Everybody’s Playing On The Weekend? Not Anymore As NA And EU LCS Undergo Format Changes

Posted By Rachel Perry on May 20, 2016 - Last Updated on January 22, 2018

[toc]With the 2016 Mid-Season Invitational now in the books, it’s time to turn our attention to the 2016 North American and European Summer Split.

The NA and EU LCS Summer Split will be undergoing some drastic formatting changes to their regular season configuration. We’re here to get you all caught up on the new format and everything you need to know before the next split begins on June 3.

New NA and EU LCS formatting rules for 2016

Previously the NA LCS format followed single-game matchups each week, with every team playing two games on Saturday and Sunday.

Now the NA LCS will start on Friday and will feature six best of 3 series (Bo3) each week. The current scheduled format is to have the first Bo3 series begin at 5 p.m. on Friday, with the second series beginning directly afterwards (currently scheduled for 8 p.m. on Friday).

The biggest change will be the weekend format. League of Legend’s parent company, Riot, will now be utilizing two stages (Battle Arena and Battle Theatre) to broadcast two series concurrently on the weekend.

The Battle Arena was first unveiled in 2015 and will continue to host a live studio audience during games. Battle Arena matches will take place over the weekend (Saturdays/Sunday) and will be shown on NALCS1 (more on that below).

The Battle Theater is Riot’s newest studio. The Battle Theater is set up similar to the Battle Arena, but will be held in a smaller, more intimate space.

If you’re worried about missing any action because two games will be on at the same time, don’t fret!

Riot has stated they will accommodate for their fans by providing streaming services that show both games on the same screen (think Red Zone or NFL Sunday Ticket-type streaming services).

Of course, there will also be VODs (Video On Demand) after the conclusion of each game if you want to watch each game in its own glory. Below is a guide on how to watch League of Legend matches next split:

  • LoL eSports  The official League of Legends website features a Watch Page that will stream live matches. There will be a drop down menu to toggle between watching simultaneous games at the same time.
  • Twitch – The biggest change is that the main RiotGames channel will no longer be streaming all games. They’ll be splitting the streaming of NA LCS games across three different channels.
    • NALCS1 Channel/EULCS1: This channel will be primarily streaming games from the Battle Arena (main stage), except for Fridays when games are only played in Battle Theater (Riot’s new stage), but will be streamed on NALCS1.
    • NALCS2/EULCS1 Channel: This channel will be streaming exclusively games that are played in the Battle Theater on Saturdays and Sundays.
    • RiotGames Channel: This main channel will rotate featuring exciting match-ups or fan-favorites from around the world.
  • YouTube – There will be no changes to the current YouTube channels, with all games being broadcasted through LoLesports.

These aren’t the first changes we’ve seen Riot make to its Spring and Summer Split schedule. Riot has been evolving the regular season format over the course of two years.

Last year, the company eliminated Super Weeks and extended the playoffs to cover multiple weeks instead of one action-packed weekend.

We’ve already seen Riot move the LoL Pro League (LPL – China region) and the LoL Champions Korea (LCK – Korean region) to a Bo3 series. It seems the success there has warranted the move in the NA LCS as well.

In an official statement by Riot explaining its reasons, the company stated:

During the course of this past season, we took a careful look at how the current LCS Bo1 format was meeting our dual goals of creating great entertainment value and providing the best competition – testing players and teams to the best of their abilities and equipping them for international competition. We want to create a fair and entertaining league experience – one in which the highest level of League of Legends play is showcased and rewarded, but is also fun to watch.

Ultimately, we felt that we could do better on both counts.

The Bo1 format also has some clear drawbacks. For many of us, Bo1s don’t feel as satisfying as a longer series – due to their short nature, there’s not as strong a feeling of victory when a team wins as there would be with a more extended series. Teams currently don’t get a lot of practice in a competitive best-of series which may affect their ability to adapt mid-series in the LCS post-season and the knockout stages of MSI and Worlds.

Beyond this, the Bo1 format means more time between games because more teams are transitioning to and from the stage – we’d generally like to decrease time between games in 2016.  Moving towards Bo2 and Bo3 formats creates some immediate competitive value for players and teams (although each format has different advantages).

EU LCS moving to BO2

The EU LCS format will also be changing to a Bo2 format. Riot confirmed that both regions wanted to move away from the Bo1 format, but could not agree on which format was the best after weighing the pros and cons.

For now, they want to try out both formats and then reevaluate at the end of the split. Riot also acknowledged that the prevalence of Bo2 formats in many European sports leagues played a part, whereas American culture prefers to avoid any sort of ties.

Riot has stated its two main concerns switching to the Bo3/Bo2 format will be the increased demand on players and Riot employees. More resources will be needed for players and a system will need to be developed to support extended broadcasts.

Below is a visual reputation of how this new format will work in the NA and EU LCS:
NA LCS Format

EU LCS Format

Championship Points remain the same

There were no announced changes to seeding from the previous changes to the 2015 LCS season.

NA and EU leagues will continue to use Championship Points for World Championship qualification. The first place team of the Summer Split will automatically qualify for Worlds as the first seed from that region.

The team that has accrued the most championship points throughout the season will also qualify for Worlds as the second seed. The final worlds seed will be determined at the NA LCS Regional Qualifier at the NA LCS Studio on September 3-5.

Riot has confirmed that it will be going on the road once again in both the NA and EU LCS Summer Finals. Locations have not been determined yet, however. Expect something within the next month.

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