League of Legends Championship Series breakdown: eSports history in the making
For all you League of Legends fans out there (myself included), the moment we’ve been waiting for since the announcement of the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) is almost upon us; that moment is the opening of the regular season on February 7th. This series will be both monumental to LoL and eSports as a whole. Now with professional teams, fans will be able to watch their favorites battle one another for the ultimate prize of millions of dollars and the Summoner’s Cup.
Season 3 will be split into a two-part regular season. The first half will run from February 7th to April 20th. The second half will pick up June 1st to August 31st. Between the two halves there will still be excitement, though. A mid-season playoff will pit the top six teams from each division against each other for prizes and to see who the best team is at that point in time. There will also be an All-Star Break with the best players competing' along with break-type shenanigans.
The League of Legends Championship Series will consist of eight teams from North America and eight teams from Europe. These teams will be separated into divisions and will compete in a regular season. At the end of the second half of the season, the top teams will compete at the World Championship event. While the LCS will be following the best teams in NA and Europe, the World Championships will consist of the top teams from other regions in the world. Cross-regional play will not be a thing in the LCS besides the All-Star break. There is the potential for teams from other divisions to play each other during IPL, MLG, and ESL.
The top three teams from Season 2 automatically secured a place in the LCS for both divisions. In North America, these teams were TSM, Dignitas, and CLG.na. In the Europe division, the top teams were M5.BENQ, SK Gaming, and the members that formally made up team CLG.eu. The groupings will also be joined by the top five teams from their live qualifier. These teams will face the established teams to make their name known in the League via 5v5 match ups. These teams will play a total of 28 games. Four of these bouts will be against the other seven teams in their division during both halves of the season. Riot didn’t just pick the teams to compete because they were trying to be fair, “Scumbag Riot :(“
The circuit standings as of current are below:
Substitute players WILL be allowed on amateur teams. Teams will be required to have two subs on them and will be able to rotate players like other professional sports via trades and free agents. While there will be a roster lock, the information on that will be released at a later time. Players need to be 17+ years old due to the American Standard, since these players will be living and traveling as a team. No TV spots have been planned thus far since Riot is focusing on HD web streaming. Sadly, there will not be mobile-friendly functionality from the beginning. However, RedBeard did confirm that it is something he is pushing towards. The site was a higher priority than mobile.
If you're a fan of LoL and the LCS, this next part will be exciting; the North American teams will face each other on Thursdays and Fridays while the European teams duke it out on Saturdays and Sundays. All of the weekly matches will not only be aired live, but they will also be shown for FREE in HD. It doesn’t stop there, there will be stats, interviews, and expert analysis. So basically, the fun days of the week just got a whole lot better. I can see myself having friends over, drinking and watching the LCS after a long work week -- even while possibly playing League of Legends. There will also be VODs of the matches. Magus is even making a new website just to host all of Riot’s VODs.
During the “down time” between the two halves of the season, there will be plenty going on for fans to keep following and watching. There will be an intricate mid-season bracket style playoffs during this time. While this tournament doesn’t decide who gets the Summoner’s Cup, it will have the top six teams in each division battle to see if they remain in. The top two teams will get a bye while the 3rd through 6th teams will grapple for wildcard spots. While the winners will advance to play the top two teams, the losers will struggle to stay in it. They will be matched up against the cutthroat stars of the amateur ranks to keep their spot or lose it all.
Once that mid-season tournament is over and we know which teams are the best at this point, there will be an All-Star break. At this event, the BEST players from around the world will get together to assemble into regional teams to compete against one another in tournament style play. The Riot staff said the “stakes will be high,” but that’s all they hinted at as far as prizes and rewards are concerned.
It’s safe to say that I’m incredibly excited about all this. I’m going to watch the HELL out of the LCS and the VODs that I miss. Even if you are not a League of Legends fan, it’s difficult to ignore how large this will be for eSports, especially in North America and Europe. Is it safe to say LoL is a sport now? I’m excited to see how this beast develops, the trends that form, the traditions that evolve, and of course the plays -- never forget the plays.
Historian, teacher, writer, gamer, cheat master, and tech guru: follow on Twitter @AndrewC_GZ