Riot Games is making some big changes to the LCS’ Academy and amateur leagues heading into 2021, the company announced today. Riot plans to create a “new tournament ecosystem” containing both types of teams to ensure they compete against each other and get a shot at being called one of the best League of Legends squads in the North American region outside of the LCS.
Both amateur and Academy teams will have a chance to qualify for the LCS Proving Grounds, which will be the end goal for any upcoming talent. They’ll be able to show off their skills and make a name for themselves to get scouted by LCS teams.
This new tournament system will be open to LCS teams, third parties, brand sponsors, and amateur teams unaffiliated with an LCS organization, according to Riot.
Academy teams will have their season run from January to February. The top six teams will qualify directly into the LCS Proving Grounds, while the last four squads will be placed into two tier-one tournaments. The best teams out of the tier-one tournaments will be seeded into the LCS Proving Grounds.
Amateur teams will have the chance to play in tier-two tournaments, where a good placing will allow them to move on to a tier-one event. The tier-two tournaments will take place during the Academy season to coincide with the teams qualifying for the tournaments from the Academy league.
The tier-two tournaments will be held by third-party organizers outside of Riot and the LCS teams. There will be multiple tier-two tournaments over the qualifying period to ensure that more teams can show off their skills in a controlled setting.
The tier-one tournaments will be held by LCS teams, sponsors, or other parties licensed by Riot. There will be three tier-one tournaments each Academy split, giving teams three shots at qualifying for the LCS Proving Grounds.
In addition to these changes, Riot has updated its guidelines on community-run tournaments and will classify them as tier-three events going forward. This simple name change should help the community understand the hierarchy of these tournaments moving forward.
LCS teams will have the opportunity to associate or own only one team that competes in tier-one or tier-two tournaments, ensuring the overall growth of the league.
Once free agency opens on Monday, Nov. 16, LCS teams have the green light to sign emerging amateur players to their LCS or Academy rosters.
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