LoL: Riot Games announces major format changes to Worlds, MSI
The developer increases the stakes of every match. It also trims the pool by implementing a blend of Swiss and double-elimination brackets at the earlier stages. Riot reasons that it will cut down the number of “dead rubbers.”
For the first time since 2018, Worlds will return to its “spiritual home,” South Korea, this year. It will be an in-person event that local fans can attend. Additionally, the organizer introduces several big changes to the major tournament.
In the past, Worlds used a double round-robin format for 16 teams in the group stage. These teams were divided into four equal groups. The new format is the Swiss bracket, a non-eliminating format featuring a pre-determined number of rounds.
The group stage now only has a single group of 16 teams. The seeding from Play-Ins for Round 1 decides the matches in the group stage. Teams that accumulate three series wins will head to playoffs. The system will be Best of 1s until the teams enter the elimination series in Best of 3 matches.
Eight teams from the group stage will head to playoffs, implementing the usual single elimination format with Best of 5 series until the end. The organizer divides the teams into two equal groups. The top two teams from each bracket will proceed to the next stage and compete with each other for spots in the Main Event.
Riot said the new changes ensure that “every single game at Worlds had stakes.” The new format reduces eliminations that have nothing to do with the outcome of the major.
“Bringing a multiple elimination format to Play-Ins and Swiss gives teams a chance early in the tournament to make a comeback if they started off poorly and gives us more games to watch our favorite pros compete,” Riot added.
This year, MSI heads to London, marking the first time an international League event is being held in the U.K. since 2015. Since Riot’s regional changes took effect, the mid-season major has expanded its pool to 13 teams.
The top four regional leagues — League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK), League of Legends Pro League (LPL), League of Legends EMEA Championship (LEC) and League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) — each send two teams to the major.
Meanwhile, minor tournaments — Liga Latinoamérica (LLA), Pacific Championship Series (PCS), Vietnam Championship (VCS), Campeonato Brasileiro de League of Legends (CBLOL) and League of Legends Japan League (LJL) — will each send one representative.
The League of Legends Circuit Oceania (LCO) has been acquired by the PCS, and thus Oceanian teams must compete within a larger pool to participate in MSI this year.
Starting this year, MSI no longer includes the group stage in its event. Instead, the top eight teams in the early stage will head straight to the bracket stage. Meanwhile, the first seeds from LCK, LCS, LEC and LPL get a bye.
These teams will enter a double-elimination bracket. This second stage has two brackets consisting of four teams, with the best from each bracket heading for the Main Event. The Main Event will also present the winner of the Loser’s final.
Riot explained that the MSI format change was related to its main objective to see the strength of teams and regions after half a season.
“With this new competitive format, we hope to better deliver on that opportunity, as well as showcase more exciting best-of series, and allow for more player stories to unfold,” Riot said.