As we come to the end of a crazy and thrilling first year in the UK League Championship, the time has come for us to look back and assess what changes we want to make for 2020.
When Forge of Champions Summer 2019 Main Event kicks off on Monday, it will mark the start of the final tournament in a landmark year for League of Legends in the UK and Ireland. Looking back, the UKLC has hit many of the goals we set out to achieve at its inception; uniting the local community, creating a clearer path to professional play, and providing players and organisations with greater stability.
But it’s been a learning curve, too, and our mindset at LVP UK has always been to seek out improvements: not only for our partnered organisations and players, but also for the fans, the bedrock of the community.
So, what’s changing?
When we created the league, we established a new format, the ‘tower’, loosely based on the ‘King of the Hill’ concept. Whilst we’re happy that this format provided a unique and entertaining angle for the league, ultimately we believe that the benefits were outweighed by the cons.
In particular, the reliance on a bracket draw and the differing number of games that teams played throughout the season meant that teams suffered from an uneven playing field. Though we took steps to mitigate this, community feedback has largely remained in favour of a more traditional format.
As such, we’ve decided to retire the tower in favour of what fans know and love: a classic double round robin tournament that feeds into Playoffs.
What does this mean for the league?
As you might have guessed, we’re not going to be running a round robin with an odd number of teams. As a result, the UKLC will feature 8 teams from Spring 2020.
While expanding to 10 organisations was something we considered, ultimately we don’t feel the time is right to allow more teams into the league. We’ll eye possible expansion in the future, as the quality of teams in the UK and Ireland continues to improve.
How will this affect the Promotion Tournament?
In order to bring the UKLC to 8 teams, only 1 team will qualify to the UKLC from the upcoming Promotion Tournament. This was communicated in advance to all UKLC organisations—this has been in the works for a while!—who are all on board with the changes. Teams that have qualified for the Promotion Tournament have also been made aware in advance of Forge of Champions. This is also part of the reason why only one spot was available to teams through the ArenaGG Online Qualifier this split (but we’ll be looking to provide teams with more opportunities to play and promote through online tournaments in the future).
The Promotion Tournament format will stay virtually the same as in Spring. First, the four Open Teams will play a best-of-1, double-elimination bracket without a Grand Final. The winners of the upper and lower brackets will both progress to the best-of-3 stage.
The best-of-3 stage is also double elimination, and is played on broadcast, featuring the top two Open Teams alongside NVision Esports and Barrage. The Grand Final is a weighted best-of-5, with the team entering via the winners’ bracket gaining a 1-win advantage. The winner promotes to the UKLC.
The 2020 competitive calendar
In 2020, due to the format changes, the competitive calendar is also shaking up. The TL;DR is that the Promotion Tournament is being separated from Forge of Champions, and will run parallel to the UKLC regular split. Forge will only run once in the year, as a standalone cup competition.
UKLC Spring Split: January – March
Online Qualifier & Promotion Tournament: February – March
UKLC Summer Split: June – August
Online Qualifier & Promotion Tournament: June – July
Forge of Champions Main Event: October – November
Note that these dates are estimates and subject to change.
As a standalone cup competition, Forge of Champions 2020 will still involve our UKLC teams, but there will be a greater focus on emerging and fringe talent in the UK and Ireland. We can’t disclose the details yet, but it is our intent that Forge presents greater opportunities to a larger pool of players, giving them a better platform to show off their skills.
It is our hope that these changes will make for a more competitive league, a better viewer experience, and a more stable environment for teams and players to succeed in the long term. We’re all here because we’re fans of League of Legends, and we want the scene to thrive in the UK and Ireland for years to come.
Thanks for sticking with us, and enjoy Forge of Champions.
The Forge of Champions Main Event will be broadcast in its entirety, so make sure you tune in to twitch.tv/lvpuklol to catch all of the action. And stay tuned to our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more updates and announcements as all the season’s drama unfolds!