Riot Games confirmed in an official blogpost on the Valorant Esports website on February 23, 2023 that VCT Masters Tokyo will have two slots for teams from China. This comes after long speculation among the community about what the future of Chinese Valorant teams will be like after LOCK//IN is over.
The developers had announced earlier that two teams will be invited alongside the 30 franchised teams from the three international leagues for the LOCK//IN tournament. Until now, they had not spoken about the roadmap going ahead with respect to this matter.
Even now that two slots have been allocated to the region, there is no news as to what the process of qualification for the event will look like. It is not yet clear if China will have a separate self-contained league of its own, or if its teams will participate in the VCT Masters Tokyo on a similar invitational basis, as they did in the Sao Paulo event.
VCT Masters Tokyo to follow a 12-team double elimination format
The second international tournament of the year will take place between June 11 and June 25, 2023. There will be a total of 12 participating teams in this year's Masters event. The distribution, based on the regions, will be as follows:
- AMERICAS League: 3
- EMEA League: 3
- PACIFIC League: 3
- China: 2
- Winning International League of LOCK//IN: 1
The path to 2023's second international event is going to be extremely challenging. After LOCK//IN is over, teams will go back to their respective regions, where they will fight it out in the three international leagues: AMERICAS, PACIFIC, and EMEA.
The format for the EMEA League has been announced, and it will follow a round-robben format, which means all teams will play against each other before going into the playoffs. The other two leagues will also follow it in all probability.
Each of these Leagues will forward three teams for VCT Masters Tokyo, with the region winning the LOCK//IN event getting an extra seat in the tournament.
There was a lot of buzz in the community about the unlikely possibility of one of the two invited Chinese teams winning the tournament, and what that would mean for the additional seat. With EDward Gaming losing out to 100 Thieves in their Omega League match on February 23, that concern has been settled.
However, the process of qualification of the two Chinese teams for the VCT Masters Tokyo remains in the dark, and hopefully, the developers will shed some light on it soon.