Which Format should the EU and NA LCS Look to Use in Spring Split 2017?
As we near the halfway point in the League Championship Series (LCS) it is worth looking back at the recent changes to the Summer Split 2016. Both best-of-three and best-of-two formats (In the North American and European respectfully) have become a staple of the series for some time now, but can we see which format would better suit the LCS as a whole to be used in both leagues for many more seasons to come?
Let us start with the obvious. The best-of-three variant offers the viewer more matches in the overall scheme of things, and for a sport, the more matches that are being played, the more view time you can produce and the more audiences you can pull and keep entertained for longer periods of time. Of course, that is not to say that the method is tried and tested as anything is surely possible. If matches seem like they are taking too long, then it can cause the viewer to trail off, meaning best-of-two would be a better situation to look into. But truthfully, both systems are not without their faults when it comes to more matches equalling more viewers.
However, the best-of-three format is far superior from a professional League of Legends player's point of view. It provides a lot more game time compared to any split beforehand and gives a chance for teams to prepare for what would become the normal feeling for the League of Legends World Championships if they were to qualify. Those playing in the best-of-two formats have stated openly how it offers no advantage to the players or the quality of the competition with fans of the European League Championship Series, also finding it disheartening and dull to watch the EU LCS nowadays in comparison to our American counterparts. The overall consensus is that you cannot tie in a single game of League of Legends, so why should you be able to tie in a series of games?
This is not to say all things the best-of-two format give us are poor or bad in any way. It is far easier to structure matches using the best-of-two format, which makes it easier for both teams and viewers. It gives an equal amount of games to promote fair play and fairness so everyone is on an equal footing in the amount of games played and gives an equal number of games all teams play on both sides of the map to allow them to prepare for all situations as well as picks and bans. It has been highlighted as a format that rewards every win and punishes every loss, as there is no difference between a 2-1 victory and a 2-0 victory right now in the best-of-three format and the losing team's win is non-existent and does not matter unless it is needed for a tie breaker result for playoff seeding at the end of the split.
Best-of-two formats have also become more common on the world's stage, as usually in the group stages of the competition, teams play against each other twice to decide who progresses to the best-of-three knock-out stages.
Regardless, as we look to the final few weeks in the LCS before we head to the playoff stage to find out who will represent each region at the 2016 Worlds in the United States, it is obviously clear that Riot Games has a lot on their plate to go through when deciding which format to take on for the forseeable future.