Valorant in 2020: Paving the Way Forward
2020 was not the best year for numerous reasons. The one thing that did excel, though, was esports. Valorant came, saw, and conquered as the emerging esports title across the world. 2021 is here and things can only get better from here on out. The Valorant Champions Tour is on its way, players are trying their hand at Riot Games’ first-person shooter, while organizations are becoming more and more interested in entering Valorant. While everyone is looking to the future, join us in cataloguing Valorant in 2020, sharing important moments and dates that saw Valorant take the spotlight.
On March 1, 2020, Valorant was officially announced. Teased in October of 2019 as Project A, March saw its official reveal. The name was given, a YouTube video of Alpha gameplay was uploaded, and Riot Games’ very own first-person shooter became a reality.
April 7, 2020 is a day everyone remembers, whether fondly or harshly. The Valorant closed beta period began on this very date. Certain players and streamers were given access to the game. Everyone else had to watch those streams and keep their fingers crossed for a beta code of their own. Once an interested player obtained their beta code, it was off to the races.
Your premier Valorant coverage site went live on this date. That’s right, April 21, 2020 saw the creation of Run It Back. Since that point, Run It Back has been lucky enough to provide Valorant fans with guides, breaking news, and competitive event coverage. The site was even given press privileges during First Strike that allowed for an incredible set of player interviews including Boaster, Hiko, and loWel, among others.
The first high profile tournament for Valorant in 2020 took place on this date. The T1 x Nerd Street Gamers Invitational gave a glimpse of what competitive Valorant would become. If a bit of nostalgia is kicking in, check out Run It Back’s write up of the event that saw Gen.G Esports take the cake.
June 2, 2020 saw the full release of Valorant. After a short period of downtime, Valorant became available for anyone and everyone that wanted to play it. Ascent, the fourth map in the rotation, went live along with the game’s full release. This was the moment the world was waiting for. Little did anyone know, it would be the launching point for a remaining 2020 filled with success.
Alongside the release of the game, Reyna was added to the ever-growing list of Agents. The Mexican Duelist brought a brand new, selfish way to dominant Valorant.
The Ignition Series was announced on June 16, 2020. It would not be a Riot hosted event, but rather a Riot sponsored event. The goal was to spotlight some tournaments and build global recognition for competitive Valorant. The Ignition Series saw events held around the world with Riot’s blessing and made sure Valorant esports was not left by the wayside.
After a wildly fulfilling launch, competitive matchmaking finally arrived. The rank of Radiant replaced the highest rank previously known as Valorant in the beta. A surrender option also came along. This was all a part of patch 1.02. The competitive mode remains the highlight of Valorant play months later, even as it receives changes here and there.
Deathmatch, Deathmatch, Deathmatch! One of the most highly sought after features was added to Valorant on August 4, 2020. The Deathmatch mode gave players a way to warm up. No longer did players have to sit through an entire unrated game in order to get their fingers hot and ready for ranking up in competitive.
As well, Killjoy became a member of the roster. She completely changed the game. With another Sentinel Agent added, the meta shifted. Teams were forced to try her out, find counters, and continue growing just as Valorant did.
Outside of the actual release, September 23 may be the biggest date for Valorant in 2020. Riot Games announced the next steps for Valorant esports. First Strike was revealed. Riot Games’ signified their involvement and how ready they were to dive right in to competitive Valorant. The global effort had everyone on the edge of their seats for months to come.
October 13, 2020 saw another new map added to Valorant. It would not immediately enter competitive matchmaking, but unrated players were able to give Icebox a try. The frozen tundra of Icebox would quickly become one of the most controversial pieces of the game. Players either hate it or love it. There is no in-between. Nevertheless, Icebox was a blessing for best-of-five encounters as the decider map (fifth) did not have to be one of the four previous maps played.
Patch 1.11 was originally released on this date and, boy, was it a doozy. It saw the most recent Agent added to Valorant, Skye. Icebox entered the competitive queue. Several buffs and nerfs took place. And then a load of bugs and issues were found with it. In the middle of NA First Strike qualifying competition, Riot Games decided to roll patch 1.11 back. The glitches were simply too serious, forcing Riot to have a look at the update once again.
After the rollback of patch 1.11, November 2 saw it reenter Valorant in a more stable condition. Skye was finally implemented. Riot Games indicated that they had learned from their mistakes. This was a moment of growth for everyone involved. It showed that the community can trust Riot Games and that Valorant was in good hands.
Before First Strike even took place, Riot Games was looking to the future of Valorant esports. It pulled the trigger on the Valorant Champions Tour. The entirety of 2021 will be filled with competitive Valorant, from Challengers events, Masters events, to the Champions finale. If things get back to normal, there is hope for a massive international LAN tournament to decide a global Valorant Champion by the end of 2021.
First Strike, the biggest tournament for Valorant in 2020, began worldwide. Multiple regions saw intense qualifiers that would lead to even more intense main First Strike events. The competition was fierce and was truly just the beginning for Valorant esports.
Just a few days later and First Strike was over. Each region crowned its champion after a grueling weekend of battle. Esports has rarely seen something on such a global scale. With a pandemic raging many nations, Riot Games made this online event everything it should have been and more. Congratulations again to all the First Strike winners – Team Heretics, 100 Thieves, forZe, BBL Esports, Vision Strikers, Absolute JUPITER, EXO Clan, and Gamelanders.
Those were the most important dates for Valorant in 2020. The first-person shooter brought new eyes to esports, shook up scenes around the globe, and is nowhere near its peak.
Stay tuned to Run It Back as 2021 continues. Be on the lookout for the very best in guides, news, event coverage, and more!
Brandon "Mothman" Moore
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