LoL Esports has announced a revised format for the League of Legends Championship Series in 2021, which it hopes will help develop North America into a more competitive region on the global stage.
While the LCS will technically retain the two-split structure used by all of the top LoL esports leagues, things will look very different in 2021. According to the announcement post, “regular season records will now be combined to seed the end-of-summer LCS Championship.” This means that results from both the Spring Split and Summer Split will decide who qualifies for the LCS Championship, where teams have the chance to qualify for Worlds.
The layout of the entire season is also completely revamped. The year will begin with a mini tournament called LCS Lock In, in which all ten teams will compete against one another over three weeks to gauge who the team to beat will be. There is a $150,000 prize for the winner.
Then we move into the proper LCS season with a condensed Spring Split. There will be the same number of games as a regular split (double round robin), but the action is crammed into six weeks instead of nine. This is to make space for the Mid-Season Showdown, which will replace the Spring Playoffs.
MSS will see the Spring Split’s top six teams compete for an LCS title, as well as NA’s sole spot at MSI 2021. Yep, MSI confirmed. Huzzah.
The LCS 2021 Format and Schedule has been OFFICIALLY REVEALED!
Here’s a full breakdown of how everything works, including a new tournament: pic.twitter.com/eaRiMAJVLM
— Travis Gafford (@TravisGafford) December 14, 2020
In June, the Summer Split will begin, with all ten teams bringing their Spring records with them. This will be a triple round robin, played over a full nine weeks. At the end of those nine weeks, teams’ overall records from Spring and Summer Split will be combined.
The top eight teams will qualify for the LCS Championship, which replaces Summer Playoffs, and is slated to be held August 7-29. It will be a double-elimination bracket tournament. The winner will be awarded an LCS title, and the top three will qualify for Worlds.
All of that make sense? If not, the full announcement is here.
Whether this revised format will make any difference to the development of teams in North America remains to be seen – only Worlds 2021 will be able to tell us that.
However, it does mean that the Spring Split actually counts in a meaningful way outside of just trying to win an LCS title. LCS Championship seedings will be earned through a team’s performances across an entire season, rather than a single split.