League of Legends Championship Series

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League of Legends Championship Series
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2017 Summer EU LCS
2017 Summer NA LCS
League of Legends Champion Series Logo.jpg.png
Sport League of Legends
Founded 2013
Owner(s) Riot Games
Director Dustin "RedBeard" Beck ("chairman")
No. of teams 8 in Europe and 8 in North America(2013–2014)
10 in Europe and 10 in North America (2015–)
Continent Europe, North America
Most recent
champion(s)
EU: G2 Esports (3rd title)
NA: Team SoloMid (5th title)
Most titles EU: Fnatic (5 titles)
NA: Team SoloMid (5 titles)
Relegation to League of Legends Challenger Series
Related
competitions
Champions Korea
Garena Premier League
Master Series
Pro League
Official website www.lolesports.com

The League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) is the name of two professional League of Legends eSports leagues run by Riot Games. Twenty teams compete in two separate competitions in Europe and North America, with ten teams per continent. Each annual season of play is divided into two splits, spring and summer and conclude with play-off tournaments between the top six teams from each region respectively. At the end of the season, the winner of the summer split, the team with the most championship points, and the winner of the gauntlet tournament in each league qualify for the annual League of Legends World Championship.

The LCS represents the highest level of League of Legends play in Europe and North America. The European League of Legends Championship Series (EU LCS) has a promotion and relegation system similar to that found in many other European sports, such as football: The bottom teams in the EU LCS from each split compete with the top teams from the European Challenger Series (EU CS) to compete for spots in the next split of the EU LCS.[1] The European Challenger Series is composed of six teams: three teams which failed to advance in the previous promotion tournament, one team from the previous EU CS split, and the top two teams from ranked ladder play in the public League of Legends online game server.[2] The NA LCS has a franchised league, consisting of 10 teams. However, even franchised teams can still be expelled from the NA LCS for poor performance.[3] Contrary to the EU LCS, this does not happen through a promotion and relegation tournament against the top teams from the secondary league, and expelled teams are unable to re-enter the NA LCS.

With the exception of some touring events, all games of the LCS are played live at Riot Games' studios in Adlershof, Berlin, Germany and Los Angeles, California, United States. In addition to a small studio audience, all games are streamed live in several languages on Twitch.tv, YouTube and Azubu, with broadcasts regularly attracting over 300,000 viewers.[4]

The popularity and success of the LCS has attracted significant media attention. On September 30, 2016, the French Senate unanimously adopted the last version of the Numeric Law, significantly improving the visa process for LCS players and eSports athletes in general, giving a legal frame to eSports contracts, introducing mechanisms to ensure payment of cash prizes, specifying rights for minor eSport athletes, and more.[5] A few months before, France also introduced a new eSports federation, “France eSports”, which has the duty to be a representative body of eSports towards the government and serve as a “partner of the French National Olympic and Sports Committee for all matters relating to the recognition of electronic sports as sport in itself.”[6] The US government is also granting athlete visas for LCS competitors.[7][8] The first LCS player to be awarded a P visa was Danny "Shiphtur" Le.[9][7] The LCS has attracted sponsorships from Acer[10] Coca-Cola[11] and American Express.[12] "League of Legends Championship Series" is a Delaware limited liability company.[13]

In the EU LCS, Fnatic is the only team remaining that has played in every split since the first EU LCS split. In the NA LCS, Team SoloMid and Counter Logic Gaming are the only teams remaining from the first NA LCS split.

History[edit]

Riot Games launched League of Legends in October 2009 and rapidly attracted[14] attention from the competitive gaming community. The first two seasons of competitive play consisted of a series of tournaments mostly organised by third parties, such as Intel Extreme Masters in Europe and Major League Gaming in North America, capped by a world championship tournament hosted by Riot Games.[15]

Riot Games announced the formation of the LCS on 6 August 2012,[16] creating a fully professional league run by the company with a regular schedule and guaranteed salaries for players, featuring eight teams in both North America and Europe. Since the LCS was only launched in the third year of professional play, it was immediately dubbed "Season 3". The top three finishers in both the Riot Games European and North American regional championships held in August 2012 automatically qualified, with the remaining five teams being decided in qualifier tournaments held in January 2013. Each LCS season is divided into two splits for spring and summer; the first games of the first spring split took place on 7 February 2013 in North America and on 9 February 2013 in Europe.

