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The implications of Riot’s redistribution of World Championship seeds

On Thursday, April 23rd, Riot officially announced the cancellation of the 2020 Mid-Season Invitational. League of Legends Esports Commissioner John Needham stated that “it appears highly unlikely that either the global spread/impact of COVID-19 or the restrictive travel and public gathering policies responding to the crisis will abate significantly by the time of MSI’s current planned dates.” While most regional leagues have been operating online, it would be impossible to hold an international tournament in this fashion due to high ping and latency issues. Therefore, the World Championships are set to be the next (and only) international League of Legends tournament in 2020.

The Loss of MSI

With the cancellation of MSI comes a few losses— one being that there are now even less implications for winning the Spring Split. In leagues such as the LCS, where the championship points system has been disposed of, all Worlds implications are only found in the Summer playoffs. This means that a Spring champion such as Cloud9 could potentially miss out on any international stage for the entire season. Additionally, international play will be severely missed. Each year, the Mid-Season Invitational has served as an aptitude test between each region, and has provided implications for the number of seeds present at the subsequent World Championships. It will be difficult to fully power-rank teams from different parts of the world for the remainder of this year, as we are likely to see no inter-regional play until Worlds 2020.

China, Europe gain seeds while NA and Korea stay the same

Riot also announced a groundbreaking change to this year’s upcoming World Championships, re-distributing the number of participating teams in each region. China (LPL) and Europe (LEC) will now be receiving 4 seeds each while Korea (LCK) and North America (LCS) will each remain at their usual 3 seeds. Furthermore, Southeast Asia (PCS) and Vietnam (VCS) will now send two teams each, and a handful of minor regions will still receive a single guaranteed spot. As more teams are represented from smaller leagues, more diversity is both expected and guaranteed within this year’s World Championship. However, not all 24 teams will not be present within group-stage play, as most of these expanded seeds will have to begin their journey in the play-in stage.

What do you think about these new changes? Let us know @SlashShout!

Stephen No

Stephen "Steph" No is a communications major and esports journalist. Currently covering the LCS and the OWL, Steph is aiming to become a prominent Asian-American voice in Western esports media. You can follow his twitter @kdpanthera for more LCS and Overwatch League related content.

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