I think everyone can agree that the challenger series is a brutal and taxing gauntlet to go through. Additionally, it has little popularity (compared to LCS) and I think it’s fair to say that it is looked down upon by most pros and experts as being below the level that it actually is. The challenger series should be changed so that it is similar to the new expansion tournament. Relegated teams should be put into a pool of the top challenger teams to play in a relegation tournament, so that relegated LCS teams must compete from the beginning. The current challenger series has little popularity, is too long for too much risk, and it allows LCS teams too easy an avenue to re-enter the split.
Once again I think it is fair to say that few people watch the challenger series. Despite Riot’s attempt to increase it’s popularity, (casting right after LCS), it has not gained the traction that would justify it as a top league (the league only one step under from THE league in North America). For this reason if not for any else, it should be restyled into a more attractive and less intensive format. Speaking for myself, if the challenger series was a shorter, 1-2 month tournament with many challenger (and the relegated LCS teams), I would be more inclined to watch it.
Additionally, challenger scene is too risky for teams to compete in. Taking up the better part of a year, a team must battle to the top 3. As if that wasn’t hard enough, after all that grueling hard work they must then play one best of 5 against an LCS team to determine whether or not all their work will pay off. If they fail, there is little to no reward. If the challenger scene was reduced to a single tournament after the split, teams would be able to risk less while still having the same chance of entering the LCS. They would have a quicker conclusion to the time they had to officially invest; and as we all know time is money. This would allow more teams to compete, increasing competitiveness and skill level.
The last problem I have with the current challenger series is that it allows relegated LCS teams an (arguably of course) easy path back into the LCS. Getting relegated isn’t that bad. After a short best of five that you’re highly favored to win, you’re back in no problem. A more gruesome relegation process is needed to make sure teams are actually afraid of being relegated. I would say that being put into a bracket with many other challenger teams would be a lot harder and scarier than having to play a best of five against a team you’re expected to beat.
To sum it up, I think that the challenger series, while not a bad thing, can be improved by changing it to atournament after the conclusion of the splits, similar to this upcoming expansion tournament. Seeding in the relegated LCS teams would increase the competition of the challenger series, while also making it more difficult for relegated teams to re-qualify. I also believe it would gain popularity.
In closing, I would like to say on a personal note that I love the hype surrounding the expansion tournament. All these posts of well known players forming new teams adds a lot to the scene. Allowing an easily accessible medium through which ex-LCS players may compete on the pro stage is healthy for League of Legends as a whole. I would love to see this after every split.
To all who read this thank you and I hope at the very least you enjoyed reading it.