Riot Games Announces 2017-18 LoL Esports Events and Rift Rivals

With the ever-growing popularity of esports, a larger fan base, more talented players, new teams, there is a constant need for improvement. Riot Games takes this very seriously and strives to offer something new each season. The changes they implement have the purpose of enhancing the quality of games and tournaments while bringing more excitement and raising the competitiveness to a whole new level. They released a statement with important changes that will make League of Legends and esports in general even more exciting.

League of Legends Icon Rift Rivals

The most important change from the latest Riot Games’ announcement is the introduction of Rift Rivals, a global offline international competition that will test some of the most heated regional rivalries in LoL world.

Rift Rivals consists of five tournaments that will pit teams from all 13 regions with their closest rivals. The most exciting aspect of this new competition is that each tournament will be different depending on numbers of invited teams, format, and venues. That said, every event will witness a battle between two different regions i.e. there won’t be matches where two teams from the same region play one another.

The teams for the Rift Rivals tournament are selected according to the most recently completed split (Spring or Split 1) rankings. For instance, G2 Sports from Europe will be seeded as EU #1 at the start of the tournament.

Rivals that will battle one another during this competition are:

  • Europe (EU LCS) and North America (NA LCS)
  • China (LPL), South Korea (LCK), and Taiwan-Hong Kong-Macau (LMS)
  • Japan (LJL), Oceania (OPL), and Southeast Asia (GPL)
  • Commonwealth of Independent States (LCL), and Turkey (TCL)
  • Brazil (CB), Latin America South (LAS), and Latin America North (LAN)

For more details about this brand new tournament check out our League of Legends Rift Rivals 2017 Overview.

League of Legends Icon LoL not a part of Intel Extreme Masters

Another major announcement from Riot Games is that League of Legends will not be a part of Intel Extreme Masters during the 2017-18 season. In fact, this is the first time since 2011 that the IEM tournament won’t feature LoL. Riot Games stated that while they remember and cherish epic moments that occurred at IEM tournaments, they believe that withdrawing from the upcoming season is a right thing to do.

So, what is the reason behind this decision that came as a shock to a large fan base?

The primary reasons for the withdrawal are the schedule changes to League of Legends LCS 2017 and 2018 that Riot Games is preparing to introduce. The goal of rebooting the 2017-18 calendar is to balance regional play with consistently high-quality international events.

Regional competitions bear the tremendous importance due to the fact they put an emphasis on creating meaningful connections between professional players/teams and their fans. On the other hand, international events offer excitement, high-quality performances, and raise the quality of the entire league.  That is why the schedule changes and Rift Rivals have the purpose of combining the two.

League of Legends Icon Why two splits?

In their statement, Riot Games also provided answers to some questions that all fans would probably ask. One of these questions is: why two splits in the first place? They didn’t want to kill Split 1 and leave one split only because making dramatic changes in a short timeframe is counterproductive. There are more than 100 teams from 13 regional pro leagues and hundreds of professional players.

Canceling one split would create an imbalance in the current ecosystem and prevent some players from getting paid, which would be unacceptable. However, Riot Games also explained that no system is set in stone, but the benefits of the current amount of regional play outweigh the potential disadvantages.

Although they are considering shortening the splits and adding more international play, that won’t occur in 2017-18. At the same time, they won’t add a more international play on top of the current amount of regional play to allow players to have some rest and avoid burnout.

Read the full statement here.

Bottom line

Riot Games announced big changes for the 2017-18 season. First, LoL won’t participate at the IEM tournament. Also, they are going to start a new tournament, Rift Rivals, to pit two regions against one another. One thing is for sure, we’re going to see more passionate battles, new talented players emerging on the scene, and overall greater quality in performance.

About the Author: Aman El TawilAmna El Tawil is a news reporter and a technology blogger. For the past five years, she has worked for major publications and TV networks in the Middle East, covering one of region’s hotspots. When Amna is not chasing after the truth amidst gas canisters, she can be found cheering her favorite football team on, or unwinding with some online gaming.