As reported by several sources, the LCK’s third seed might be losing its spot in the Worlds Group Stages. Instead of them, all of Chinese LPL’s seeds will be granted a spot in the Group Stages. This comes after several League of Legends international tournaments where the LCK performed worse than the LPL. As Groups placement is determined by international results in the last two years, this move makes a whole lot of sense. The LCK third seed would still get the chance to qualify for the main event, although through the Play-In stage.
The Play-In stage was first introduced to the League of Legends World Championship in 2017. Previously, the format at Worlds only gave two Wildcard teams the chance to play on stage. With the introduction of Play-Ins, Riot wanted to give more Wildcard teams the chance of playing on stage. The current format allows eight Wildcard teams from various regions to play in the Play-Ins. The other four spots are reserved for the four major regions’ third seeds, giving them a chance to qualify for the main event. Previously, these regions were EU, NA, the LPL, and the LMS. However, based on previous reports, the LCK might be taking the LPL’s spot at this and potentially next year’s League of Legends World Championship.
There has even been an ongoing debate about excluding the LMS’s second seed from the Group Stages. Similarly to the LCK situation, they would still have a chance to qualify through the Play-In stage. This is due to the steady decline of the region in the last few years. Even though the region had a League of Legends World Champion, the current teams are far from where the Taipei Assassins were when it came to skill. Although the Flash Wolves were a worthy opponent for quite some time, they haven’t been for quite a while. Their most talented players left for other regions, and the roster simply isn’t as stacked as it used to be. This is clear in their play as well as their simply being unable to keep up with the other major regions.
While I’m not trying to throw shade at the LMS here, the results clearly prove what I’m talking about. At this year’s MSI, the LMS representative finished sixth, only above the Wildcard representative. Furthermore, at last year’s Worlds, none of the LMS teams made it out of the Group Stages. The best performing team, the Flash Wolves, again finished second to last, only above the Wildcard representative. What is more, the two other teams finished dead last in their respective groups with neither winning a single game. The recent controversies going on in the region sadly aren’t helping their case either.
Compare that to G2 Esports, EU’s third seed at Worlds 2018, and it becomes clear they might be a good replacement for a struggling region’s second seed. G2 Esports made it all the way to the semifinals at Worlds 2018 after having to fight their way through the Play-In. While some might say it was an advantage, this is a debate for another day. Add Fnatic’s finals appearance and Team Vitality’s impressive showing in a tough group to that and you have a strong case for the EU region. Lastly, EU’s recent victory at MSI would make for a compelling argument to why they deserve the third seed.
Do you think the LCK’s 3rd seed deserves a spot in Group Stages? What is your opinion on the LMS losing its second seed at the main event? Let us know in the comments below!
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Vince Koyle is an esports writer, tech nerd and future CompSci student. He often likes to compare traditional sports to esports, showing his love for both kinds. Also tends to sometimes try too hard with explaining what esports is and how it isn’t any different than traditional sports. He mainly covers the League of Legends scene, with an emphasis on European and Asian leagues.