Golden Guardians gives up NACL slot as LCS amateur scene exodus continues

One of the most hyped teams of the year is taking a step back.

Golden Guardians at the 2023 LCS Spring Split
Photo by Chris Betancourt/Riot Games via Flickr

The involvement of LCS teams in North America’s amateur scene continues to dwindle following recent changes to developmental requirements.

Golden Guardians has issued a statement announcing the organization will be opting out of the North American Challengers League (NACL) for the foreseeable future. This follows Team Liquid’s public confirmation that it would continue in the amateur league, as well as both TSM and Immortals stepping away upon Riot Games’ initial announcement that involvement of the LCS organizations in the NACL would henceforth be optional.

In the statement posted to Twitter, Golden Guardians noted that the organization, which currently has the second-place team in the LCS, is indebted to the developmental system that has allowed numerous players to develop into better talent. This move was stated to be in “the best long-term interest” of the organization, but it will continue to keep an eye on the NACL and other developmental opportunities in the future.

Golden Guardians will also be offering financial assistance to all of their players and coaching staff affected by this change, as it has not announced that any of its former NACL players or coaches will be stepping into the LCS for the upcoming Summer Split, which is set to begin on June 1 with a rematch of the Spring finals.

Team Liquid’s CEO Steve Arhancet detailed in a video yesterday that, alongside the organization continuing its involvement in the NACL, there are numerous issues within the amateur scene that make it unappealing for most LCS teams, such as convoluted ways for players to get involved and the mix of pros and developing talent. He also noted that the rest of the LCS teams are expected to make their decisions regarding their NACL futures by the end of today.

The LCS Players Association, helmed by current players across the league’s 10 teams, has also been very vocal in opposition to these changes to NACL requirements by Riot Games, placing an emphasis on how it will impact the job security of many people overnight.

Golden Guardians will appear in the first match of the 2023 LCS Summer Split on June 1, hoping to finally take down the reigning champions in Cloud9—something that has eluded them both in the Spring Finals and at MSI.


Ethan Garcia
Ethan Garcia is a freelance writer for Dot Esports, having been part of the company for three years. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Magazine Journalism from Syracuse University and specializes particularly in coverage of League of Legends, various Nintendo IPs, and beyond.