZ Esports GTZ Esports Europe Rank #11 name. Three of Arroz Arroz Inactive ' players, a team which swept the Portuguese scene in 2022, are now a part of SAW SAW Europe Rank #7 , an organization who is now returning to the game after a year away.
The league is keeping several other names from their 2022 VRC, among which are Panthers Esports Panthers Esports Europe Rank #232 , Impulse Gaming Warriors Impulse Gaming Warriors Europe Rank #229 , EGN Esports EGN Esports Europe Rank #55 are all making a comeback. FTW Esports FTW Esports Europe Rank #202 have acquired Heracles Gaming Heracles Gaming Europe Rank #147 's slot. Fourteen Esports, a Portuguese organization, have linked up with former Masters attendees Team Vikings Team Vikings Inactive to take Old Times Old Times Inactive ' slot under a new joint name: VIKINGS Fourteen VIKINGS Fourteen Europe Rank #97 .
The final slot was acquired by EX0TIK GAMING EX0TIK GAMING Europe Rank #66 , a former Spanish Circuito Tormenta team. The slot was owned by bessa mix bessa mix Inactive , a mix team which qualified to the league but opted to sell the slot instead of participating, as some of its players were then picked up by other VCL teams.
Trailing the Pacific region in number of VCLs — EMEA has nine, whereas the Pacific has 10 — EMEA's tier 2 system is the second-largest in the current Valorant ecosystem. When compared to last year's EMEA VRLs, an extremely similar competitive system, the region has added two more by splitting Italy and Portugal into their own standalone leagues. Previously, they were both attached to and underrepresented at VRL Spain.
Besides the two new leagues, EMEA's VCLs are exactly the same as last year's VRLs, with several leagues mirroring last year's VRL or VRC prize pool.
In Split 2, the best teams of each VCL will be drafted into Challengers Ascension, the mid-summer competition that will close out the tier 2 scene. Ascension's winner will then access VCT EMEA for two years, receiving similar benefits to partnered teams and the chance to reach international events. Once those two years are up, the winner will return to their VCL.