League developer and LCS organizer Riot Games will no longer allow LCS teams to use players on Challenger Series rosters as their substitute (reserve) players, sources close to multiple LCS squads tell the Daily Dot.
Riot is also implementing a rule that ensures teams pay their substitute players, a rule change that was proposed on Nov. 18. Previously, substitute players were often not compensated by their teams—with each team required to have two to five substitute players for each season.
This rule will go some way towards protecting Challenger Series teams from losing their players to LCS teams mid-season, an ongoing trend in League. A notable example is Team Dragon Knights long line of substitutes this past summer, including Terry “Baby” Chuong, Aaron “Bischu” Kim, and Zachary “Mancloud” Allan Hoschar—at the time the former two were on Team Imagine, and the latter was on Vortex.
With regulation and mandatory compensation it’s likely that teams will look to non-competitive Challenger ranked streamers to sponsor and add to their reserves. Another option is to sign Challenger players who have no interest in competing, or players who fail to qualify for the Challenger Series via the open qualifier.
Challenger Series teams whose players will be unavailable for the LCS include mousesports, Copenhagen Wolves, SK Gaming, and Inspire Esports in Europe, and Team Imagine, Ember, Team Dragon Knights, and Enemy in North America. Four other teams (two from each region) will join this list after the qualifiers occur in a few weeks.
European LCS champion Fnatic has already posted an opening for substitute players. The team is looking for two reserve players to work with its squad next year. Other teams may follow suit, or follow traditional standards and recruit players privately. Either way teams will need to find two substitute players before the season’s roster lock on Jan. 2.
Photo via Riot Games/Flickr | Remix by Jacob Wolf
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