Riot is adding a worldwide circuit of region-versus-region tournaments to its international competition docket, according to the official announcement from Riot today.
Imagine a world where we can confidently say that NA is better than EU, or vice versa, rather than vaguely guessing based on each year’s Worlds or MSI results. Imagine a world where the Flash Wolves, AKA the Korean Slayers, can square up in a tournament against the LCK’s top four teams. That’s what we may be headed towards, and it sounds amazing.
The tournament, called Rift Rivals, is a region vs. region grudge match, and it’s being held in several locations across the globe. It’s smaller scale than both Worlds and MSI, as it isn’t a complete international tourney. But it will still be awesome to see the East’s 12 best teams duke it out—even if SK Telecom T1 just uses the opportunity to show us all (again) that they’re the best.
Regional tournaments will be organized as a region-against-region, so you will never see EU’s number one team against EU’s number two team in the finals. The top four teams from each region will compete.
The tourneys will consist of North America against Europe; South Korea, China, and the LMS; Brazil, Latin America North, and Latin America South; Russia and Turkey; and Japan, Oceania, and Southeast Asia. Scheduling for each tournament can be found on the event’s official site.
More international competition is great for professional League of Legends. But is the proposed timeframe right for the league? The second half of the year is more saturated with tournaments than the first. And frankly, it makes the Spring Split feel a little less important than the rest of the year. Riot could keep going with the two-split year with international events sprinkled throughout, or it could turn the Summer Split into an international circuit and just leave the Spring Split as the only traditional “season.”
Either way, this news, combined with rumors of franchising in the NA LCS early next year, means that the professional scene of League will see a lot of change in the near future.
Update May 23 12:25pm: Additional information from Riot added.