Golden Guardians and Evil Geniuses exit LCS

Marv Watson/Riot Games)

Golden Guardians and Evil Geniuses have exited the LCS by “mutual decision,” according to a statement from Riot Games.

The LCS is going to be an eight-team league moving forward as Riot Games and the league announced the departure of Golden Guardians and Evil Geniuses.

Rumors of teams exiting the league sprung up on November 18 as owners and Riot allegedly held a meeting about reducing the number of teams in the North American League of Legends competition.

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The league has been on the decline in recent years in terms of viewership and results internationally. Riot has tried many different configurations to improve the league’s visibility, including changing broadcast days, league format, and a host of other changes over the years.

Evil Geniuses and Golden Guardians out of the LCS

In a statement posted to social media, the President of Esports at Riot Games John Needham said that the decision was mutual between the teams and the league.

“This change will allow us to be much more flexible as we prepare to restructure the league for future success. We made this change prior to free agency that begins today to allow impacted players the ability to pursue opportunities with other teams or leagues,” Needham said.

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Evil Geniuses reentered the LCS 2020 after the league was franchised in 2018. The esports company was acquired by PEAK6 Investments in 2019 and bought out the Echo Fox spot in the league the same year.

Golden Guardians was one of the four new teams to join the LCS went it was franchised. The organization is owned and operated by the NBA franchise the Golden State Warriors.

There has been little talk about both the Golden Guardians and Evil Geniuses League rosters leading up to the off-season.

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Most of EG’s roster have contracts that expire on November 21, 2023, and Golden Guardians had not made any reported moves to its lineup before this news dropped.

Golden Guardians never claimed a league title while Evil Geniuses managed to win the Spring 2022 playoff trophy and the 2022 Summer regular season title. Both teams have represented the LCS at international events.