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League of Legends
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Should the NA LCS format be changed?

The League of Legends World Championship group stages will officially kick off on October 10, a tournament that will make careers and create historic moments, which are few and far between for North America unless your name is Cloud9. lol_worlds_initial-300x169.jpeg Once again a controversial topic has risen up the ranks with the common question being asked...

Does North America send its best teams?

Team Liquid, 100 Thieves and Cloud9 will be representing North America at the 2018 World Championship and, whilst on paper this is a solid lineup, 100 Thieves is at the centre of the controversy as many fans believe the rosters of Echo Fox or TSM respectively would have been a more ‘exciting’ option to watch at Worlds.

“The first thing I thought was that it was our fault as we sent C9 to the gauntlet, but I do believe that us, C9 and TSM are the three strongest teams right now.” - Peter ‘Doublelift” Peng

To say that the community did not have faith in 100 Thieves would be an understatement; not only was the team struggling to overcome stronger opposition whilst in-game, the organisation was in a constant PR battle out of it. Through poor player management to a lack of information, the team was on a downward trajectory.

“If you look throughout the entire season, the only two teams 100 Thieves beat were FlyQuest and Clutch” - Mark Zimmerman

At the end of the day, 100 Thieves did what they had to do to earn a spot at Worlds. They were a consistent top four team throughout the entire season, qualifying through Championship Points an indication of their consistency. They may have not been the best team but they were definitely consistent and that is an accolade nobody can take away from them despite their issues.

Time For A Change: Introducing The New LCS Summer Playoff Bracket

In a recent episode of the League of Legends podcast Hotline League, FlyQuest Academy Jungler William ‘Meteos’ Hartman, Travis Gafford and NA LCS analyst Mark Zimmerman discussed in detail the possibility of introducing a new system into the NA LCS Summer Split to eradicate teams qualifying through championship points. “One of the ideas that was brought up was making the playoffs a double elimination bracket, so the gauntlet is in conjunction with the playoffs with teams getting slotted into different positions as they get eliminated from playoffs,” said Zimmerman. I have followed up this idea with a blueprint for how this playoff system would function. The main idea surrounding the change is to improve the integrity of the teams North America are sending to the World Championships, with teams battling for seeding by earning their spot in either the Grand Finals or Regional Qualifiers Final. Ginx-bracket-300x169.png The Summer playoffs would be a Double-elimination tournament, the upper half of the bracket the same format that fans are accustomed to, however, the losers in both quarter-finals and semi-finals matchups are slotted into the Regional Qualifiers bracket (losers bracket). The changes to the format will also improve the hype surrounding finals weekend – the Grand Finals will determine the #1 and #2 seed, with the final spot being up for grabs in the Regional Finals. This will improve the integrity as the top teams are forced to win a Best of Five against another top team in order earn a spot in the latter stages of the tournament. This comes after 100 Thieves were unable to beat a top-four team in the Summer Split but were able to qualify through earning enough Championship Points. Whilst this would be a fresh start for the Summer Split, there would be a glaring question: What would happen to Spring Split?

In My Opinion:

If Championship Points were to be removed from the LCS with only the Summer Split deciding the participants for the World Championship, a massive void would be left in the Spring split as only the winner would be benefiting. It would be a massive task to completely change the dynamic of the 2019 Spring Split in one gigantic overtake, my opinion is that the Spring Split should be primarily for new teams to settle into the league with roster changes expected to occur heading into the Spring Split. top4-300x168.jpg This would be an opportunity for teams to grow and to try new strategies and find out their identities in a competitive environment, an opportunity which is currently not offered to them. The playoff would remain the standard six-team single elimination bracket, with the winner heading to MSI. However, for finishing second through to fourth those teams will get the opportunity to represent NA at Rift Rivals. This would be a fantastic opportunity for the top teams to race ahead of the pack, define and create innovative styles that set them apart from the other regions. The Spring Split would allow the top teams to create a foundation in which they can build upon moving into the Summer Split. Whilst having the opportunity to have some international experience before the World Championship. Whilst this is only a rough idea, this new system would offer a breath of fresh air to the North American LCS. One of the major talking points for the best teams is their ability to develop and hone their own style. With the Spring Split, you often find teams having to scramble to find a winning formula that sticks. This new format would allow teams to experiment more and find different ways of playing the game.