After several days of uncertainty and speculation, the North American League of Legends scene has come to an impasse.
Riot Games has today delayed the 2023 LCS Summer Split for two weeks due to the ongoing walkout, with the entire league’s player base standing up for their peers by stepping down from their positions as starters for their respective organizations.
“Delaying beyond the two-week window would make it nearly impossible to run a legitimate competition, and in that case, we would be prepared to cancel the entire LCS summer season,” Global head of League Esports Naz Aletaha said. “Carrying this forward, if the LCS summer season is canceled, this will also eliminate LCS teams qualifying for 2023 Worlds. I want to be clear: That is not an outcome we’d want, but it’s, unfortunately, the reality of ensuring we run a fair, competitive global system.”
This major delay is a huge moment in not only competitive League history but for esports as a whole since it represents one of the first significant acts of collective action for the industry.
The decision to walk out was prompted by the LCS Players’ Association after the NA league removed a mandate that required all LCS organizations to field tier-two rosters in the region’s Challengers League.
On Sunday, May 28, all 50 LCS players participated in a poll to decide whether they’d like to walkout from the league, a vote which “overwhelmingly passed” among the player base. As a result, opening day was compromised with none of the LCS teams able to field a roster before the start of the festivities.
Riot tried to apply various band-aids to allow LCS opening day to continue forward, including the reported removal of the league’s ranked restriction, which would have allowed any players to play in the league, no matter their League rank.
LCS orgs were also reportedly reaching out to collegiate teams to see if they could sign their rosters as possible “scab lineups” to temporarily fill their rosters while the main lineups were still not stepping on stage. These collegiate squads stood alongside their peers by declining all offers from major organizations, including those headed to Los Angeles this week for the 2023 Collegiate League Championship Final Four.
As the league remains in limbo, LCS fans can only wait patiently until Riot and the LCSPA come to an agreement that is amicable for both parties moving forward.