League of Legends (LoL) is heading into its second decade with the start of its 10th ranked season, this season’s change is dubbed the “Rise of the Elements” and has put a large focus on taking the newly-reworked dragons, leading to scrappier, action-packed games. The professional Leagues are starting soon, and we’ve got the key dates and quick rundowns for each of the main regions below.
The LPL season started on January 13th with a cataclysmic matchup between FunPlus Phoenix vs Invictus Gaming where, after a back and forth slog between the previous two World Champions, Invictus gaming came out on top. In other news the League has continued its expansion with “eStar” joining as the 17th LPL team. The region’s Demacia Cup tournament saw Royal Never Give Up (RNG) take 1st place while fielding their latest substitute for Uzi, Betty, while Uzi rests his long running injuries.
Remaining the quietest region in the offseason news for the League itself, LEC starts up on the 24th of January. After franchising in 2019, LEC was a smash hit and it seems as for production value they are back for more - even releasing a music video in anticipation for the League’s return. A few noteworthy roster moves are the reunion of Nemesis & Selfmade on Fnatic and the return of FORG1VEN from as he joins FC Schalke 04 Esports. The most bizarre change, however, has to be World finalists, G2 Esports, swapping Perkz back to Mid lane and Caps to ADC to what can only be assumed to be more G2 shenanigans.
The North American League has undergone the most extensive changes this year with a brand-new playoffs format and a weekly game schedule placing the spotlight on the weeks main games, and bringing attention to the Academy League. The Academy League will get its own dedicated broadcast on Fridays, starting January 24th, with four simultaneous games, with the highlights of each being jumped between on broadcast, followed by a final academy game. LCS starts on January 25th and will now broadcast four LCS games & one academy game weekly on Saturdays & Sundays. Another addition is the LCS will now have three academy games & two marquee LCS games each week on the new “Monday Night League” broadcast. The LCS’s broadcast changes are accompanied by an overhaul to the playoff system, championship points will be removed which means spring split results will no longer impact which LCS teams advance to World. Spring playoffs will now be a battle between the top 6 teams in the regular season, remaining as a double round robin with best of 1s, where only 1st matters as they advance to represent North America at MSI. The Summer split will no longer have a regional qualifier for third seed and will instead be a double elimination format with the top 6 teams starting in the winner’s bracket and 7th & 8th in the regular season starting in the loser’s bracket. After the four weeks of playoffs the top three teams then advance to represent North America at Worlds with their seeding based on their LCS finish. These changes to broadcasting & formatting should respectively increase viewership for LCS and allow North America to put its best foot forward in future international events.
The region’s scheduling takes after its signature play style and is waiting for late game as the LCK season does not debut until February 5th. The late start is partly to provide a break after the KeSPA Cup 2019 that was filled with unexpected results with the Afreeca Freecs defeating SANDBOX Gaming in the finals after the two teams had respectively defeated, the presumed finalists of, DragonX and the newly renamed T1. The only unfranchised League on this list maintained just as an explosive off season as T1 lost their rising star Clid to rivals GenG and Griffin’s Chovy followed his former coach cvMax to DragonX and after the results of the KeSPA Cup there’s no way clear indicators of who will pull ahead in the LCK 2020
Written by Callum Iles, @MelvinizzleLOL on Twitter