The New EU LCS Format Has Hampered The Development Of The Region

The EU LCS adopted a new format for their region at the start of the Spring Split that separated their ten teams into two divisions of five. After last split’s top two teams, H2K-Gaming and G2 eSports initially drafted the teams into two groups, the teams would play two best of three series against teams in their division and one with those against in the other division. By limiting the opportunity to play some of the other top teams in the region to only one series, the EU LCS has unintentionally limited their top teams when compared to the format of the NA LCS. 

It all started with a draft. G2 Esports and H2K Gaming each drafted one team for the other’s group, and then that team would continue the draft. When the dust settled, Group A consisted of G2 eSports, Fnatic, Misfits, Giants Gaming, and Team Roccat. In Group B we found H2K, Splyce, Unicorns of Love, Team Vitality, and Origen. While the groups appeared to be almost equal in strength at the beginning of the season, as the season has progressed this initial projection did not prove true.

Source: Riot Games Flickr

With a top tier of three teams that includes G2, UoL, and H2K Gaming, naturally there will be an imbalance. When you add in Splyce and Misfits, teams such as G2 are at a disadvantage competitively as they are only able to play three of the other top four teams only once the entire split. This is a disadvantage when compared to other regions such as NA, where teams have the opportunity to play all of the other top teams twice on stage. By not having multiple opportunities to play the other top teams on stage, you are limiting the growth and experience of your team.

The format also creates an irregular schedule for the teams where they are not playing at least two series each week. Unlike the NA LCS, teams may only play one game per week, once again limiting their growth and ability to gain stage experience. This is due to the fact that teams will only play a total of thirteen series, five less than their counterparts in NA. For those teams with aspirations of international success, more time on stage can only help them to be better prepared.

Source: Riot Games Flickr

The EU LCS format also only takes the three best teams from each division, regardless of whether or not those are the six best teams overall. While this might not be an issue in the current split, ideally you want your six best teams in the playoffs regardless of what group they are in. A playoff atmosphere is very different from that of the regular season, with increased energy and pressure. Making sure your best teams are in the playoffs is vital to improving the strength of the region.

The EU LCS format, while an improvement from the old best of two series, is still not ideal for the growth of the top teams in the region. Moving to a model that is similar to the NA LCS would be a smart move for the EU LCS to make at the end of the season. Limiting teams such as G2 to only one opportunity to play teams such as H2K Gaming and Unicorns of Love on stage is a mistake that should be remedied in order to increase the strength of the region.

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