Shortly after their MSI announcement, Riot - more specifically the LEC - have announced that LEC Playoffs will be held in a LAN environment.
This means that European LoL pros are back in the studio after more than a year.
OUR PROS ARE BACK IN THE STUDIO FOR PLAYOFFS!— LEC (@LEC) March 12, 2021
More Info: https://t.co/W1jpDCcVxQpic.twitter.com/hOpY5bMbKG
In a typically on-band teaser video (read: tongue-in-cheek), Trevor "Quickshot” Henry and crew confirmed that the upcoming playoffs for the LEC are going to be held on-site in the studio.
This marks the first time LEC games will be played in-person in over a year - 370 days, to be precise.
(Picture: Riot Games)
In a more official announcement made on the LoL Esports website, Head of Esports for League of Legends in Europe and MENA, Maximilian Peter Schmidt, stated: “Playoffs provides us with a unique opportunity to return to the studio as only two teams will be required to be on-site per day.”
Sadly, the Summer Split matches will have to move back online as having 10 teams in the studio at once presents a “significantly higher risk and challenge.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic still affecting many countries around the globe, meeting in person, let alone competing, has proven to be exceptionally difficult.
Fortunately for esports fans, the ability to shift matches online has been a lifeline to tournaments. Even so, the stability, environment, and reliability of LAN have been sorely missed (just see how frustrated G2 players were after their internet issues during their first regular-season match against arch-rivals Fnatic).
With that in mind, moving back to LAN for the all-important Playoff games is great news. Of course, if any player turns out positive for COVID-19 during the Playoffs, then the match they would have played will move back online. As expected, there will be no live audience, as it is simply too risky.
LEC Playoffs are scheduled to begin on the 26th of March - live from the LEC studio in Berlin, no less.