Next week the League of Legends Championship Series Season 3 competition will begin on Thur., Feb. 7. Eight North American teams will compete weekly in a two part series on Thursdays and Fridays while in another division eight European teams will compete on Saturdays and Sundays. Eventually the best of these teams will work their way into play offs that lead to the coveted Summoner’s Cup in the second ever World Championship.
With the approaching Esports action there’s a lot of questions on fans minds. Read on to get a better idea of how the LCS season 3 is going to work and get answers to your competitive LoL scene questions.
There will be 8 teams in the NA division and 8 teams in the EU division. Three teams from each division earned their spot during season 2. For NA those 3 lucky teams are Team SoloMid, Counter Logic Gaming, and Dignitas. For EU the top three teams are Moscow Five, CLG.EU, and SK Gaming.
The Qualifiers for season three were held recently in January for both the NA and EU divisions to select the additional 5 teams for each division. NA has Team FeaR, Good Game University, Curse Gaming, The Brunch Club, and team MARN joining the season. EU will include DragonBorns, GIANTS! Gaming, against All authority, Copenhagen Wolves, and Fnatic.
Why only 8 teams?
With 2 games set-up for each week in the season having only 8 teams in each division seems a little sparse compared to the large roster of teams sports fans are used to in football and baseball. The reasoning comes down to the fact that Esports is truly an international organized sport. While there are only 8 teams in the NA division there are also 8 teams in the EU division and when things get down to the playoffs we’ll be looking at teams from Asia as well. Also teams from partnered competitions like MLG will have a chance to join the season as well later on.
Although 8 teams might not seem like much in the first half of the season each team will get to play against all seven of the other competing teams. In total each team will get to play 28 games allowing them to play four games against each team and followers will get to know everyone. Fans will also be able to size up the competition for themselves, see teams develop; pick favorites etc. comparable to other professional broadcast sports leagues instead of just seeing teams work their way up the bracket of one series of games.
So how exactly does the LCS work?
Riot’s season 3 is going to be a lot different than the previous seasons and has earned itself a new name to welcome the changes, ‘League of Legends Championship Series’. Riot games is sponsoring two division for the series, one for NA and another for EU in which 16 teams have salaried positions as pro teams. The season itself is split into roughly two halves.
The first half of the LCS regular season runs from Feb. 7-April 20. This is where each team gets to play one another during weekly matches. These games will include interviews, stats, and in-depth analysis of the teams and matches. During this first half the top 6 teams will be determined in each division.
These 6 teams will then compete in a playoff tournament. This mid-season playoff will weed out some of the weaker teams and determine who will be moving on to the second half of the season and get that much closer to the Cup. This promotion tournament will also see some teams that have done well in non-LCS tournaments like MLG etc. get a chance at the championship.
Separating the two halves of the season is the All-Star break. Top teams from all around the world will be showcased during these games. Presumably these games will include teams from the OGN league or elsewhere not in the Riot sponsored divisions. The consequences of winning or losing these games is not yet revealed but presumably it will not affect teams actual standing in the season and is primarily to get NA and EU audiences familiar with other region's teams and to prevent the mystery shrouding foreign teams complained about in season 2.
The second half of the LCS regular season from June 1 through August 31 gets down to the wire. The second half will follow the same structure as the first with each of the remaining teams competing against one another in weekly matches with reset standings. This half of the tournament will allow the teams to improve their standings to qualify for the World Playoffs and Championship.
What about the Asian teams?
Riot’s sponsored LCS only includes 2 divisions from NA and EU. It’s unclear why other regions were excluded but it could have something to do with a previously established series in Asia. The OGN League has been broadcasting competitive league play longer than the formal Riot seasons for LoL hence there may have been a conflict of interest.
Nevertheless the Asian teams will most likely still be seen during the All-Star break and the World Championship although what the comparative qualification for the teams will be is TBA. A circuit point system has been mentioned for some. Traditionally Riot has split the regions into NA, EU, Asia, and an ambiguous ‘the rest of Asia’ which incorporates East and South East Asian countries like Singapore. So the Asian teams like Azubu Blaze/Frost and TPA that became fast favorites during season 2 won’t be left out.
Perhaps for political reasons, or maybe even to garner a fan base for NA and EU teams that won’t be overshadowed by the established Asian gaming community, they are competing in their own regional tournaments but will be included in the world title.
When and Where?
The season starts Feb.7 and will finish up on Aug. 31 before the World Championships. NA teams will be playing weekly matches on Thursdays and Fridays. EU teams will be playing Saturday and Sundays. VODs of the matches will be available via a spoiler free Riot webpage. The HD streams will be available on Riot’s website and most likely on Twith TV’s Esports channel. Logging on to the League website or client on a game day will direct you to the action and keep you up to date on times, brackets, etc.
Tune in next week and be a part of Esports and “League of Legends” history for the League of Legends Championship Series, Season 3.