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Esports League of Legends

League of Legends: A Case for Seeding in the Mid-Season Invitational Play-Ins

With the recent group draw for the Mid-Season Invitational completed, a lot of fans noticed a huge discrepancy in the overall strength of the teams in each group. With the two favorites in Turkey’s 1907 Fenerbahçe Esports and Vietnam’s Phong Vũ Buffalo both in group A, Group B’s teams were able to dodge a huge bullet and now all have a solid chance at qualifying for the second round of Play-Ins.

Obviously, this poses an issue in terms of how competitive each group is along with how the rest of the second round of Play-Ins would play out. So how can this issue be solved in the future? It’s simple actually; with all the different possible ways of seeding teams currently available, Riot could’ve easily done some form of seeding to make better and more balanced groups. Here is a look at two possible options for seeding and the pros and cons of each one.

Seeding within Tiers

Courtesy of: @FBespor Twitter

This seeding would be the simplest way to solve this issue and provide a solid long term seeding for future MSI’s. The seeding would be separated into three tiers based on the regions’ general performance during international tournaments.

Tier A:

Tier A would feature the two regions that are the usual favorites to win at international events at the wildcard level (play-ins) and in general have the most success (relative to other wildcard teams). In this case, the two regions would be Turkey (TCL) and Vietnam (VCS). Already this would solve the main issue of 1907 Fenerbahçe Esports and Phong Vũ Buffalo ending up in the same group as they would automatically end up separated.

Tier B:

Courtesy of: @nikkan_esports Twitter

Tier B would feature four regions that see some success at international events (again, relative to other wildcard teams). Currently, the four regions would likely be CIS (LCL), Brazil (CBLOL), Oceana (OPL) and Japan (LJL). With the four regions in this tier, the issues with a purely random draw becomes apparent once again as group B features three of the four regions listed above.

Tier C:

Lastly, there’s tier C which would feature the final two regions which usually find themselves near the bottom of the standings at international events. In this case, the two regions would be Latin America (LLA) and Southeast Asia (LST). This would be the only tier where there weren’t any issues with the current groupings based on completely random seeding.

Pros/Cons

In general, using this system would provide a solid way of ensuring balanced groups while providing a good long term solution. The only issue would come from which tier each region would be in. With recent results, the proposed seedings would make sense, but in the future results could change enough that an update to the tiers would be needed. In that situation, Riot would likely have a rough time deciding where each region would end up once again. But of the two options available, this would be the most in line with how Riot does seeding at Worlds.

Player-Selected Seeding

Courtesy of: Phong Vũ Buffalo Esports Facebook

For fans who don’t follow other Esports scenes, this method of seeding has recently seen some use in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and their recent major IEM Katowice 2019:

“All sixteen teams in this particular stage will be asked to rank their fifteen opponents based on skill. Individual team votes that are outside of the expected range of the spread will be discarded in order to eliminate anomalies (e.g. a team giving a team #15 when most other teams rated them as #1) as a precaution to rule out collusion.”

Obviously, this would be a great method of seeding as it removes any biases and would likely output the best seeding possible. Afterward, the groups could be split in the following manner:

Group A: 1st, 4th, 5th and 8th seed

Group B: 2nd, 3rd, 6th and 7th seed

Pros/Cons

Courtesy of: @bombers Twitter

As mentioned previously, this method of seeding would likely give us the best possible seeding of the teams. However, it does rely on the teams actually doing proper scouting of the teams, which is a variable that is somewhat controlled by Riot’s ability to eliminate any anomalies within the rankings. On top of that, it would rely on constant seeding to be performed at every tournament of this type, which could become time-consuming to ensure it’s completed each time.

Conclusion

While the end results of the Play-Ins likely won’t have a huge effect on the main stage, it should still be important for the sake of competitive integrity that there is some method of seeding. Ideally, if Riot does eventually decide to have seeding for the Play-Ins, it would be better to experiment and use the likes of the player-selected seeding to do so. Whether this ever happens or not is yet to be seen as fans will likely have to wait until 2020 to witness any changes to the format.

To watch League of Legends tournaments, visit watch.na.lolesports.com. For more information on the Split, teams, standings and players, visit www.lolesports.com. Recaps of former weeks and other LoL content can be found at https://thegamehaus.com/league-of-legends/.

Featured image courtesy of lolesports

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