There’s big news from the world of League of Legends in Europe.
Riot Games had been in discussion with Movistar Riders and North about the franchises joining the EU LCS. An announcement on this was expected in early November, but it’s been canceled amid rumors that many of the selected franchises were not happy with the terms of the participation agreement. Since then, Riot Games and the teams have negotiated a deal, and all but two teams — North and Movistar Riders — finally agreed on the terms.
Following this refusal, Riot Games moved to resolve the issue once and for all by offering the two places to Splyce and exceL Esports. Their confirmation in the tournament and as franchises within the EU LCS is expected Nov. 27.
What makes this all the more unusual is that the initial applications from Splyce and exceL were turned down by Riot Games back in September. Since then, Splyce has allowed all of its members to look for contracts with other teams. Splyce will now have to urgently contact players and staff from the original team to try and get them to remain for the next season.
For exceL Esports, this will be the team’s first experience of the EU LCS. That said, they have experience at the top level in Europe competing in the ESL Premiership.
The franchise model adopted by Riot Games for the European league follows the same one they implemented in North America last season. Ten teams are franchised by Riot Games and will now no longer have to face relegation from the league or a battle in a promotion tournament to regain position.
Goodbye EU LCS; welcome to the LEC
Riot has also instituted a major rebranding and restructuring of top-level League of Legends esports in Europe.
The new name for the now-defunct EU LCS is the League of Legends European Championship, or LEC.
Beyond Splyce and exceL, membership includes:
- Schalke 04
- G2 Esports
- Misfits Gaming
- Team Vitality
- SK Gaming
Of those 10 teams, excel Esports and Rogue are the two new names to the European league. All other teams have previously participated in the former EU LCS at some point.
In order to further identify the new LEC, Riot Games has worked with DesignStudio — of Premier League and Champions League note — on a new logo for the LEC as well as a series of 141 other illustrations based on League of Legends. These will be used on promo items and merchandise.
In part, the rebrand aims to diversify from the NA LCS with which it has become somewhat synonymous over the years.
The first LEC championship will begin on Jan. 18 in Berlin with the 10 teams playing through a Double Round Robin Group Stage. The tournament will conclude in April.
After those 18 games, the top six teams will qualify for the Summer Playoffs. The winner of the Playoffs will then earn the LEC spot at the Mid Season Invitational later in the year. The winners will take home a €80,000 share of the €200,000 prize pool on offer.
SK Telecom T1 to rebuild after miserable 2018
In other League of Legends news, Korean super-team and three-time World Champions, SK Telecom T1 have announced a massive rebuild ahead of the 2019 LCK season.
Unsurprisingly, the team is planning to hold onto their star player, Faker. Otherwise, they’ll attempt the right blend of players around the luminary.
This comes after a fourth-place finish in the Spring Split. Worse yet was the Summer Split in which the team could muster only seventh and missed out on competing at the World Championships.
One of SK Telecom T1’s roster from last season, Bang, has already been strongly linked with a move to 100 Thieves in the United States. Others, such as Untara, Thai, Blank, Blossom, Pirean, and Wolf all saw their contracts expire on Nov. 19.
The team has wasted little time in appointing new faces around Faker with the arrival of Khan, Crazy, Haru, Clid, and Teddy.