Format and rules changes – 2016 LCS Spring Split

LCS gets better with each season as the rules and format are revised to maintain the balance and fairness in the competition. As the new LCS season kicked off with the 2016 EU and NA Spring Split it's time to talk what has changed in terms of the format and rules. Like the previous seasons, this season brought some important changes that will keep the teams, players and fans hooked. Many of the rules that were followed in the last season are modified to suit the format and competitive spirit of the league in 2016.

The Spring Split brought some changes to the playoffs and teams/players will need to play tough to break each match. If the teams are eyeing for the ‘bragging rights’ they better sweat harder as most of the significant changes are in the playoff and tournament realm.  LCS is aiming for a higher degree of competitive integrity and is concentrating on improving various components of the league.

Back to: LCS 2016 – Overview

Changes for the Spring Playoffs

Playoffs ButtonLike in previous seasons playoffs the top six teams are seeded as per their regular ranks with the top 2 teams getting a bye to the semifinals of the playoffs. However the 2016 Spring Split Playoffs, the semi final round will see an inclusion of reseeding. Aside from the semi final reseeding, LCS and CS players have some revised rules to follow when it comes to playing in both LCS and CS playoffs.

  • Semi final reseeding will feature the 1st seed battling the lowest remaining seed while the 2nd seed will clash with the highest remaining seed.
  • Reseeding is considered important this season as LCS wants to make the teams work harder to win the league. It is also helpful to avoid intentional game losses to gain an easy entry into LCS.
  • Reseeding will also force teams in the lower positions to battle tough if they want to win the league.
  • Players were able to play in both LCS and CS playoffs, but not anymore. As the revised rule requires the players to focus only on one playoff (the rule applies to Regional Qualifiers Tournament and Promotional Tournaments as well).
  • The players are restricted to one playoff till the completion of the league to protect the CS playoff structure from disruption.

Competitive Patch and Tournament Realm

Tournament Realm ButtonThis season, LCS is emphasizing the need to maintain a well established link between the expierence on currently live League of Legends client and tournament atmosphere. LCS considers the link as one of the most important factor that can connect the audience and fans to the league. Hence, Champions will be available in LCS if they are available on the LoL client for more than a (1) week in their current version. (This includes new champions like Jhin, or champion reworks)

  • In the last season, champions needed to be available on the live service for more than 2 weeks before LCS players could draft them. According to Riot Games, this was necessary to keep the bugs and balance issues that may affect the newly released champions in check.
  • In this season, the frequency of bugs is far lesser than ever and pros are flexible enough to adjust to a new patch in just 1 week, thanks to the diligence showed by the players.
  • The revised rule is also important for players who are between practice sessions and competitions to maintain a link between the Live and Tournament Realm.
  • Such link can also hone the skills of the players and teams in terms of adaptability.

Loans/ Subs / Player Contracts

  • Just like how LCS teams are required to put their players on a contract, the revised LCS rules require challenger players to be bound to a contract to provide them stability. And contracts will also thereby prevent them from being poached by other teams. Hence, a player will be bound to one team, either to LCS or CS.
  • However, LCS has formalized the loan process to let the players have plenty of opportunities. In the formalized loan process, player can be on more than one roster.
  • The formalization of the loan process must be well before the trade deadline. And after the deadline a player cannot be placed on two rosters but he/she will be on one roster for the rest of the split. The rule applies to sister teams as well.
  • The revised rule is thought to encourage and protect the CS pros by implementing contracts and thereby stability.

 Auto promotion / relegation in Spring Split

Format ButtonEarlier, auto promotion and relegation were introduced so that the LCS will have an interesting mix of talent and competition. And it was also intended to make the LCS healthier for players and teams. However, LCS no longer considers auto promotion/relegation to bring out the best in the teams/players. Instead, LCS is eliminating auto promotion and relegation from the league to make the Spring Spplit stable and reliable.

  • The reason for the removal of auto promotion/relegation is also to check the teams that use it as an easy option to enter LCS and misuse the position by selling it.
  • Removal of auto promotion/relegation can provide stability to the players with stable organizations.
  • With the upcoming changes in the format of LCS, it is no more an option for the players and teams to go through auto promotion/relegation to maintain a healthy game environment.
  • The removal actually creates a good spirited and fair gaming environment for the players/teams.

Promotion Tournament

  • In this LCS, players and teams cannot think that a ’Challenger Series win’ will fetch them the winner’s title but it is just an invitation to be able to qualify as an official LCS team.
  • As mentioned earlier, the auto promotion/relegation has been eliminated.
  • To substitute auto promotion/ relegation, LCS will employ an elimination/promotion tournament for the 3 LCS teams in the lower-tier along with the top-tier 2 challenger squads.

The Format of the LCS 2016 Summer Promotion tournament

  • On day 1(match 1, BO5), the 10th LCS position will clash with the 2nd CS position. The loser will be eliminated.
  • On day 2 (match 2, BO5), 8th LCS position will battle the winner and the resulting champions will be promoted to LCS.
  • On day 2 (match 3, BO5), 9th LCS position will face the 1st CS position and the winning team will enter LCS.
  • On day 3(match 4) the teams that lost in 2nd and 3rd match will face each other and the winner will enter the LCS while the loser will be eliminated.
  • The format focuses on bringing out the 3 best teams to LCS.
  • While auto promotion/relegation ensured new teams’ entry to LCS, the revised format will provide a fair competition by which the best of teams will remain in LCS.
  • The rule revision cannot be seen as a threat to CS pros/teams because CS teams are increasingly becoming top-tier and such tough format should not bother them.

Other changes that promote competitive integrity in LCS

Aside from the above mentioned LCS changes, this season also has few more rule revisions such as:

  • The line-up change or modification requires to be notified in 48 hours notice (revised from 72 hours).
  • An active roster should have five starters and 2-5 reserve players as opposed to 3-5 reserve players in the last season.
  • The penalties for rule violations have been made consistent this season during the competition months.

With all these rule revisions and changes LCS 2016 is going to be tougher than ever! Fans can stay tuned for more information. To find out even more: check out the official rulebook PDF.

You might also be interested in:

Format changes LCS Summer Split 2016

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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.

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