Riot Games just revealed some big news regarding their future plans for LoL Esports to merge Europe, the Middle East and Africa, creating a completely new competitive region: EMEA. Along with the merging come some key changes to the LEC and a whole new format.
To mark the second decade of Riot Games, Riot has decided to enter a new chapter in LoL Esport's history by merging the major European region together with Türkiye, CIS, the Middle East and Africa (MENA) to become an even bigger region under the name EMEA.
This is what Maximilian Peter Schmidt, Director of League of Legends Esports EMEA, has to say about the changes.
Over the past decade, our team has worked tirelessly to create an industry-leading esports ecosystem. Today, we’re excited to reveal our plan for the next decade of LoL Esports in EMEA and the changes we’re bringing to the LEC and wider ecosystem to continue offering a best-in-class experience to our players
EMEA Looks To Strengthen Competition
These changes look to strengthen the level of competition in the region and to make a step towards becoming a major part of the future sports scene in EMEA.
Maximilian further explains that these changes will "enhance the opportunities for professional and aspiring LoL players in the region" and give them even more possibilities to reach the highest competition in EMEA.
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This merging will change the whole ecosystem we already know from the European scene. Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming changes.
The New EMEA Ecosystem Explained
With the merging also comes changes to the multi-tiered ecosystem of the LEC. Firstly, we will see the Türkiye Championship League (TCL) and Arabian League (AL) join the EMEA Regional League (ERL) circuit.
If you are unfamiliar with the Regional Leagues, these are leagues competing in the third division, like the french La Ligue Francaise (LFL) and the Spanish LVP Superliga.
EU Masters (second division) will now transition to EMEA Masters (EM) and will consist of teams across the various regions in a new, unified region.
Players from Merged Regions Won't Be Considered Imports in Europe
With these changes, we will go into a future where all players that have residency status in Europe, Türkiye CIS, and MENA will not be subject to the Interregional Movement Policy, meaning they can compete freely in the LEC and not be considered an import from another region.
This will create a pathway for even more pros across the various regions to make it to the top of professional League of Legends inside of EMEA, the LEC.
The LCL Will Remain Suspended
Due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the LCL will remain suspended until further notice. Meanwhile, Riot will continue to monitor the situation and assess the possibility of including the league in the ERL at a later point in time.
The LEC With a Renewed Format
With the upcoming merging plans, the League of Legends European Championship (LEC) will have a completely new name (but the same abbreviation) - The League of Legends EMEA Championship (LEC).
Now, as you might see, the name and the merging is not the only thing changing in the LEC. We are also looking at a completely new format for EMEA's most esteemed championship.
The New LEC With Three Splits and a Season Finals
The whole competition will be sectioned into three splits and one LEC Season Finals. The three future splits will be Winter, Spring and Summer.
Winter and Spring will take place before MSI, whereas Summer and the LEC Season Finals will take place after the MSI but prior to Worlds.
LEC Split Format Explained
- Each Split will start with a single, best-of-one round-robin. The top eight teams will move on to the group stage.
- The group stage will have a best-of-three double-elimination format, and the top four teams make it into the playoff stage.
- The playoff stage is the last stage of the split and will be played in a best-of-five format.
Who Will Qualify for the LEC Season Finals and Worlds?
To declare who is fit enough to compete at the highest level in the EMEA, Riot Games has decided to have the top six teams from the whole year qualify for the LEC Season Finals. If a team won any of the splits, they automatically qualify.
Lastly, to qualify for Worlds, the team has to make it to the LEC Season finals and become one of the top teams in the last stage of the season.
With the season being over for this year, we are excited to see what the future holds for the new region in 2023 and hope to witness new stars being created from various places within the EMEA.