EU LCS moves to Bo3 group format, only two teams sent to relegation matches

Thumbnail image courtesy of Riot Games

Not to be outdone by the sweeping changes the NA LCS made earlier today, Riot has added a three-stage group system to the EU LCS, changes to the promotion tournament and an increased prize pool.

First and foremost, EU LCS teams will now play in a group format that is very similar to the format used by China's LPL during the 2016 season. The teams will be split across two groups and play within their own groups from Weeks 1-3, then play the opposing group's teams from Weeks 4-7, then finally return to their initial groups for Weeks 8-10.

The groups will be determined through a draft. Seeds for the group draft are determined through last season's championship points, meaning that G2 Esports and H2k-Gaming will be given the two highest seeds and placed in two separate groups.

G2 will start the draft by picking a team they want to see placed in H2K's group, followed by H2K picking the team they want to see placed in G2's group. After that, the teams selected by the first two teams will pick another two teams that they want to see placed in the opposite group.

So if, for example, G2 were to pick Fnatic and place them in Group B, and H2K were to pick Splyce to play in Group A, then Fnatic would pick the next team to be placed in Group A and Splyce would pick the next team to be placed in Group B.

The playoffs format will remain mostly the same, though instead of the top two teams from the regular season being seeded into the semifinals, the top team from each group will get that seed instead. For the quarterfinals, the second place team from Group A will play the third place team from Group B and vice versa.

“This conference-style group format will offer us the interesting dynamics and stories we know from group play in tournaments, and ensure that every team in the league plays each other at least once via the cross-group phase,” Riot stated in a press release. “With the move to Bo3, we’ll add an additional layer of strategic depth to each match and will have a clear winner for each series. Also, the format will enable us to offer a more focused content experience via a single stream setup, avoiding fans having to pick and choose matches to watch in a hard-to-predict Bo3 schedule.”

All matches in the new EU LCS format will be best-of-three, a change from the best-of-two matches Europe played last split. On top of that, there will no longer be two streams for EU games, with all games being broadcast on a single Twitch channel. As a result, games will now be broadcast from Thursday to Saturday, with extra games being played on Sundays during Weeks 2, 7 and 10.

On top of this massive change to the regular season format, Riot is also implementing all the policy changes made to the NA LCS earlier today in the EU LCS as well. This includes reducing the number of LCS teams that are sent to the promotion tournament to two. As a result, the fifth place team in each group will be sent to the promotion tournament.

Other changes include a doubled prize pool, an independent arbitration process and a minimum guaranteed revenue of €50,000 per split from digital goods.

“As leagues around the globe mature and grow, so will their competitive and economic structures,” Riot stated in a press release. “In Europe, we are striving to create a more multi-layered competitive ecosystem, offering a bigger array of opportunities for seasoned and aspiring competitors over the coming years.

“We’ll continue to further develop thriving regional Esports environments that are linked with pan-European competition in a meaningful way and are looking forward to offering a more diversified competition structure for Europe in the long-term.”

Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

Misfits' Alphari: '[Flaxxish] didn't really pull out anything that made me not confident'

by 12h ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of lolesports / Riot Games

Misfits had to overcome some stage jitters in their first LCS series against Giants Gaming, they said in their post-game interview. Not only that, but the nerves came from a couple of the more experienced members of the team.

Tristan "PowerOfEvil" Schrage explained how he and Lee "KaKAO" Byung-kwon were nervous as they went on stage to play with their new teammates. "It was the first time won stage with me and KaKAO, like we were playing too scared in the first game... We just started Baron and we were like, 'Oh, how do we engage now?' It was just a little bit like first game, first time in LCS in a long time."

Barney "Alphari" Morris, when asked about the weird Illaoi pick seen by Olof "Flaxxish" Medin in Game 1 of the series, noted that "[Flaxxish] didn't really pull out anything else that made me not confident," and was worried about the lack of strong blind picks in the top lane.

IgNar was the player of the series in Misfits' 2-1 series victory, going 1/2/26 and having 69 percent Kill Participation over three games.

