In an update on the Valorant esports blog, Riot announced the new slot allocation for the APAC Last Chance Qualifier, with China's slots being reallocated to Korea and Japan — including a new Japanese team following the withdrawal of ZETA DIVISION ZETA DIVISION Asia-Pacific Rank #2 .
Although an official reason was not provided for the removal of China from the qualifier — with the post referencing "logistical issues" — it is likely related to recent political pressure on Tencent, Riot's parent company and Chinese publishing partner, by the Chinese government.
While the approval of Valorant by the Chinese government has long been anticipated, with Valorant promotional accounts becoming active on Chinese social media in the past few weeks, the government's recent pressure on its large gaming publishers, including the slowing of game approvals, has seemingly stunted Valorant's previously-imminent release in the region.
In turn, China's two slots have been reallocated to Korea and Japan, with one team replacing ZETA DIVISION in the event. In a post on their website, ZETA cite previous results in Stage 2 and Stage 3 as the primary factors of their withdrawal, with the organization choosing to instead focus on the Valorant 2022 season.
The APAC LCQ slot distribution is now:
- Southeast Asia - 3
- Japan - 3
- Korea - 3
- South Asia - 1
Assuming no further alterations to the lineup, the APAC LCQ will field:
- Paper Rex Paper Rex Asia-Pacific Rank #5
- FULL SENSE FULL SENSE Asia-Pacific Rank #6
- BOOM Esports BOOM Esports Asia-Pacific Rank #15
- NUTURN NUTURN Korea Rank #2
- F4Q F4Q Inactive
- DAMWON Gaming DAMWON Gaming Korea Rank #3
- REJECT REJECT Asia-Pacific Rank #20
- NORTHEPTION NORTHEPTION Asia-Pacific Rank #8
- FENNEL FENNEL Asia-Pacific Rank #23
- Global Esports Global Esports Asia-Pacific Rank #9