Here's what coming up in the world of League of Legends.
Kicking off the second half of the League of Legends calendar, the summer split is key in deciding which organisation will reach the coveted World Championship while also allowing teams to pick up regional silverware in the process
While China’s LPL summer split has already begun with spring LPL and MSI champions EDward Gaming getting off to the best start, the remaining three of League of Legends’ four largest regions are now set to open in the coming week.
Each of the three leagues begins with the regular season, playing out double round robins amongst each of their respective ten teams to determine placing heading into playoffs.
Both the LEC and LCS employ best-of-ones to decide each regular season match, however the LCK instead uses best-of-three series. All three are due to launch within the next week with the following opening fixtures.
- LCK, June 15 - Kwangdong Freecs vs Hanwha Life Esports
- LEC, June 17 - Team Vitality vs MAD Lions
- LCS, June 17 - Evil Geniuses vs Cloud9
The leagues are generally held in Riot Games’ studios in each of the regions, with the below venues hosting all regular season games.
LCK (Korea) - LoL PARK, Seoul
LEC (Europe) - LEC Studio, Berlin
LCS (North America) - LCS Studio, Los Angeles
Despite the regular season formats being fairly similar, each of the leagues then employs differing playoff setups. As of yet, there has been no confirmation as to whether any formats will be changed from those used in previous splits/seasons.
The LCK is one of the final regions yet to implement a double elimination format, something fans are also still calling for Riot to introduce both in Korea as well as in international tournaments. Korea’s playoffs are generally reserved for its top six regular season sides, with the top two teams earning byes to the semi-finals as the remaining four begin by battling it out in the quarter-finals.
Over in Europe, the LEC playoffs are also attended by its best six regular season organisations. Differing from the LCK, however, is the double elimination format. The 1st to 4th seeded teams begin in the winner’s bracket with winners moving on until one eventually reaches the grand final, while each side that loses along the way drops to the loser’s bracket that starts off with 5th versus 6th and progresses from there.
The LCS’ summer playoffs, dubbed the Championship, infamously feature eight of its ten teams, drawing criticism from some for almost effectively the importance of the regular season since almost all sides will make it through. Nevertheless, those that do qualify will head into a double elimination bracket. The top six will qualify for the upper bracket with 1st and 2nd seeds receiving a bye to the second round, whilst the 7th and 8th placed teams begin in the lower bracket where they progress to face those dropping down.
Each of the three regions will see three of their teams move on to the World Championship later in the year and, though each league has its own qualification criteria, the trio of title-winning sides are all but guaranteed a spot.
Starting off with the LCK and, simply put, T1 are unsurprisingly overwhelming favourites. One highlight of the off season saw free agent top laner Nuguri return to DWG KIA where he won the World Championship in 2020. In joining the side, he teams up with Canyon and ShowMaker once again who were also part of the Worlds-winning roster.
The LEC looks much harder to call. G2 Esports’ dominant lower bracket run, in which they won 4 consecutive 3-0 series, may appear to show them as an obviously strong team, however this run came seemingly out of thin air and so them carrying on such form into the summer is anything but an inevitability.
They’ll face stiff competition from both Rogue and Fnatic, the two sides who spent most of the split on top before G2’s run, while Team Vitality’s stacked superteam saw Selfmade cut after they faltered in playoffs. He’ll be replaced by Korean jungler Haru who will step up from the ERLs having spent time with X7 Esports in the NLC.
Evil Geniuses’ LCS-winning, lower bracket run was reminiscent of G2’s, once again meaning that the holders of a title aren’t the clear-cut favourites. Instead, the likes of Team Liquid, 100 Thieves and Cloud9 are all expected to make solid pushes for a summer championship.
Of those four, Cloud9 were the busiest in the off season as they released spring MVP top laner Summit, moved Fudge back to the top lane from mid to replace him and then brought in former mid laner Jensen. Supports Isles and Winsome were also both let go as veteran ADC Zven, who had spent the last split on their academy roster, role swapped to support to plug the gap in the starting lineup.
When looking to make a prediction for any of the regions off of the back of the spring split, it’s next to impossible to look past Korea’s T1. Their unprecedented 20-0 run earlier this year saw them win the LCK in a fashion that has never been done before, and will likely never be repeated.
Gen.G, their closest rivals in spring, have made no changes to their lineup over the off season and despite seeing world class top laner Nuguri re-join their ranks, DWG KIA also seems unlikely to have done enough to close the gap that existed between them and the champions last split.