Riot has announced earlier today that due to national travel restrictions as a result of the pandemic, two teams who have already qualified for the League of Legends World Championships 2020 tournament will not be able to compete at the event in Shanghai.
“Over the past several weeks, we explored every possible option to include VCS teams while ensuring the safety of VCS players and the delivery of a world-class event. VCS teams and VCS fans have been an irreplaceable fixture of Worlds, but in consideration of current circumstances, we have made the difficult decision to proceed without them this year. We look forward to seeing them next year, knowing that Vietnam will be that much more passionate to bring home a World Championship title.” – Riot Games
However, it was mentioned that the VCS teams will still be awarded their full share of the prize pool as if they had participated.
No other regions will be offered additional slots to make up the originally planned 24 team tournament structure so this means the format will be adjusted.
In order to improve the level of excitement from the play-in experience and to minimize schedule changes, the tournament planners have decided to condense the Play-In stage to just 10 teams, advancing the LCK third seed team straight into the Group Stages based on past regional performance on the international scene.
Here is a summary of the format changes:
- Only 10 teams competing during the Play-In Stage (originally 12 teams)
- Third seed from the LCK advances straight through to the Group Stages to replace the VCS first seed spot and to make the number of Play-In Stage teams even
- 10 teams will be split evenly into two seeded groups to play in a single round-robin cycle
- First-place teams of each group will automatically advance to the Group Stage and the last place teams are eliminated
- Third and fourth place teams to face off in a best-of-five match – losers are eliminated while winners will move on to compete with the second-place teams in another best-of-five series
- Winners of this final best-of-five will move on to the Group Stages
Riot games stated that while they “typically prefer double round-robin formats to balance the impact of side selection”, there were too many kinks with the sheer number of teams competing during this stage to also allow for the best of five series for Group Stage advancement which they decided to implement.
“A single round-robin with a five-team group still allows us to ensure that each team gets an equal number of red and blue side games, and this format actually allows more teams than usual to experience the thrill of playing an elimination best-of-five series at Worlds.” – Riot Games
It’s important to note that there may still be changes that lie ahead due to the unpredictability of the situation. The health and safety of all participants will be first on their priority list.