Match timer in Twitch Rivals LoR tournament divides community, upsets players involved

The rules need an adjustment.

Legends of Runeterra Fiora
Image via Riot Games

A 50-minute per match rule in the Twitch Rivals Legends of Runeterra tournament today has placed top streamers MegaMogwai and Swimstrim in the crosshairs of controversy. 

The LoR Twitch Rivals tournament was supposed to promote the launch of Riot’s new digital card game on PC and mobile, featuring 16 big-name streamers competing for a total prize pool of $100,000. A time limit per match rule, however, has divided the community as to who was at fault regarding a draw between Mogwai and Swim in round two of the Swiss rounds. 

The rule in question says that players have 50 minutes to complete a match in a best-of-three format. If time runs out, each player has three additional turns. If no winner can be decided after three turns, the match is considered a draw and it’s up to tiebreakers to determine who advances to the upper bracket or slots into the lower bracket. 

Those who are familiar with Mogwai and Swim, two LoR streamers who have competed in multiple community tournaments, are aware that both players enjoy combo and Control-based decks and will take their time before making a decision. During the Twitch Rivals event today, Swim found himself in two matches where the time ran out. The first was against Kripp, in which he conceded. The second was against Mogwai and resulted in a draw. 

The Twitch chat on both players’ streams and on the official Twitch Rivals broadcast immediately blew up following the match between Swim and Mogwai, with a large number of individuals claiming Swim roped intentionally. Many of the comments were removed for breaking chat rules. Multiple Reddit threads also appeared, resulting in a response from Swim.

“Nobody has been more against harsh time constraints in Runeterra tournaments than me, this is something I mentioned multiple times in other tournaments in the past,” Swim said. “One of them, I can’t quite remember, I think it was Duels of Runeterra 4 or 5, I quit the tournament partway through because of the time constraints the incentives they created. I think they create pretty awful incentives and are very abusable.”

Both players involved were upset about the situation because the draw prevented Mogwai from getting seated in the top-eight, despite the fact he likely would’ve won the match if time had not run out. Swim was equally upset, saying he would’ve conceded the win to Mogwai if the Twitch Rivals rules team allowed him to do so. 

Neither player broke any rules during the match, despite the claims from Twitch chat about Swim roping. But the result of the match has negatively impacted what was supposed to be an exciting event for LoR and the community. 

Timer restrictions are meant to prevent matches from running too long. But in a game like LoR, where a timer is in place to prevent extensive roping, adding an additional rule of 50 minutes per match was a mistake on the part of Twitch Rivals.

Mistakes are bound to happen, especially because this was the first major LoR event since the digital card game’s official launch at the end of April. It wasn’t the first tournament, though, and the situation may have been avoidable if the Twitch Rivals team consulted with previous tournament hosts prior to establishing the rules for today’s event. 

Before Riot and Twitch consider future LoR tournaments, a way to determine tiebreakers and the removal of a time constraint per match needs to be considered. The community should also consider supporting such a plan of action as opposed to attacking the players who were involved in today’s unfortunate series of events. 

Update May 14 6:05pm CT: Andrew “RiotUmbrage” Yip confirmed on Twitter today, in response to Mogwai’s lower bracket win, that the LoR team is already discussing aspects to improve upon.

Update May 18 12:30pm CT: The timer rules in this article applied to the Swiss rounds, not elimination rounds. The match between Swim and Mogwai took place during the Swiss rounds of the Twitch Rivals LoR tournament.