Riot could make possible exception to longstanding regional restriction rule for LEC teams at Worlds 2022

The addition of an extra LEC team could shake up the group stage's seeding rules.

Photo via Riot Games/Getty Images

One of the oldest rules in the history of the League of Legends World Championship could be overlooked this season. 

Traditionally, no group of teams in the Worlds group stage can feature two squads from the same region. But since four teams from Europe’s LEC will be present at the tournament, with two of them participating in the Worlds play-in stage, Riot is making an exception for the league’s lowest two seeds. 

Should both the third and fourth seeds out of the LEC make it through the Worlds play-in stage, the fourth-seeded team will not be affected by regional restrictions during the group stage. 

This means that MAD Lions, who have already locked in the region’s fourth seed, could potentially be placed in the same group at Worlds as one of their LEC counterparts, assuming the third-seeded team out of the region makes it past the play-in stage as well. 

Related: All teams qualified for the 2022 League of Legends World Championship

This rule will only be in effect if both of the LEC’s play-in teams make it past the tournament’s initial stage and into the main event. Should either of the two play-in teams from Europe be eliminated in the opening round, the traditional Worlds rules regarding regional restrictions will continue to be in place.  

This season, the LEC is sending four teams to Worlds in light of the fact that the LCL will not have a representative present at the tournament. The LCL, which is a minor league based out of the Commonwealth of International States, was forced to pause operations in March due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. 

“We are making this update because by the time we replaced the LCL first seed with the LEC fourth seed, the event seeding was already locked,” Riot Games said in an update today. “This resulted in a situation where it would be impossible to ensure that the play-in stage results would not cause an invalidation of the group stage draw.” 

Related: When is the Worlds 2022 group stage draw show?

Three of the four teams participating in Worlds from the LEC have not yet had their seeding decided. Right now, only MAD Lions (fourth seed) have locked in their spot in the play-in stage. 

Both the third and fourth seeds out of the LEC’s Summer Split playoffs will participate in the Worlds play-in stage. The two teams that do battle in the grand finals will slot directly into the group stage of the tournament. 

The LEC’s final seeds at Worlds will be determined during the league’s grand finals weekend, which begins tomorrow, Sept. 10. The Worlds play-in stage is set to kick off on Sept. 29.