LCS 2021 kicks off on January 15th and a lot of NA viewers will definitely want to know what changed in the league before the new competitive season finally begins. LCS viewers shouldn’t be surprised that the region underwent a total revamp on their brand image as well as the tournament format that they will be holding this year due to some issues that the region experienced in the previous year. To explain these changes further, we’ve broken down all the important factors that you should take a look at.
LCS: A New Era
The LCS that fans have been following for more than 5 years is officially gone. From the void that an old kingdom where former kings reigned comes four new kings and a conqueror. Spica, Blaber, FBI, Tactical, and Perkz are frontrunners for being the new face of the LCS as an age where Bjergsen, Doublelift, and Sneaky are no longer active on the professional scene. It’s early in the season yet things are looking a bit spicy with some competition.
Another big change coming to the LCS is the revamp of the tournament structure which will be one big tournament instead of two splits. There will also be some big changes on the streaming schedule to maximize the fans having more entertainment time per week instead of having to watch a few matches and go back to waiting for another week. These changes are geared towards bringing more competitiveness to the NA LCS so that ideas like “Spring split doesn’t matter” won’t be true anymore.
LCS 2021 Lock In Tournament
The LCS 2021 Lock In tournament is a major tournament just before the official opening of the regular season and will take place between January 15 to January 31. The winner of the tournament will win $150,000 and an additional $50,000 which will be donated to a charity of their choosing. This tournament will purely be for show and won’t affect the standings of the standings for the regular season just like LCK’s KesPa Cup and LPL’s Demacia Cup.
The Top 2 teams from the previous season (TSM & FlyQuest) will each be drafting 4 teams from the remaining 8 teams in the league into two separate groups who they’ll be playing double round robins with. The Top 4 teams from each group will be playing in a Top 8 Double Eliminations bracket for a chance to win the grand prize. These teams have the choice to play with their main roster or test our some new talent from the bench.
The Regular Season
The regular season is where things get interesting. Doublelift’s comment last season on Spring Split not mattering was extremely controversial but he proved his point when he absolutely slapped every other team during the Summer Split and emerged as the LCS champ. To fix this problem, LCS decided to make standings in the first half of the year become more relevant to making it to worlds. This is done by combining both splits so that the standings on the 1st half of the season will be retained until the 2nd half.
To explain further, the Regular Season is still split into two parts. The Spring tournament where teams will be competing for a slot in the Mid Season Invitational, and a Summer tournament for the Top 3 teams that will make it to worlds. The main difference is that a team’s standing in the Spring Split will be carried over to the Summer Split so that teams will have to take every game from the start of the season up to the last games seriously if they want to make it to worlds.
The Spring Split
The LCS 2021 Spring Split will be played by the 10 LCS teams (TSM, FLY, TL, C9, 100T, GG, EG, IMT, CLG, and DIG) in a double round robin. Each week, the LCS teams will be playing 15 matches in total which are split 5 each on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This gives viewers more games to watch per day in addition to the Academy Series which will also be streamed on a different schedule. The schedule will try to avoid teams playing more than 1 game on a single day and prevent them from having rematches early.
At the end of the Spring Split, the Top 6 teams will be playing in a modified bracket where the Top 4 Teams will be facing off in the Upper Brackets with the Top 5 and 6 teams waiting for them on the Lower Brackets. The winner of this tournament will represent the LCS in the Mid Season Cup tournament which will be held sometime around May. The team that won the Spring Split will still earn an LCS Championship Trophy as usual.
The Summer Split
Once the Mid Season Invitationals concludes, the Summer Split will pick up where the Spring Split left off and begin with the teams carrying over their standings on the first half. These teams will once again compete with each other in a Triple Round Robin to secure a Top 1-6 slot in the overall rankings so that they’ll be able to qualify for the Regular Season Championships where the same tournament format as the Spring Championships will be used.
The Road To Worlds
Unlike in previous years, the LCS has completely removed the use of Championships Points that will qualify teams for the Regional Gauntlet. This means that the Top 3 teams in the Summer Split Tournament will automatically be seeded into worlds. The teams that will win the Top 3 slots will be representing North America once again and hopefully be able to break the LCS curse of not being able to make it out of Groups.
What changed in the LCS 2021 Tournament Format?
In short, the Spring Split and Summer Split standings have been combined. Teams will be more serious about every game since all of the matches they play will impact their chances of making it to Worlds 2021.