Season 3 of the LCS finished with the summer split playoffs, held on 23 to 25 August in Europe at the Gamescom in 2013, which was held in the Koelnmesse in Cologne, North Rine-Westphalia, Germany, and 30 August to 1 September 2013 at PAX Prime 2013 in Seattle, Washington in North America[17][18]. In Europe, the Fnatic finished first, Lemondogs second, and Gambit Gaming third. In North America, the top three finishers were Cloud9, Team SoloMid, and Team Vulcun. The top three teams from each continent advanced to the Season 3 World Championships.

Riot Games changed naming conventions in 2014, calling the season the "2014 Season" instead of "Season 4". The League of Legends Challenger Series was created as a second tier of competition for promotion and relegation.[19]

At the end of the 2014 season, an expansion tournament was held in both Europe and North America that added two teams in region, giving the LCS a total of 10 teams per region for the start of the 2015 Season.[20] Additionally, Riot introduced the concept of "Championship points", which teams would earn based on performance across both splits and playoffs in order to qualify for the World Championship.[21]

A new sale of sponsorship rule was instated for the 2015 season. As a result, several teams were forced to rebrand and leave their respective parent organizations. Europe's Alliance and North America's Evil Geniuses are both owned by GoodGame Inc. CEO Alex Garfield, and thus their League of Legends teams left and became Elements and Winterfox, respectively. Curse Inc. could no longer sponsor LCS team Team Curse, thus the entire esports organization merged into Team Liquid.[22]

The 2015 Summer European LCS Finals were played at Hovet Arena, Stockholm. The series ended with Fnatic winning 3-2 over Origen and peaked at close to 1 million concurrent viewers on twitch.tv, Youtube, and Azubu - the highest amount of viewers for any LCS match to date. North American LCS finals were played at Madison Square Garden in New York City, where Counter-Logic Gaming defeated Team Solomid in 3 games to secure their first regional championship. Though NA LCS summer finals were typically held previously at PAX West in Seattle, this would be the start of the split finals being held in various locations around North America.

The 2016 Spring European LCS finals were held at Rotterdam Ahoy in Rotterdam, with G2 winning 3-1 against Origen, making it their first LCS title. The 2016 Spring European LCS split was the first time G2 played in the professional LCS after having been promoted due to winning the European Challenger Series and European Promotion Tournament in Summer 2016. The North American LCS finals were held at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, featuring a rematch from the last split's finals, with CLG repeating as LCS champions over TSM in five games.

The 2016 Summer European LCS finals were played at the Tauron Arena in Kraków, Poland. G2 won 3-1 against Splyce and secured their second LCS title. Splyce would later win the 2016 Summer European Gauntlet and qualify for Worlds as the third-seeded European team. The NA LCS finals were played at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, which was the first time an official NA LCS match was played outside of the US. TSM would defeat Cloud 9 to secure their record fourth title.

The 2017 Spring European LCS finals were held at the Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg, Germany, where G2 won 3-1 against Unicorns of Love, securing their third LCS title and qualifying for the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI), an annually-held international League of Legends competition. G2 placed second at the MSI 2017, losing 1-3 to SKT T1, the Korean representatives, in the finals. The North American Finals were held at Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; The second consecutive time that the final match was held in Canada. TSM would once again hold onto its title by defeating Cloud 9 for the second finals in a row.

Media Coverage[edit]

The LCS primarily reaches its viewers through online streaming using its own channels on Twitch and YouTube. On Twitch alone, viewership numbers regularly exceed 200,000 for regular season play,[4] and the games have drawn over 1.7 million unique visitors.[7] However, Riot Games CEO Brandon Beck stated in 2012 that there were no immediate plans to try to bring the LCS to traditional TV, and news coverage of the regular season is generally limited to dedicated electronic sports news sites, such as CBS Interactive's onGamers.[23]

The scale and popularity of the LCS itself, however, has attracted considerable media attention,[24] particularly around some events that legitimised the LCS as a serious competition.

