League of Legends eSports fans are forced to live in the moment – understandable given the rapid pace with which the scene is continuously evolving – the team you support passionately now, might not even exist next year. Dwelling on the past feels futile given the rate of change in the scene, hence the ideology that the LCS spring splits count for nothing, since qualification for the World Championship takes place during the summer. The truth is, if you treated the spring split with respect, then you deserve to qualify for worlds.
There has been vocal opposition to Counter Logic Gaming and H2K Gaming’s World Championship qualification, on account that both sides relied heavily on their spring split statistics to bring them into contention. Meanwhile Splyce, the wonderboys of the summer split, were forced to battle their way through the Gauntlet run to earn their spot, as were Cloud9 in NA. Immortals, one of the most consistent performers this season in the NA LCS, missed out completely.
Counter Logic Gaming owe their spot at worlds to their spring split performance almost entirely. As the champions in spring, CLG posted an impressive second place at the MSI, losing only to the Korean powerhouse, SKT T1 in the final. Comparably, CLG’s summer performance was almost unrecognisable – Aphromoo and co. were completely decimated by Team SoloMid in the playoff semi-finals, relying on a TSM victory over Cloud9 in the final to secure their spot at worlds on championship points.
H2K would have similarly failed to qualify for the world championship after their 3rd place finish in the summer split, with Splyce looking strong in their summer split finish and Fnatic having made it to finals last split. The spring split points system provided a gateway for H2K to qualify with two 3rd place finishes, granting the opportunity for fans to enjoy one of the most exciting narratives of the forthcoming tournament – FORG1VEN vs Korean and Chinese AD Carries.
Granted, the World Championship falls directly after the summer split and it would therefore make sense for the tournament to rely heavily on the preceding split of play. Similarly however, the Mid Season Invitational can be considered the ‘World Championship of spring’, it certainly has an impact on teams’ ability to reach Worlds so why isn’t it treated with the respect it demands?
Infamously, G2 entered the spring tournament with the mindset that MSI meant nothing – Europe now find themselves in the 2nd pool of teams ahead of the finals’ seeding. The regions that respected the importance of spring are now reaping their rewards, Team SoloMid for instance now hold a top tier seeding, thanks largely to the work of their rivals Counter Logic Gaming. The toxic impression that spring serves as the “warmup split before the real one” couldn’t be further from the truth.