International League of Legends tournaments are getting a facelift in 2023, with the Mid-Season Invitational and World Championship both receiving changes to their formats for the new competitive season.
Riot Games has revealed its extensive plan to completely alter League’s two biggest tournaments by giving fans more high-stakes matches and best-of series.
Between double elimination coming to MSI, a complete overhaul of Worlds groups (and play-in stage), as well as the addition of a totally new, Western-exclusive last-chance match to get into Worlds, the international scene is getting completely revamped this year.
Here are all the changes that are currently on the table for professional League’s international tournaments in 2023.
Changes to the Mid-Season Invitational
The Mid-Season Invitational will be getting its format altered to reflect the restructuring of minor regions around the world.
This year, no representatives from Oceania, Turkey, or the CIS will be directly invited to the tournament. Instead, one team from the LLA, CBLOL, LJL, PCS, and VCS will be invited, while the four major regions of competitive League (China, Korea, Europe, and North America) will get two representatives at MSI each.
Eight of the 13 teams at the tournament will start off in the play-in stage, while the other five teams—including the four major region champions and Korea’s number two seed—will await the advancing teams in the bracket stage. The bracket stage of MSI will look drastically different moving forward, as eight teams will advance to the final stage of the tournament, whereas in years past, only four teams reached the bracket stage.
Additionally, the bracket stage of MSI will feature double elimination, which is something no international League tournament has featured in the past.
“MSI is an opportunity for fans to evaluate the relative strength of teams and regions at the midway point of the season,” Riot said in its mega Jan. 10 update. “With this new competitive format, we hope to better deliver on that opportunity, as well as showcase more exciting best-of series, and allow for more player stories to unfold.”
A new stage is added prior to Worlds
Prior to the play-ins of Worlds beginning, a new stage of the tournament called the “Worlds Qualifying Series” will be held. The “WQS” is a single best-of-five match between the fourth seed out of the LCS and the fourth seed from the LEC. The newly added match is likely the result of the western League fanbase calling for more matches between EU and NA after the two regions only played each other once in the last three years.
Worlds play-ins gets the bracket treatment
The Worlds play-in stage will undergo a massive change this season with the introduction of dueling brackets that result in two teams advancing to the main event. “Groups” in the play-ins will be done away with completely in order to bring about more high-stakes best-of matches between teams competing at Worlds’ initial phase.
Teams who qualify for the play-ins will be slotted into a bracket full of best-of-three matches that eventually result in the top two teams advancing beyond play-ins.
Riot shakes up Worlds group stage format
The group stage of the World Championship has been one of the longest-standing traditions in competitive League. In 2023, though, that format will change entirely; the group stage will transition to a Swiss-style tournament stage.
A Swiss-style tournament pits teams against each other until either three wins or three losses are achieved. Teams who accrue three wins will advance to knockouts and teams who lose three games will be eliminated from Worlds. Swiss formats also ensure teams with identical records at the tournament will always play each other. For example, a team with a 1-0 record cannot play a team with an 0-1 record in the second round of a Swiss-style event.
The first eight teams to rack up three wins in the Swiss stage of Worlds will advance to the knockout stage of Worlds.
No changes will be coming to the knockout stage of Worlds 2023. Per Riot’s release, an eight-team, single-elim bracket will remain in place for this year’s tournament.