Europe[edit]

Format[edit]

As of 2016, 10 teams from Europe compete in the European LCS. The ten teams are divided into two groups using a snake draft format.[25] Each season is divided into two splits, with opportunities for promotion and relegation preceding each split. Regular play in each split in Europe consists of 10 weeks of play consisting of 6-8 best of 3 matches per week. Each team plays each other team in the their own group twice and each team in the opposing group once. Teams are ranked within each group by win percentage, with ties allowed in regular season. For the purpose of seeding playoff positions, a tiebreaker is played to split a tie.[26]

At the conclusion of each split, a playoff is played to determine the final standings. The top 3 teams from each group determined via regular season standings are eligible for the playoffs, with the top 1 team from each group receiving a bye into the semi-finals. Teams placing 2-3 in their group play each other in quarter-finals to determine matchups for the #1 seeded teams in the semi-finals. Each split's playoffs award cash prizes and Championship Points, which are used to determine qualification into the annual League of Legends World Championship. Both the winner of the summer split and the team with the highest amount of Championship Points automatically qualify. The next five teams ranked by Championship Point total then play the Regional Qualifier Tournament to determine the final qualifying team.[27]

The top 4 teams of each group in the regular season automatically qualify for the next split. The bottom team of each group of the regular season must compete in a promotion tournament with the top two teams of the Challenger Series to determine the remaining two teams for the following split.[28][29]

Overview[edit]

  • Two groups of five teams each:
    • The top two teams are placed in separate groups according to the 2017 Spring EU LCS Championship Points.[30]
    • The remaining 8 teams are distributed to the groups via snake draft.[30]
  • Each team plays 13 matches:
    • A Double Round Robin within their own group.[30]
    • A Single Round Robin against the other group.[30]
    • Each match is a best of 3.[30]
  • The top 3 from each group qualifies to the playoffs.[30]
  • The two group winners receive playoff byes into the semifinals.[30]
  • The two fifth-place teams play in the 2017 EU LCS Summer Promotion tournament.[30]
  • Official 2017 Season EU LCS Rulebook

Teams[edit]

Group A[edit]

Headquarters Team First appearance in LCS Number of splits in LCS Current position in 2017 Summer Split Regular Season Group A Series record (W - L) Game record (W - L) Balance
Europe United Kingdom Fnatic Spring 2013 10 1. 5 - 1 11 - 3 +8
Europe United Kingdom Misfits Spring 2017 2 2. 4 - 1 8 - 5 +3
Europe Spain G2 Esports Spring 2016 4 3. 2 - 3 7 - 7 0
Europe Germany Team ROCCAT Spring 2014 8 3. 2 - 3 7 - 7 0
Europe Sweden Ninjas in Pyjamas[a] Spring 2013 3 5. 0 - 5 0 - 10 -10

Group B[edit]

Headquarters Team First appearance in LCS Number of splits in LCS Current position in 2017 Summer Split Regular Season Group B Series record (W - L) Game record Balance
Europe Germany Unicorns of Love Spring 2015 6 2. 4 - 1 9 - 4 +5
 European Union Splyce[b] Spring 2016 3 3. 4 - 1 8 - 4 +4
Europe United Kingdom H2k-Gaming Spring 2015 6 1. 4 - 2 9 - 4 +5
Europe France Team Vitality[c] Spring 2016 4 4. 1 - 4 3 - 8 -5
Europe Germany Mysterious Monkeys[d] Summer 2017 1 5. 0 - 5 0 - 10 -10
Team notes
  1. ^ Spot acquired from Fnatic Academy, due to the organisation already having an EU LCS team[31]
  2. ^ Spot acquired from Team Dignitas EU, due to the organisation having two LCS teams[32]
  3. ^ Spot acquired from Gambit Gaming[33]
  4. ^ Spot acquired from Misfits Academy, due to the organisation already having an EU LCS team[34]

Current Player of the Series Standings[edit]

Place Times Player Team
1. 3 Tristan "PowerOfEvil" Schrage Misfits
2. 2 Chres "Sencux" Laursen Splyce
2. 2 Fabian "Febiven" Diepstraten H2k-Gaming
2. 2 Jesse "Jesiz" Le Fnatic
2. 2 Mihael "Mikyx" Mehle Splyce
2. 2 Andrei "Xerxe" Dragomir Unicorns of Love
3. 1 Fabian "Exileh" Schubert Unicorns of Love
3. 1 Paul "sOAZ" Boyer Fnatic
3. 1 Jin "Blanc" Seong-min (진성민) G2 Esports (substitute) / Paris Saint-Germain eSports
3. 1 Choi "Chei" Sun-ho (최선호) H2k-Gaming
3. 1 Rasmus "Caps" Winther Fnatic
3. 1 Martin "Rekkles" Larsson Fnatic
3. 1 Nubar "Maxlore" Sarafian Misfits
3. 1 Petter "Hjärnan" Freyschuss Team ROCCAT
3. 1 Jesper "Zven" Svenningsen G2 Esports
3. 1 Erlend "Nukeduck" Våtevik Holm Team Vitality
3. 1 Milo "Pridestalker" Wehnes Team ROCCAT
3. 1 Samuel "Samux" Fernández Fort Unicorns of Love

