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The LCS Makes Major Changes to its Format

In a press release, the LCS has announced massive changes for itself and its Academy league. The LCS start date will be moved back a week to January 25 and the Academy games will start the day before. Along with this will be a brand new in-season schedule and playoff bracket for both the Spring and Summer Splits. The most major change will be that only the Summer Split playoffs will decide who the three Worlds representatives are.

New Schedule

The new LCS will now have games running from Friday to Monday as the graphic above shows. Friday will start with four Academy games being played at once in what will be called, “Academy Rush”. Then the day will end with a full game focused on at one time. On Saturdays and Sundays, there will be four regular LCS games, still Best of One and then a regular Academy game.

Monday will be a very interesting change as it will be the first time the LCS has expanded past the weekend. They will finish the last three Academy games which will lead to what they are calling, “Monday Night League” which will feature two primetime LCS games. This seems to be a similar idea to Monday Night Football. It will be worth tuning in to see if they handle it with similar excitement as Monday night is for NFL fans.

Playoffs and Regular Season

The regular season will basically stay the same in terms of it still being Best of One and two nine-week Splits. The Playoffs, specifically the Summer Split, is where it gets interesting. Both playoffs will be Best of Five series.

For the Spring Split, the first seed will have the chance to pick the third or fourth seed as their opponent. Then whoever loses those games will face the fifth and six seeds. The loser of the first seeded game will play the fifth and the loser of second seed will play the sixth seed. After that, it is similar to what the LEC is doing which is the loser of the top bracket plays the winner of the bottom and the winner of that plays the winner of the top bracket.

It is a bit confusing at first but it should add a whole new layer of competition in the LCS. What the hope is as well is that it will allow for more cinderella runs and provide a lot more League of Legends. Last but definitely worth noting is that this Playoff has no influence on who makes it to Worlds but, it will still decide who is going to MSI.

Summer

As stated before, the Summer will be where things get interesting. For starters, eight of the ten teams make it in. The first and second seeds get a bye. Then the third through sixth seeds battle it out, again in a best of five. The loser of those games gets sent to the bottom bracket to face the seventh and eighth seed. After that, the winners of the lower brackets and losers of the upper faceoff while the winners of the upper bracket also faceoff. The winners of the lower brackets play each other for a chance at Worlds and a run at the Summer Split championship by playing the loser of the upper bracket. Lastly, the winner of that game goes onto the Finals. The three seeds for Worlds are set in the final two games.

This bracket is essentially a double-elimination style for the top six teams and then single elimination for seventh and eighth. If the eighth-best team makes it, they will have had potentially 15 games to prove it. While this system will have its flaws, it will at least answer the question as to who the best three teams in the LCS are. The hope will be that metas don’t affect this and that if the top teams after the regular season are knocked out, it isn’t due to a fluke.

Other Minor Changes and Announcements

There is no doubt that this was a full announcement. The Academy playoffs will essentially run the same way with the semifinals allowing the top seed to pick their opponent of the winners of the quarterfinals. Then important dates were announced.

  • Spring Split Start Date: Saturday, January 25
  • Spring Split Regular Season: January 25 – March 22
  • Spring Playoffs: March 28 – April 19
    • Round 1 Winners: March 28-29
    • Round 1 Losers: April 4-5
    • Round 2: April 11-12
    • Finals: April 18-19
  • Summer Split Start Date: Saturday, June 20
  • Summer Split Regular Season: June 20 – August 16
  • Summer Playoffs: August 20 – September 13
    • Round 1: August 20-23
    • Round 2: August 27-30
    • Round 3: September 5-6
    • Finals: September 12-13

Also the times for the new schedule.

    • Fridays at 5:00 PM PT – Academy Rush 
    • Saturdays at 2PM PT – LCS and Academy 
      • Pre-show coverage at 1:30 PM PT
    • Sundays at noon PM PT – LCS and Academy 
      • Pre-show coverage at 11:30 AM PT
    • Mondays at 5:30 PM PT – Monday Night League and Academy 
      • Academy games at 2:00 PM PT
      • LCS pre-game coverage at 5:00 PM PT

Lastly, the first few weeks of the schedule were announced. The first LCS game of the year will be new Cloud9 taking on Team Liquid. The first Monday Night League games will feature Evil Geniuses versus 100 Thieves to start the night and then a classic matchup of Team Liquid versus TSM.


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