League of Legends international esports events will see some major changes in 2023, and Riot Games shed some light on the reasons behind these decisions in a post on Jan. 10.
The play-in and group stage of the World Championship will be revamped, with the latter becoming the Swiss Stage, featuring best-of-one and best-of-three matches. MSI will also see more teams from four major regions and will introduce a double-elimination format in its second stage. Riot explained that the main goal of these changes is to have more cross-regional competition and best-of-match play, while also ensuring every game at events matter.
When Riot’s team took the Worlds format under their scope, they wanted to make the play-in stage “more impactful” and the group stage “more open and less dependent on a draw or a small number of potential opponents,” according to the post.
As a result, the double-elimination bracket for play-ins will be introduced, and the group stage will transform into the Swiss Stage. “We believe this will result in a more competitive Play-In Stage,” Riot said.
In the Swiss Stage, 16 teams will battle it out for eight spots in the knockout stage, with the first two rounds of matches being best-of-ones, and both advancement and elimination matches being best-of-threes. As a result, every match should matter for both opponents. At the same time, it’s a way to introduce 13 more best-of series without giving up on a day full of best-of-ones. Furthermore, this should create matchups where both teams represent similar levels, and a series is winnable for both of them, which should result in no more groups of deaths.
Fans of competitive League have been asking Riot to introduce a double-elimination bracket for the knockout stage for years, however, this won’t happen in 2023. While Riot believes it has a number of benefits, overall, it would also lengthen the tournament too much and lower the stakes for upper-bracket games.
Other announced changes feature a major update to MSI, with two teams from four main regions being invited, and a revamped play-in and bracket stage format. With these changes, Riot aims to eliminate games that have no stakes and invite more teams from the four major regions to showcase more cross-regional competition, while also maintaining full regional representation.
Riot is aware there is a risk of having only the four largest regions in the bracket stage. But it believes with a double-elimination format, the play-in stage participants will have enough chances to advance forward if they deserve to do so.