Following a slew of complaints from NA players about the lack of access to higher quality scrims against teams in regions outside the NA region—in regions like the LPL and LCK where the most dominant teams and players compete—after another lackluster Worlds performance for NA teams, Riot has decided to make some major changes to their formatting for LCS.
Although complaints from NA teams have been at the forefront of their changes, Riot also has some changes of their own accord following the heavy experimentation that pervaded the League Championship Series (LCS) in 2021.
Lock In and Split Formatting
Following a rather successful 2021 Lock In stage, Riot was very happy with the results of their new format. Eager to replicate this success, Riot will make no changes to their Lock In system come 2022. The details of the Lock In format are as follows:
LCS Lock In Tournament
- Starting on January 14th, all 10 LCS teams will fight through a groups and bracket stage for a $150,000 cash prize and the LCS 2022 Lock In Trophy.
- The 2021 LCS Championship Finalists 100 Thieves and Team Liquid will draft teams into their two respective groups for a single round robin group stage.
- Each group will consist of five teams, with 100 Thieves in one group and Team Liquid in the other, that will play one another once to determine bracket placement.
- The entire tournament will be played on LAN and will conclude with the finals on January 30th.
To reduce travel time and expenses for LCS teams, both the Spring and Summer splits have been streamlined down into two eight-week double round robins. Each week, five games will be played on Saturday and five on Sunday; however, two of the eight weeks will be “Super Weeks” where an additional five games will be played on Friday.
Additionally, to combat player burnout and deliver more intense matches, regular season records will no longer be carried over from Spring to Summer splits. This means that team records from the Spring split won’t matter in the Summer split, implying a reset come Summer split time.
What about the Playoffs?
If you’re a playoffs fan and loved the 2021 formatting, Riot has some great news for you. Virtually the entirety of playoffs will be the same as in 2021, with a few minor changes. Like in 2021, the 2022 Spring Playoffs will only consist of six teams, with four teams being eliminated via record in the Spring split. The rest of the formatting is as follows:
Spring Playoffs Formatting
- The top four seeds will play in a double-elimination format with a losers and winners bracket.
- The fifth and sixth teams will play in a single-elimination to join the top four.
- The only notable change is that the first seed will be able to choose either the third or fourth seed to compete against in Round 1.
- The lower bracket final and grand final will be hosted in the Houston, Texas NRG Stadium on April 23-24th.
- The winner of the Spring Playoffs will qualify as the NA representative for the Mid-Season Invitational.
The Summer playoffs will remain largely the same. The only major changes include pushing the Summer split start date back a week and two one-week long breaks in between both the Spring Split and Playoffs and the Summer Split and playoffs. Other than that, the top eight Summer Split teams will automatically qualify for the Summer playoffs. The first and second seed will get byes for the playoffs. The first seed will also get to choose which side of the bracket they wish to play on.
These aren’t all of the changes listed for the upcoming 2022 LCS season; however, they were the most important. For more information on the League Academy changes and the currently available dates and times for LCS events, visit Riot’s official post here.
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