Earlier today, Riot released a massive update on the LoL Esports website regarding the future of the LCS System and Format, as well as an exciting announcement for high level players. The announcement of a low ping server for high level players has already ignited a hot debate in the LoL community. Do you think champions queue can save NA?
Is the LCS Having a Lock-In Tournament in 2022?
Riot confirmed in their update article that fans can expect a return of the Lock In Tournament after the success of last year's event. The tournament format will not change, with every LCS team participating.
For those who don't recall the overall format of last year, we'll give you a quick recap. There will be a group stage and a playoff bracket, just like before and the prize pool remains the same. 150,000 will go to the winner of the 2022 LCS Lock-In Tournament.
How will the LCS Format Change in 2022?
Although the Lock-In Tournament will remain unchanged, the overall LCS season format will receive a few tweaks for 2022. Fans can expect a short split for both Spring and Summer, with Riot reverting to 8 week splits. This means that games will be played on Saturdays and Sundays, but there will be two 'LCS Super Weeks' with games on Fridays throughout the season.
During the season, matches will start at 4PM Eastern Time on Saturdays and 3PM Eastern Time on Sundays. During those 'LCS Super Weeks', the Friday matches will begin at 5PM Eastern Time. Another major change that Riot have announced is that they're reverting to their previous format on Split Records. To elaborate, Spring split records won't carry on through to Summer, which was the case in 2021.
How will LCS Academy and Amateur Change in 2022?
In 2022, the Academy Season will have two splits featuring double round-robins and BO2 matches. Games will take place on Thursdays and Fridays, (Wednesdays and Thursdays on Super Weeks) being casted on two different streams operated by an unknown (as of now) third party.
Another huge announcement pertaining to LCS Academy is that playoffs are being removed entirely and replaced by Additionally, Proving
Grounds. Riot also clarified that every Academy team will automatically qualify into the Proving Grounds Tournament, which will occur once every split. Riot elaborated on the format in their post:
'To start, the bottom four Academy seeds will face the bottom four Amateur seeds in a single elimination best-of-three play-in to the
Proving Grounds main event. The 16-team main event will stay the same as 2021 — double elimination best-of-threes, leading into finals played on
Is Riot removing Scouting Grounds in 2022?
In spite of their efforts to reinvigorate the amateur scene for North American League of Legends, Riot have announced that they don't intend to hold Scouting Grounds for 2022:
Given our refocus and further investment into building out Proving Grounds and Amateur tournaments next year, Scouting Grounds will not return in 2022.
This may seem like a major structural change, but scouting grounds was an imperfect system at best. It gave us players like Blaber and Spica, but it's likely that these players would have risen to the top with an adequate amateur system in place regardless.
What is Champions Queue and How Will it Save NA?
Every year NA fails at Worlds and Riot/Owners try to problem solve: Why isn't NA a competitive region? If you were an LCS fan back in late 2020, you'll remember how many pro players were pushing for an inhouse server - for the purpose of higher quality practice. This need was met almost immediately and fans were treated to livestreams of high elo NA inhouses for around a month - then NA laziness set in.
All jokes aside, the idea of champions queue has been floating around for seemingly forever as a solution for pro players in NA. Currently, the problem is that League of Legends only has one server which is located in Chicago, Illinois. If you aren't familiar with NA geography, that's 2014 miles away or 3241.21 kilometers. Pro players in NA have always complained about having high ping, but now this 'should' be solved with the introduction of Champions Queue.
What is Champions Queue?
Champions Queue is the name coined for a new low-ping server for high-elo players. It will be located somewhere on the West Coast, likely in LA. This should mean that North American Pro Players can have higher quality practice in solo queue. However, this may not end up changing anything.
Why Won't Champions Queue Work?
Theoretically, the introduction of a high elo restricted server with low ping sounds great for improving the level of play in NA. However, pro players have already had this technology at their disposal with inhouses. Many have already criticized Champions Queue for failing to solve the real problem at hand: NA Work Ethic.
North American pro players need to work harder if they want to compete at an international level. It has also been brought up that this solution is unfair to aspiring pro players who live on the East Coast, as they'll be at a major ping disadvantage if they want to play with the best.
A perfect solution may be impossible to find, but surely Riot could try using multiple servers and connecting to the best fit for all in-game like Valorant? What do you all think?