The format of the League of Legends World Championship has often been a very hot topic. Over the last three years, one of the world’s largest esports tournaments has followed the same format, with a double best-of-one round robin in the group stage, followed by a straightforward three stage best-of-five single elimination playoffs.
While this simple format has delivered decent results, there are a few flaws that have been referenced by a number of analysts and fans around the world. One flaw is the possibility that the second best team might not make it to the finals due to the lack of a losers bracket. Another is the best-of-one format in the group stage, which removes the important aspect of adaptability that a best-of-two or best-of-three might provide and distinguish higher level teams. Additionally, there is also a constant debate over whether wildcard teams deserve a spot at the World Championships.
To try and combat these problems, I have theory-crafted an alternate structure to the Worlds format.
Part 1: The International Wildcard Qualifier
This idea has already been referenced on Summoning Insight, essentially giving the wildcard teams a chance to prove they deserve to be at Worlds, while at the same time, increasing the level of competition in the main tournament. While the top two teams from each major region (LCK, LPL, NA LCS, EU LCS and now LMS) have already qualified for Worlds, the third and fourth teams from each major region will have to participate in the new international wildcard qualifier to make it to Worlds. Additionally, the winner of each wildcard region (CBLOL, TCL, GPL, OPL, LJL, LCL, LAN, LAS) will also play in the tournament, leaving 18 teams in total. The teams will be split into three pools: A, B, C.
Pool A: Third place major region teams (Five)
Pool B: Fourth place major region teams (Five)
Pool C: Wildcard region winners (Eight)
The Pool C teams will first play a single best-of-two round robin (W=3 D=1 L=0) where the top-five teams advance. IMPORTANT: the wildcard teams that make it will be able to choose one Pool A team and one Pool B team to form a group, with pick order determined due to placing in the round robin. After this selection is completed, five groups each with one team from each pool will remain and play a double best-of-two round robin, with the worst team being eliminated and the top-two qualifying for Worlds for a slightly larger 20 team tournament.
International Wildcard Qualifier Simulation:
Pool C Round Robin:
Teams one through five advance to the second round robin stage. Since Albus Nox came first, they may select one team from Pool A and one from Pool B. This process continues until we get to the fifth place team (in this scenario Rampage), who is forced to play against (theoretically) the two strongest teams from each pool. In this simulation, the following five groups and results have been created: (Note: all the following simulation results do not necessarily reflect my real views should these matches actually occur).
Therefore, Splyce, J Team, Cloud9, I May, Samsung (Pool C), ANX, INTZ, Team WE, Immortals and KT Rolster (Pool D) would qualify for Worlds.
Part 2: Worlds Group Stage
In the main Worlds tournament, the teams would be separated into three pools: A, B and C. Pool A contains the first seeds from each major region, Pool B the second seeds from major regions, Pool C the first place round robin winners of the IWCQ, and Pool D would hold the second place round robin teams of the IWCQ. These teams will then be separated into two large groups similarly to DOTA 2’s The International.
Group A: Three Pool A teams, two Pool B teams, two Pool C teams and three Pool D teams
Group B: Two Pool A teams, three Pool B teams, three Pool C teams and two Pool D teams.
These teams will each play each other in a best-of-two match, with the top-four teams from each group advancing to the playoffs.
Worlds Group Stage Simulation:
The following groups were drawn:
In this scenario, Rox, TSM, Samsung and Cloud9 advance to the playoffs in that particular order.
*In this Scenario, EDG, SKT, G2, AHQ advance in that particular order.
Part 3: Worlds Playoffs
The system suggested here is somewhat difficult to explain through words, hence a diagram has been included for easier reading:
Worlds Playoffs Simulation:
While everyone is sure to have their own opinion on the best possible format for Worlds, I believe that what I have suggested is a high-quality alternative to the current format.
Photo Credits: Main image: KongoKyle, all brackets created by Challonge
What do you think about this new suggested format? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us @GAMURScom.
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