Major EU LCS Format Changes Also on the Way for 2017
This morning has seen massive news for League of Legends teams, with sweeping changes to the LCS projected for 2017. We’ve looked at the changes for the NA region in a previous post. If you missed the NA region changes, be sure to click this link for a detailed breakdown of what this means.
The EU region will be borrowing a huge chunk of the NA region changes. Poaching protection for Head Coaches will be included, a third-party arbitration process has been introduced, and EU LCS teams will be forbidden from "promotion farming" through the Challenger Series (as expected following the NA announcement earlier in the month).
As with the NA region, the prize pool has been boosted to €200,000 per split “to recognize the overall growth of the EU LCS.” The same digital goods system is also in play, sharing a minimum of €50,000 per split. So, what’s different?
Single Broadcast, Snake Draft
One of the major changes for the EU system is to condense the LCS into a simpler, exciting product. The intention here is to address internal and external feedback that the dual simultaneous broadcasts and “lack of a clear winner” from last season was unsatisfying and “left many of us feeling unsatisfied and less engaged.”
A new snake draft system has been introduced for the EU. When each split begins, teams will be divided into two groups. Teams in each group will play each other twice, and then play teams in the opposite group once.
The teams with the highest points from the 2016 season will begin the groups as group leaders, which means G2 Esports and H2K Gaming start at the top. These two teams will begin the draft by choosing a team from the opposite group that they want to play. Next, those teams will choose a team from the opposite team that they want to play, and so on until all the matchups are completed.
Tweaks to Playoffs and Promotions
Spring and summer playoff formats remain similar to 2016. The first-placed teams in Group A and Group B will seed directly into the semifinals, while the second-and-third placed teams of A and B face each other in the quarterfinals.
There has been a substantial change to the Promotion Tournament, with only the bottom two teams from the regular season playing against the top two from the Challenger Series. A simplified format means that all matches are now best-of-five, double-elimination—win twice you’re in, lose twice you’re out.
Whichever LCS team seeds the highest will be offered the chance to pick the CS team that they want to face in round one. Winners and losers of the first round face off until a team loses two best-of-fives, at which point that team is relegated to Challenger Series. The upper-bracket match winner moves on to the LCS, and the upper-bracket match loser faces the lower-bracket match winner for the second LCS spot.
Clear as mud? You can read more information and check out infographics describing the new process at Riot’s official site. Additionally, don’t forget to read the NA LCS breakdown for more information on some of the above.
Elsewhere, check out our piece on the best League of Legends matches of 2016.