Riot Games has revealed the format changes coming to the LEC in 2023. During a press conference, the heads of the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) department shared the different look the competition will have going forward. Formally, “LEC” will no longer be an abbreviation for the League of Legends European Championship. Instead, as a result of the changes coming to the ERL system that absorb Turkey, CIS, and MENA into the region, it will stand for “League of Legends EMEA Championship” and encompass more regions.
The new LEC format splits the year into four parts and will have many more games for the top-performing teams. With the changes, Riot hopes to increase competitiveness in the league, while keeping it exciting for the spectators.
Winter, Spring, and Summer Split
The LEC’s 2023 format has three splits as opposed to two: the Winter Split kicks off the year, followed by the Spring Split, and then comes the Summer Split. These three splits follow the same formula. All ten LEC teams play a Single Round Robin series across three, three-day weekends. When each team has played against all the other teams once, the bottom two teams are eliminated from the tournament.
For the eight surviving teams, long-awaited best-of-threes arrive. In the Group Stage, the eight teams compete in a Double Elimination bracket. Once four teams have been eliminated and only four teams are left in the bracket, the Playoffs Stage commences. In the Playoffs Stage, the top four teams play best-of-five series in another Double Elimination bracket. The team that wins that bracket is the champion of that split and directly qualifies for the Season Finals.
Championship Points & Season Finals
The end of the Summer Split is not where the new LEC format ends. Over the course of the year, teams acquire Championship Points based on their performance in any of the three given splits. When the Summer Split champion has emerged, all LEC teams’ Championship Points are tallied. The three teams that didn’t win one of the splits, but did accumulate more points than the rest of the competition, qualify for the LEC Season Finals alongside the three champions of the three splits.
The Season Finals will feel familiar to those who have watched the LEC in recent years. The six successful teams are seeded into a Double Elimination bracket. If a team has won two splits, they automatically are seeded into the upper bracket of the Season Finals. In this case, there are four teams that qualify for the Season finals based on their points, as the bracket must always have six participants.
In the Season Finals bracket, they compete in best-of-five series to determine which teams advance to the world championship and which team gets the honor of crowning itself the 2023 LEC champion. Should a team win all three splits, they directly qualify for the world championship, but still have to compete for the LEC Season Finals title.
More changes affecting the LEC in 2023
Riot Games didn’t share all dates yet, but the LEC’s 2023 season kicks off around the end of January. The Winter Split and Spring Split shall take place before the 2023 Mid-Season Invitational. After MSI 2023, which also is to undergo format changes, the LEC resumes with its Summer Split and Season Finals.
Naz Aletaha, Global Head of League of Legends Esports, said, “Over the last decade, our EMEA region has been in a constant state of evolution, from the transformation of the EU LCS to the LEC, and the establishment of the most robust developmental ecosystem across the sport to today, as we expand the footprint of the region.”
The EMEA region isn’t just changing on the LEC-level. The ERL system is also being expanded, with the CIS region and Turkey joining the competition. More about those changes can be found here.