Riot Games has updated their rules for the 2016 League of Legends Championship Series with new policies on playoff seeding, new champions, substitute players and relegations.
Perhaps the largest change Riot is making is requiring substitute players to only be contracted to one organization at a time. This means that teams can no longer have active Challenger Series players on their rosters as subs. However, Riot is also introducing a formal loan system, which will let some players be active in both the LCS and the CS for a period of time.
Two organizations that have settled on a formal loan agreement can share a player on two rosters before the trade deadline each split. After that date, players can only play on one team for the rest of the split. The trade deadline for the Spring Split is March 1.
The other rule changes include shortening the time limit on new champions being unavailable for LCS play to one week, down from two, and altering the seeding for playoff games. In the LCS playoff semifinals, teams will be reseeded to ensure that the top seed will play the lowest seed. Additionally, as part of the new sub rules, any player competing in the LCS playoffs cannot play in the CS playoffs, and vice-versa.
Finally, the relegation process has been changed for the bottom place teams in each split. The bottom three teams in each LCS split will now play in a three-day, best-of-five tournament with the Top 2 teams from the CS. The tenth place LCS team will play the second place CS team in an elimination match, then the eighth place LCS team will play the winner of that game in a promotion match. Following that, the ninth place LCS team will play the first place CS team in a promotion match, and finally, the remaining teams will play a promotion match against each other.
"We’re aware that the prospect of auto promotion offered a motivational ‘carrot’ for CS teams (just as auto relegation offered a ‘stick’ for LCS teams) and that this increases the number of steps needed to break into the LCS," Riot stated in their announcement post. "With the increasing quality of top-tier CS teams however, we’re confident that teams of LCS caliber (whether they were LCS or came from CS) will still claim their rightful place by making it out of the tournament."
Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore eSports. You can follow him on Twitter.