esports on League of Legends enters a new era in Europe. Riot Games, the game’s publisher, formalized this Friday morning many changes within its competitive ecosystem. Starting with the expansion of the geographical area: the “Europe” region becomes “EMEA” (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and this major development necessarily calls for others.
BO3s in LEC
First, Riot Games is making a change that has long been called for by players, coaches and the various clubs in the LEC, the competitive elite. The format of the now League of Legends EMEA Championship » will be drastically modified in 2023 and will offer more matches in two or three winning sets (“BO3” or “BO5”).
An essential point, claimed to improve the competitiveness of the league against the best Asian teams. The previous format of the LEC gave pride of place to BO1s, matches in a winning round. According to many players in the Championship, their very random side put significant pressure on the players and slowed their progress (more punitive errors, impossibility of bouncing back, less adaptability over the course of a match, etc.).
The year will now be divided into three (compared to two previously) segments, winter, spring (whose champion will qualify for the MSI, the mid-season intercontinental tournament) and summer. The regular season of each of these ” splits will see all ten LEC teams meet once in BO1, which doesn’t quite go away. The first eight at the end of these nine days will be placed in a tree of play-offs with double elimination which will start with BO3. The last four formations in contention will compete for the victory of the segment in BO5.
The six best teams at the end of these splits qualify for the “LEC Finals”, which will determine the annual EMEA champion and the identity of the league teams that will represent it at Worlds. Unlike previous years, there will only be one physical finals session.
Turkey joins regional leagues
The functioning of the Worlds will also be modified, as announced a few weeks ago. While details will be released later, Turkey and the CIS region (Eastern Europe, whose league has been suspended since the invasion of Ukraine and will remain so until further notice) will not send any more teams play in the competition (their places have not yet been reallocated): their championships, such as the Arab League, now enter the “Regional Leagues” ecosystem in EMEAwith France, Spain, Germany…
They will thus qualify for the “EMEA Masters”, formerly “European Masters”, whose format will soon change there too. The number of places allocated to France for these EMasters has not yet been revealed. In a press conference, the door to a return to physics for part of the competition was also opened. Which hasn’t happened since 2019.
Very generally, these numerous developments aim to broaden the audience of the flagship tournaments in the EMEA region. They still raise many questions, especially in terms of the allocation of places at the Worlds or EMasters, but also concerning the stability of the circuit, with a new period of transfers possible, between the winter and spring segments of the LEC. A team that finished in the bottom two of the Championship three times would also only have nine weeks of competition throughout the season. An aberration at first sight.
Maximilian Peter Schmidt, director of esports on League of Legends for the EMEA region:
“We have included the teams and their players in the format change process and everyone is very excited about these changes. This system is the best for us in order to combine competitiveness and entertainment. All matches will count. We wanted to make sure that every team that will represent the region at Worlds will do so having played at least one BO5 in the LEC Finals. Unless a club wins all three segments, in which case they will automatically qualify for the Worlds.
I don’t think we’ll always have the same teams in the last two places in the LEC, it’s very unlikely. If you finish ninth or tenth after the winter split, you’ll have some time before returning to competition. This gives you an opportunity to make changes to come back stronger in the spring. The transfer market never really closes.
The EMasters will experience changes, at least in the allocation of places. Details will come soon. This competition should still be played mainly online. »