Past Seasons[edit]

Split 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
2013 Spring United KingdomFnatic RussiaGambit Gaming EuropeEvil Geniuses GermanySK Gaming
2013 Summer United KingdomFnatic SwedenLemondogs RussiaGambit Gaming EuropeEvil Geniuses
2014 Spring United KingdomFnatic GermanySK Gaming GermanyTeam ROCCAT SwedenAlliance
2014 Summer SwedenAlliance United KingdomFnatic GermanySK Gaming GermanyTeam ROCCAT
2015 Spring United KingdomFnatic GermanyUnicorns of Love United KingdomH2k-Gaming GermanySK Gaming
2015 Summer United KingdomFnatic SpainOrigen United KingdomH2k-Gaming GermanyUnicorns of Love
2016 Spring SpainG2 Esports SpainOrigen United KingdomFnatic United KingdomH2k-Gaming
2016 Summer SpainG2 Esports EuropeSplyce United KingdomH2k-Gaming GermanyUnicorns of Love
2017 Spring SpainG2 Esports GermanyUnicorns of Love United KingdomFnatic United KingdomMisfits

Commentators and analysts[edit]

  • Martin "Deficio" Lynge (colour commentator and analyst)[35]
  • Daniel “Drakos” Drakos (play-by-play commentator and interviewer)[36]
  • Henning "Henning" Eklund (colour commentator and analyst)[37]
  • Mitch "Krepo" Voorspoels (colour commentator and analyst) - currently taking an extended break[38]
  • Aaron "Medic" Chamberlain (play-by-play commentator)[39]
  • Devon "PiraTechnics" Younge (play-by-play commentator)[40]
  • Trevor "Quickshot" Henry (play-by-play commentator)[41]
  • Eefje "Sjokz" Depoortere (host and interviewer)[42]
  • James "Stress" O'Leary (colour commentator and analyst)[43]
  • Andy "Vedius" Day (colour commentator and analyst)[44]

North America[edit]

Format[edit]

As of 2016, 10 teams from North America compete in the North American LCS. Each season is divided into two splits, with opportunities for promotion and relegation preceding each split. Regular play in each split in North America consists of 9 weeks of play consisting of 10 games per week. Teams are ranked by win percentage, with ties allowed in regular season. For the purpose of seeding playoff positions, a tiebreaker is played to split a tie.[45]

At the conclusion of each split, a playoff is played to determine the final standings. The top 3 teams from each group are determined via regular season standings are eligible for the playoffs, with the top 2 teams receiving a bye into the semi-finals. Teams placing 3–6 play each other in quarter-finals to determine who among them play the teams ranked 1 and 2 in the semi-finals. Each split's playoffs award cash prizes and Championship Points, which are used to determine qualification into the annual League of Legends World Championship. The winner of the summer split and the next team with the highest amount of Championship Points automatically qualify. The next five teams ranked by Championship Point total then play the Regional Qualifier tournament to determine the final qualifying team.[46]

The top seven teams of the regular season automatically qualify for the next split. The bottom three teams of the regular season must compete in a promotion tournament with the top two teams of the Challenger Series to determine the remaining three teams for the following split.[47]

Teams[edit]

Team First appearance in LCS Number of splits in LCS Current position in 2017 Summer Split Record Games
Cloud9 Summer 2013 8 5th 2-2 5-4
Counter Logic Gaming Spring 2013 9 1st 3-1 7-4
Echo Fox Spring 2016 3 6th 2-2 5-4
FlyQuest Spring 2017 1 8th 1-3 3-6
Immortals Spring 2016 3 4th 3-1 6-4
Phoenix1 Summer 2016 2 10th 0-4 2-8
Team Dignitas Spring 2013 8 2nd 3-1 7-4
Team Envy Summer 2016 2 3rd 3-1 7-4
Team Liquid Spring 2013 9 9th 1-3 3-7
Team SoloMid Spring 2013 9 7th 2-2 5-5

Past seasons[edit]

