When you tune in to the Super Bowl next week, you’ll watch New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick don his trademark hoodie and might just wonder, why can’t the League Championship Series be like this?
You won’t see any coaches in sweat pants in this year’s LCS. Nor will you see any porn companies emblazoned on LCS jerseys. Riot has released a new set of rules for the upcoming season, and while some of them are obvious, some come as something of a surprise.
The rulebook adds a number of rules instituted during the offseason, including the Interregional Movement Policy and Sale of Sponsorships rules, but also implements a number of new stipulations and updates to older policies.
Some of the highlights:
1) Peripherals Policy – The “CS:GO Rule”, 5.2
A cheating scandal recently rocked Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, with the possibility of players using malicious software even in live tournaments due to lax restrictions on players and peripherals at events. Riot is heading off any similar issues by increasing its protection against possible cheating.
Players in the LCS can now only use a set of two peripherals—limited to mouse, keyboards, a mouse bungie, and a mousepad—stored at the match site. The players will only have access to the peripherals as they take the stage. They must be submitted to Riot Games factory sealed to prevent the possibility of tampering.
For some players this may end up being restrictive; Millenium’s mid laner last season, Adrian “Kerp” Wetekam, for example, prefers to use a trackball mouse that’s no longer in production. The new rule would require him to switch to a modern product.
2) Substitution Policy, 3.2
Player substitutes now must be at least Diamond V on the solo queue ladder, ensuring that teams treat their roster seriously—no more sneaking on streamers, girlfriends, or friends for the requisite perks of being on an LCS roster.
In addition, Riot Games is easing up the restriction on teams to find a substitute before matches, giving them a two-hour grace period should an emergency put a player out of action.
3) Apparel, 5.4
The iconic Bill Belichick hoodie will be on full display to the the hundred million plus people tuning in to next week’s Super Bowl, but it’s dead on arrival in the LCS. Riot’s official recognition of head coaches comes with a dress code—“at least business casual attire.” That means we won’t see a Belichikian hoodie, but a Harbaugh-esque ode to Dad fashion could still be in the cards.
4) Poaching Transparency,10.2.3
After multiple fines for poaching during the offseason, some players and fans were hoping Riot would institute a one-month grace period where players with expiring contracts could freely negotiate their future with other organizations.
Instead, Riot Games has regulated better transparency to prevent future incidents. Teams are now required to keep Riot Games in the loop when asking other organizations permission to contact their contracted players. A paper trail should prevent embarrassing incidents like the ones that hit Counter Logic Gaming this offseason.
5) Competitive Patching, 8.4
New champions will now hit the LCS after two weeks instead of one month, the same as other patch changes.
6) The “Dyrus” Rule? 10.1.3
Players may no longer make “insulting, mocking, disruptive or antagonistic” gestures toward opposing players, fans, or officials, or “incite” said gestures from others. Whether spamming “CTRL+4” while running around as Singed is a “gesture” remains anyone’s guess.
7) The “YouPorn” Rule, 3.7.5
Erotic video giant YouPorn entered the esports industry earlier this year by sponsoring a no-name European Dota 2 team. One reason why it chose that game might be rules like this one, which prevents LCS teams from being sponsored by porn companies and players from advertising pornographic material.
8) The LCS is League only, 3.7.6
Last season a developer of a competing game wanted to sponsor a team in the League Championship Series. Riot Games shut that down.
“We communicated to owners that given our goals and investment in growing the LCS, it would be counter-productive if LCS teams and players were sponsored by Riot Games’ competitors,” the announcement read. The transparency is laudable. So is the competitor’s strategy—the LCS is the perfect place to advertise a MOBA. But they won’t get the chance to do it.
9) The “HotshotGG” Rule, 10.2.8
League of Legends superstar and Counter Logic Gaming owner George “Hotshotgg” Georgallidis suffered a stiff fine after tampering with Team Dignitas player William “Scarra” Le and then crucially lying about it in Riot Games’ investigation. Riot has now added a specific clause stating that team members must comply with LCS officials during investigations into misconduct.
10) The “Richard Lewis” Rule, Clause 10.2.7
This vague and poorly worded rule seems to limit team members from leaking information regarding official LCS transactions, but only apparently if said team member is told not to do so. The reason listed is to preserve competitive integrity, which is an unclear justification for an unclear stipulation.
Photo by Fredrik Rubensson/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0) (remix by Jason Reed)