Gabriel Zoltan-Johan is a News Editor at theScore esports and the head analyst for the University of Toronto League of Legends team. His (public) musings can be found on his Twitter.

Pulse leaves EU LCS, joins LPL 3d ago

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Richard "Pulse" Kam announced that he would be departing EU LCS to cast the LPL from Riot's Oceania office.

"When people see me on screen, the automatic reaction is negative," Pulse stated on Facebook, "and regardless of whether that’s justified or not, that sentiment won’t change if viewers insta-mute the stream or have already decided that anything I say will be garbage.

"This is a big step for me and my career and at the end of the day it’s to provide more and better entertainment to the fans and audiences that watch the shows I’m on," said Pulse on what it means to be a caster.

He will be joining the LPL effective immediately, casting the first matches of the LPL season on Jan. 19.

"Consider this my training arc. Every half decent anime protag has to go through one and 2017 will be mine."

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ESPN Survey: Average NA LCS player salary approximately $105K, EU salary $81K

Thumbnail image courtesy of Riot Games

An anonymous survey by ESPN of of 33 LCS players from Europe and North America released Friday provided a rare glimpse into the state of salaries in both regions, along with further details on the life of a pro gamer.

The average salary of a North American LCS player is $105,385, according to the survey, while the European average is $80,816.

Riot's 2017 NA LCS rules state that the minimum player compensation is $12,500 per split per starting player and coach with a stipend for substitutes. Their goal in implementing LCS salaries was to ensure that players could live comfortably without fully relying on tournament earnings. The EU LCS rules have yet to be released.

LCS players also gave unique insight into the life of a professional League player. All players stated at least one of their parents approved of their career choice. 27 percent of players believed their parents fully backed their career, while 61 percent admitted that their parents did not initially approve but have since come around.

The time needed to compete in the LCS seems to strain relationships, according to the survey. Only 33 percent of players responded that they were in a relationship.

Another question brought validation to this opinion — the longest play session by a player was 80 hours, with the average longest play time in one sitting reaching 21 hours.

The survey also found that 27 percent of players admitted they know of players who take amphetamines or Ritalin to stay sharp for competitions, with 21 percent acknowledging they've seen at least one player compete while high or inebriated. In addition, 24 percent of players have been injured as a direct result of gaming.

Kristine "Vaalia" Hutter is a news editor for theScore esports. You can find her on Twitter.

Vizicsacsi: 'I think we are kind of even with H2K or Splyce right now'

by 11h ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Riot esports / EU LCS Summer 2016 / Flickr

Tamás "Vizicsacsi" Kiss said that Unicorns of Love should be considered contenders in their group in his post-series interview after a 2-0 versus Team Vitality.

"I think we are kind of even with H2K or Splyce right now, and I believe we have more potential than them." He also said that he believes the roster's talent and overall potential can allow them to eventually go top of the group, as the ceiling for success of this team is higher with new, young, pickups in Andrei "Xerxe" Dragomir and Samuel "Samux" Fernández.

Coach Fabian "Sheepy" Mallant has no idea where the Unicorns' "Chaos style" will take them, but will support and nurture it as long as it's a winning playstyle.

Vizicsacsi went 11/4/11 across the series against Team Vitality, playing his staple pick Poppy in Game One along with new champion Camille. His heroics earned him player of the series.

Gabriel Zoltan-Johan is a News Editor at theScore esports and the head analyst for the University of Toronto League of Legends team. His (public) musings can be found on his Twitter.

Watch: Vizicsacsi baits Cabochard in a 1v1

by 11h ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Riot Games

In Week 1's series between Unicorns of Love versus Team Vitality, Tamás "Vizicsacsi" Kiss pulled out the first Camille pick of the EU LCS. Facing Lucas "Cabochard" Simon-Meslet, who counterpicked with a Fiora, the Hungarian Unicorn ran away from the 1v1 before finally utilizing Camille's absurd kit to lock down the Fiora into a sticky situation.

Gabriel Zoltan-Johan is a News Editor at theScore esports and the head analyst for the University of Toronto League of Legends team. His (public) musings can be found on his Twitter.

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