Split 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
2013 Spring Team SoloMid Good Game University Team Vulcun Team Curse
2013 Summer Cloud9 Team SoloMid Team Vulcun Team Dignitas
2014 Spring Cloud9 Team SoloMid Counter Logic Gaming Team Curse
2014 Summer Team SoloMid Cloud9 LMQ Team Curse
2015 Spring Team SoloMid Cloud9 Team Liquid Team Impulse
2015 Summer Counter Logic Gaming Team SoloMid Team Liquid Team Impulse
2016 Spring Counter Logic Gaming Team SoloMid Immortals Team Liquid
2016 Summer Team SoloMid Cloud9 Immortals Counter Logic Gaming
2017 Spring Team SoloMid Cloud9 Phoenix1 FlyQuest

Commentators and analysts[edit]

  • Aidan "Zirene" Moon
  • Sam "Kobe" Hartman-Kinzler
  • Julian "Pastrytime" Carr
  • James "Dash" Patterson
  • Rivington "Riv" Bisland III
  • Josh "Jatt" Leesman
  • Isaac "Azael" Cummings-Bentley
  • David "Phreak" Turley
  • Clayton "CaptainFlowers" Raines

References[edit]

  1. ^ LoL eSports staff (April 4, 2017). "Challenging the Champions - 2017 Summer Promotion Tournament". LoL eSports. Retrieved 2017-06-19. 
  2. ^ Latham, Jeff (2017-06-13). "The European Challenger Series is Back!". LoL eSports. Retrieved 2017-06-21. 
  3. ^ Leslie, Callum (June 1, 2017). "Franchising is officially coming to the NA LCS next year". Dot eSports. Retrieved 2017-06-19. 
  4. ^ a b Kwilinski, Darin. "LCS retains viewers during the Super Bowl". onGamers. CBS Interactive. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
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  20. ^ Deesing, Jonathan (November 19, 2014). "Expansion Tournament Adds Two Teams to LCS". Red Bull GmbH. Retrieved November 20, 2015. 
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  22. ^ Lingle, Samuel (December 19, 2014). "Curse Gaming gives up its name". The Daily Dot. Retrieved May 20, 2015. 
  23. ^ Rom, Kim (November 7, 2013). "Welcome to the onGamers beta". onGamers. Retrieved November 27, 2013. 
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  31. ^ "Ninjas in Pyjamas return to EU LCS, buying Fnatic Academy’s spot". The Rift Herald. May 24, 2017. Retrieved 2017-06-07. 
  32. ^ "Million-dollar deal for pro-gaming team". BBC. November 3, 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2015. 
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  34. ^ "Mysterious Monkeys in der EU LCS". Sport 1. May 19, 2017. Retrieved 2017-06-07. 
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  36. ^ Schnell, Marc (May 18, 2016). "EU LCS Survival Guide". www.eu.lolesports.com. Retrieved 2017-06-07. 
  37. ^ Riot Games EU (June 7, 2017). "We are excited to welcome @HenningLoL to the #EULCS Analyst Desk. He joins us from the Ragnarok Casting Desk!". @lolesports. Retrieved 2017-06-07. 
  38. ^ Voorspoels, Mitch (June 2, 2017). "Statement on Twitter". @Krepo. Retrieved 2017-06-07. 
  39. ^ lolesports (June 8, 2017). "This week @MedicCasts joins the #EULCS crew to cast MM vs UOL with @RiotDeficio and MSF vs ROC with @VediusLoL!". @lolesports. Retrieved 2017-06-08. 
  40. ^ Register, Mark (April 25, 2017). "PiraTechnics on being the EU LCS hype man, how he casts clown fiestas, and taking care of his voice". Blitz Esports. Retrieved 2017-06-07. 
  41. ^ Mahboubian-Jones, Justin (November 10, 2016). "Quickshot on the SKT vs SSG and Worlds’ future". Red Bull. Retrieved 2017-06-07. 
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  43. ^ O'Leary, James (March 25, 2015). "I'll be joining the EU #LCS analyst desk this week as a guest. Looking forward to some awesome games to close out the regular season!". @stresscasts. Retrieved 2017-06-07. 
  44. ^ Day, Andy (May 18, 2016). "Happy to announce that I will be joining the EU broadcast team as their new Colour Caster for the Summer CS + LCS :)". @VediusLoL. Retrieved 2017-06-07. 
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  47. ^ "League Championship Series/North America/2016 Season/Summer Promotion". eSportspedia's League of Legends Wiki. Retrieved 2016-06-03.