The 2021 LCS Format Has Been Officially Revealed
The 2021 LCS format is finally getting changed and, by the looks of it, it’ll be for the better! Now, whenever there’s any change happening, Riot tends to give us a sneak peek at what they’re working on. However, this time, they went all-out. We have the complete picture of what the North American competitive League will look like come 2021.
And these are quite exciting changes. Whether they’ll all pan out remains to be seen. Still, one thing is for certain: a change was necessary for the region to move forward as a whole and potentially, one day, challenge on the international stage.
So, what’s new?
2021 LCS Format Changes
Before the split officially begins, teams will now compete in the LCS Lock In, a three-week kick-off tournament that’ll set the stage and create hype coming into the regular season. The two best teams from 2020 Summer (in this case, Team SoloMid and FlyQuest) will draft the remaining eight teams into two groups of five. After playing in a four-day single round-robin, the four best teams from each group will then advance into a single-elimination knockout bracket and duke it out for glory and a sizable cash prize. The team that wins it all will earn $150k along with an additional $50k for a charity of their choice. The LCK Lock-In is scheduled to begin on Jan. 15 and will last up to Jan. 31. This is much like the Demacia Cup in the LCK and will be an excellent opportunity for us to see just how strong each of the ten permanent partners are at the start of the season.
The Spring Split will follow on Feb. 5 and last for six weeks (instead of nine). We’ll have five games a day spread across Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and then the top six teams advance into the Mid-Season Showdown (March 20-April 11). It’s designed as a double-elimination bracket that’s identical to 2020 Spring playoffs, with the fifth and sixth best team starting in the lower half of the bracket. In 2021, however, there are a couple of changes: the first and fourth seed will face off in the upper half, side selection will always go to the team that has most recently dropped from the upper bracket, and any potential ties will be broken up by seeding. The team that wins it all will be crowned the first 2021 LCS champions and represent North America at the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational.
The Summer Split (June 4-Aug. 1) is where the most significant change will happen. Teams will face off in a triple round-robin across nine weeks of play. After the regular part of the split concludes, the eight best teams will collide for a shot at the title (Aug. 7-29). However, the kicker is that teams will be seeded by their combined Spring and Summer regular-season records. This means that every single game will matter, and teams will have to put their best foot forward from the very get-go. Well, that’s the goal, at least. Riot will also include changes like an inverted format (ensuring that teams that meet on multiple occasions will do so later in the tournament) and shift game days to prevent most teams from playing twice in one week. The three best teams from the Summer Split playoffs will represent North America at the World Championship stage.
Overall, there’s quite a lot to like. The Spring Split will no longer be (relatively) insignificant. That’s a big one, especially when it comes to player motivation. Secondly, teams will now compete in well over 45 games throughout the year. We’re still talking about Best of 1s, but the point stands. That’s huge for the region as a whole and its ten permanent partners. More stage time means players and teams will have more time to grow, evolve, and learn, which, in turn, should improve NA’s chances internationally.
Of course, these exciting 2021 LCS format changes will mean very little if said teams and players don’t deliver and harness this opportunity in the correct way. In any case, we can’t wait for the 2021 season to begin.