The Finals Overload
This week had a total of 8 top-level league finals. Let that sink in for a minute.
First up on September 1st were Chinese LPL playoffs finals. EDward Gaming went on a fabulous reverse sweep against Royal Never Give Up, winning LPL and advancing as the #1 LPL worlds seed.
The day after, 3 more finals took place.
LCK gauntlet finals saw kt Rolster coming up short against Samsung Galaxy, missing the 2017 World Championship again. Even some SKT T1 fans were sad to see kt Rolster eliminated out of competition.
2 wildcard regions got their champions and worlds play-in stage seeds as well – LG Dire Wolves from Oceania and Team oNe eSports from Brazil.
Then, on September 3, we had almost simultaneous finals in NA LCS playoffs, EU LCS playoffs, LPL Regional Qualifiers and Russia/CIS region (LCL) playoffs.
Teams Solo Mid defeated Immortals in the NA LCS finals, 3-1. G2 Esports became EU LCS champs again, stopping Misfits ungodly playoffs surge. TSM Bjergsen has been given the NA LCS MVP award, while EU LCS MVP award has finally reached the hands of fan-favourite FNC Rekkles.
Over in China, Team WE went the distance against Invictus Gaming in the LPL gauntlet finals. Finally, Gambit.CIS defeated M19 in the LCL finals, closing the chapter on wildcard regions.
We’ve seen a lot of peak team performances, and many great games have been played out. This has certainly been a week to tune into the Esports scene even for the most casual fans.
2017 World Championship Qualifiers
With Korea, China and the last of the wildcard regions now all having their representatives at 2017 World Championship Play-in stage, there are only 8 teams left in the mix for the remaining two spots.
Team Dignitas, FlyQuest, Counter Logic Gaming and Cloud9 will clash in the NA LCS Regional Qualifiers. On the other side of the Atlantic, H2K, Splyce, Unicorns of Love and Fnatic will settle the scores in the EU LCS Regional Qualifiers.
The action in both regions begins on September 8th. All series are Bo5.
Team Dignitas and FlyQuest meet in NA LCS Regionals Round 1. Team Dignitas will most likely win and proceed to Round 2 against Counter Logic Gaming. CLG have already won in the third place decider, so they will be favoured to advance to the finals.
There, Cloud9 will meet the winner of Round 2, largely based on their 70 Championship Points from 2nd place in the spring split. They haven’t looked nearly as impressive this summer, so overall, Counter Logic Gaming has best odds at advancing to the finals.
Over in Europe, H2K and Splyce will battle it out in Round 1. H2K could be deemed slightly favoured, but due to all the recent drama between H2K and Riot, the team is probably going to be a bit affected and shaken. More on the drama and controversy later on.
Unicorns of Love will wait for the winner of above matchup in Round 2. The outcome of Round 2 has a big question mark attached.
Unicorns of Love displayed, to put it lightly, shaky form this summer. They won some hard matchups, lost some easy ones, and really, nobody knew what to expect from them by the end of the season.
After their most recent loss against Misfits in the EU LCS quarterfinals, it’s hard to gauge where this team currently stands. Sure, Misfits proceeded to beat Fnatic in the semifinals as well. As we all know by now, Fnatic a much more stable and consistent team this season. Nevertheless, Unicorns of Love are the biggest wildcard of the gauntlet.
Finally, there’s Fnatic in the finals. A team that everybody saw in the finals long before the playoffs, potentially even taking the throne this summer. Sadly, they had to settle for the third place, a consolation prize, but a tough cookie to swallow for sure.
Regardless of those past results and upsets, Fnatic are surely favourites to win the gauntlet and qualify for worlds.
Stay tuned as we bring you more in-depth preview, predictions and analysis of these last 2017 LoL worlds qualifiers.
EU LCS on Fire!
The change and restructuring of EU LCS is long overdue. We can all agree on that.
The production, the team revenues, exposure and relevancy have all been suffering for a while now. While it hasn’t been as much evident on the public, competitive stage, the problems have been reaching dangerous “temperature” levels lately.
In light of recent rumours of EU teams sending their franchising applications into NA LCS, one team has decided to publicly express their frustrations with the state of the league
H2K on a Strike?
In an aforementioned public statement, Richard Lippe, H2K co-chairman, and Susan Tully, H2K CEO, have detailed their side of the story.
It starts on a high note regarding great relationships H2K has built with their players and fans, with the media, agencies, sponsors and other professionals in the field. Furthermore, the duo has acknowledged Riot’s right to the game and the leagues’ structures and organizations they helped create and maintain. For that reason, they expressed belief Riot is entitled to “substantial financial benefits” derived for the risks of developing and maintaining such a successful game played by millions around the world.
However, the praise quickly turned to condemnation of Riot’s lack of transparency regarding the future structural and monetary state of EU LCS:
“Sadly, however, from a business perspective we consider it irrational to continue in a partnership where our partner earns very substantial annual profits while, by contrast, we incur annual losses of over €1,000,000 … The fact is that most League of Legends teams lose money. Operating costs continue to increase dramatically and RIOT’s team compensation only covers a small fraction of those costs … With H2K, since January of 2017, having already subsidized RIOT in excess of €2,000,000, the current situation is not sustainable and cannot continue … As our partner, RIOT should provide financial stability for the teams … Accordingly, H2K ownership has made the decision that we will no longer financially subsidize RIOT and will not continue in the EU LCS beyond the 2017 season UNLESS RIOT creates a new financial and operating structure … Recognizing that as teams we must perform and contribute to the success of the league, we accept that a portion of the revenue sharing should be based on competitive performance, viewership, effective branding activities and other reasonable metrics.”
These heavy words echoed and rippled throughout the community. The dirty side of these multi-million dollar deals has finally started to reveal itself.
Shortly after the initial tsunami, Co-chairman Richard Lippe did an interview for esportsobserver.com in which he further explained his and his company’s stance on the financial viability of continuing their team’s participation in EU LCS.
He stated the most significant issue would be the negative impact of Riot’s new policies for players in Europe. The financially lucrative NA LCS franchising model next year will surely increase the appeal for a lot of EU players. If Riot decides to change the interregional policies, Lippe believes EU will be drained of its talent even further.
EU LCS Splitting in 4 Regions?
Riot definitely seems to have a few things planned for the next season of EU LCS, albeit a bit late.
One of the more recent confirmed news to hit the Sport1 will air EU LCS highlights. That’s certainly great. But it’s not the meat of the problem.
As these lines are being written, there are rumours circulating that Riot will split EU LCS into four regions – London, Paris, Barcelona and Berlin.
The four new leagues would all have six teams for a total of twenty four teams. Each and every team would be issued a license valid for multiple years. These licenses will enable the said teams to compete without fears of being relegated from their regional leagues.
The top two teams from each of these leagues would auto-qualify for the greater league, third and fourth would participate in the play-ins, while fifth and sixth would play in an open qualifier.
This greater league would take place at the same time as the regional leagues, similar to how European football Champions League operates. A total of 16 teams would compete through group stages and double-elimination playoffs.
The winner of the greater league would automatically qualify word 2018 World Championship, with much of the current Championship Points system remaining unchanged.
Apparently, Riot is already recruiting teams for domestic leagues, while current EU LCS teams are given a few months to declare their home regions.
Something like this would be more in tune with the European sports culture, but until we get official announcements, consider these rumours just that – rumours!
This has all become one big pile of mess. Stay tuned for more.
Other interesting news, bits and pieces: