LCS' New Format Changes, Combining Tried And True With The New
Riot has decided to iterate on their 2021 League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) format by making slight tweaks and improvements moving forward. It will combine the best of both worlds, the LCS Lock In tournament that was introduced this past season and a return of the known spring and summer splits of the past as well as other minor changes.
Lock In Tournament
The much-appreciated pre-spring split start tournament will continue being part of the LCS season. The tournament will remain unchanged, with all of the 10 LCS teams participating in it.
Nemesis snake draft will still be utilised with the 2021 LCS Championship finalists 100 Thieves and Team Liquid drafting teams into their groups for a single round-robin for the group stage. Past the group stage, the top four teams will move on to the bracket stage. Teams that finished in the bottom two of each group will be eliminated. The winner of the LCS Lock In will not only get 'bragging rights', as Riot put it, but they will receive $150,000 straight to their pockets.
LCS 2022 Season
As opposed to the 2021 season, Riot has decided that the LCS will go back to its tried and true spring and summer splits. Each split will contain eight weeks worth of play. Games will be played on Saturdays and Sundays, with two “LCS Super Weeks” that will extend playtime to Fridays, completing the double round-robin.
The matches will begin at 4pm ET / 10pm BST on Saturdays and 3pm ET / 9pm BST on Sundays, with the Friday matches beginning at 5pm ET / 11pm BST. And as opposed to the team’s records carrying over from the spring split to the summer split, each split will have its own record.
LCS Spring Playoffs will still be the top six teams from the regular season, and the LCS Summer Playoffs will add two more teams, just like the 2021 season. The winner of the spring split playoffs will represent the LCS region at the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI). The top four teams will have two lives in the bracket with the double-elimination format, while the fifth and sixth seed will start out from the lower bracket. This time around, the first seeded team will have the ability to choose their opponent from the third and fourth seed in spring.
The LCS Summer Playoffs will also remain the same, but it’ll also add the change of having the first seed choosing their side of the bracket. Like 2021, the top three finishing teams for summer will be the representatives for the region at the year’s World Championship.
Other Changes for the LCS
To top off the new changes for the upcoming LCS season, Riot will be introducing a new League of Legends server specifically for North America named Champions Queue. This server will only be accessible for high elo players in the region. Champions Queue will be located on the west coast, providing lower ping matches for North American pro players as well as other 'high-skill players who are serious about improvement', according to Riot.
Riot has never been one to shy away from experimenting with different formats specifically for the LCS. As one of the four 'main regions', the LCS has been looked at with contempt due to their placings at both MSI and Worlds in the past couple of years. Although the North American region finally broke their curse of not making it past the group stage at this year’s Worlds, with Cloud9. That hype was swiftly halted by a dominating sweep by the hands of eventual semifinalists, Gen.G.
Although these are not the wanted best-of-series changes, these new iterations for the format will look forward into the future with hope for the region.