The League of Legends Pro League in China will move to a new format starting in 2016, according to the official Tencent Games League of Legends website.
Under the new system, matches will be played in best-of-three series instead of best-of-two series, and LPL teams will be divided into two groups of six called A and B. Each team in a group will play each other twice in a round robin, and all teams from different groups will play each other once. This will result in a total of 96 best-of-three matches played over the course of the 2016 LPL Spring regular season. One point will be granted to the winner of each best-of-three series, with the losers receiving zero points.
The Tencent announcement stated there are many benefits that come from the best-of-three format. They believe best-of-threes will allow for more adaptation and more excitement for fans when a clear winner is decided. Unfortunately, the disadvantage is that more games will be played, so the new group system will be introduced.
To determine the groups, teams will be seeded based on their 2015 LPL Summer performances. They will be placed into four different pools from which event organizers will draw groups on Dec. 26 at 6 a.m. EST.
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One team for each group will be drawn from tiers one and four, and two teams from each group will be drawn from tiers two and three.
The LPL Spring regular season will begin on Thursday, Jan. 14 and will continue for 10 match weeks. The match schedule will encompass four days with games played from 4 a.m. to 9 a.m. EST on Thursdays and Fridays and from 12 a.m. to 8 a.m. EST on Saturdays and Sundays. Two best-of-three series will take place on Thursdays and Fridays, and three best-of-three series will take place on Saturdays and Sundays.
When the regular season concludes, the LPL will enter the playoff stage with teams seeded based on their Group Stage placing. All matches will consist of best-of-five series.
The first place teams in each group (A1 and B1) will be automatically placed into the semifinals, while second place teams in each group (A2 and B2) will automatically be placed into the quarterfinals. The third and fourth place teams from each group (A3, B3, A4, and B4) will face each other for a spot in the quarterfinals with the third place teams entering the matches with a one win advantage — meaning A3 will face B4 with a 1-0 game lead. The first place team in the playoffs will be invited to attend the 2016 Mid-Season Invitational.
Teams placing fifth and sixth in each group will have to play in the promotion tournament between Spring and Summer. This year, only the first place LSPL team will automatically enter the LPL. The last place teams in Group A and Group B will play against each other, and the winner of that match will face the the second place LSPL team in order to compete for a spot in LPL. The loser of both the last place matchup and the match against the second place LSPL team will be relegated.
The fifth place teams from Groups A and B will play against each other. The winner will keep their spot in LPL, and the loser will face the third place LSPL team for the final spot into LPL. The loser of that match is relegated.
Placement in the LPL Playoffs and the LPL Promotions will determine seeding for Group Draw for the 2016 LPL Summer.
Qualification for the World Championship after the 2016 LPL Summer Season are determined as follows:
1. First seed is granted to the winner of the 2016 LPL Summer Playoffs.
2. Second seed is granted to the team with the most circuit points.
3. A tournament will take place among teams ranked 2-5 in circuit points to determine the third seed.
Information on how circuit points will be accrued in the LPL this year is not yet available.
Kelsey Moser is a staff writer for theScore eSports. You can follow her on Twitter.