Following on from reports - Riot have finally confirmed the LCS changes for 2020.
With League of Legends Season 10 kicking off this week, the return of pro play is not far away. In fact, Riot Games has revealed that North America’s LoL Championship Series (LCS) will kick off on Saturday, January 25 with a plethora of changes to the broadcast and format.
Not only are there fresh faces in NA with organisations Immortals, Dignitas and Evil Geniuses all returning to competitive LoL but the entire landscape of the league has changed with the removal of Championship Points and a Regional Qualifier.
Instead, Worlds qualification will rely solely on the Summer Split Playoffs though that bracket has now been opened to the top eight seeds from the regular season and has a double elimination bracket to ensure teams are given a fair chance.
The full bracket can be seen in the image above but the short of it is the top two teams get a bye into the second round of the winner’s bracket with first place choosing their opponent out of the two winners from the previous round. The winners of those subsequent series will then face off with the winner going straight into the final while the loser will have to take on the winner of the Losers Bracket to decide who will compete in the final though both they and the first confirmed finalist will have already secured a place at Worlds.
The Spring Split Playoffs will also feature a Losers Bracket but will only be open to the top six seeds from the Regular Season. There will be no Championship Points available so the only real beneficiary is the team who finishes first as they will attend the Mid Season Invitational. Though of course, second and third will have the chance to compete at Rift Rivals.
On top of that, the broadcast schedule has been overhauled as matches will also be streamed on Monday thanks to a new show called Monday Night League (MDL) which will steam the two marquee match-ups of the week, starting at 5:30pm PT. The LCS will still see five games streamed on Saturday and Sunday evenings but the fifth game each evening will be an Academy game to give rookies more exposure and stage experience.
And the additional broadcast time for the Academy League doesn’t end there either as Riot is introducing a new Friday night show titled Academy Rush. Five Academy games will still be broadcast on Friday nights but in an intriguing twist the first four games will be played simultaneously with shoutcasters and analysts jumping between all four to bring the highlight moments from each game before the fifth and final match is streamed in full. There will also be another three Academy games played on-stage every Monday before MDL starts.
With the LCS coming under fire for the lack of opportunities NA rookies face, it will be fascinating to see if these changes can help foster new talent. If the youngsters want to know what they should aspire for, they will want to tune in to MDL’s heavyweight line-up in Week One on January 27 as Evil Geniuses square off with 100 Thieves before Team SoloMid try to take down Team Liquid.