Big changes are coming to the LCS this season
The League Championship Series is updating its schedule, changing the way teams are promoted and relegated from the league, and introducing a Championship Points system to decide which teams will compete at the Riot World Championships.
These changes have a common theme—making sure every match over the course of the year actually matters.
One of the biggest changes was already announced, the league’s expansion to 10 teams. The greater size means changes are coming to the schedule and the way relegation works. This season, teams will fight even harder to stay out of the bottom of the standings. For the first time a team is guaranteed to be removed from the league at the end of the season.
The tenth-ranked LCS team will fall from the league to make way for the top ranked Challenger team. The eighth and ninth ranked LCS squads will play relegation series against the next two Challenger squads, which is similar to the current format. That means the top seven regular season teams will secure spots in the next season of play.
Playoffs will remain much the same as previous splits, save for a schedule change. Playoffs will be split over three weeks, with one round played each week. That format will more closely mirror the regular season format and format of Worlds, where teams are able to prepare strategies for specific foes over the course of a week.
The regular season schedule is also getting a makeover. The season will run nine weeks, with all 10 teams playing one match on each match day. Every team will play every other team twice for a total of 18 games, down from 28 matches in 2014, setting up a more consistent schedule for both teams and viewers alike.
The Spring Split should also feature better competition now that it affects who reaches Worlds.
The Championship Point system mirrors the circuit points used in the Korean OGN leagues, designed to ensure the first season of competition is taken seriously. Teams will be awarded circuit points based off their placing in the Spring and Summer LCS splits. The winner of the Summer Split will receive a region’s first seed at Worlds, with the second seed going to the top point getter. The next four highest point getters will compete in a king-of-the-hill style playoff, the Regional Qualifier, to determine the third and final seed.