I believe the European League Championship Series will follow a best-of-three format in the Spring Split of 2017 following the outcome of Worlds 2016. I have seen Reddit discussions and other debates around the topic of of best-of-two vs. best-of-three for a long time now and I will presume that these changes will take effect officially after or before All-Stars in Barcelona is concluded.
It seems like a given. The best-of-three format is widely accepted as the norm in the North America LCS, League Champions Korea and beyond due to its format offering a one-sided result, not a tie. Ties aren’t commonplace in esports and with best-of-threes, it gives players the chance to sample comebacks. If a team loses the first game then they can comeback to take the series by winning the second and third so, in that sense, there is more to play for and a single loss doesn’t equate to the end.
The best-of-three variant offers the viewer more matches to watch, 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. 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, 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 EU LCS. Also, fans find it disheartening and dull to watch the EU LCS in comparison to their American counterparts. The overall point 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.
The implementation of the best-of-three format and making the format the standard not only in the EU LCS, but all tournaments going forward can only improve the competitiveness of the competition and bring with it a host of new changes that puts every region on level pegging going into the international scene, to make it so everyone can prepare on equal footing. As such, doing so might see drastic improvements from other regions out of the LCK going into Worlds due to the extra playtime they will get every week. Although we have not seen that in the NA LCS, that is not to say that as years go by more and more teams can reach the pinnacle of the sport and the peak of their ability.
What are your thoughts on the best-of-two vs. best-of-three format? Let us know on our social media or by commenting below.
Thanks for reading. My name is Adam Newell and this is the second article of a new series called “Monkey’s Musings.” Let me know what you think if it’s something you would like to see more of, and which esports scene or game you would like me to look at next week.
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