Riot announces major changes to LCS 2020 schedule and playoffs format

Scott Robertson

Riot Games and the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) have announced the schedule for the upcoming 2020 Spring season.

Included in the schedule are changes to both the Spring and Summer Playoffs, changes to how teams qualify for Worlds, and the introduction of “marquee” matches on Monday nights.

North American LoL fans only have just over two weeks until the LCS is up and running again, ending the long drought of competitive League of Legends that begins when Worlds concludes.

Riot Games
C9 on stage during LoL Worlds 2019

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Worlds ended disappointingly for the North American region this year, with all three of its representing teams falling in the group stages of the event. 

Afterwards, Cloud9’s owner Jack Etienne called for massive change to the LCS format, specifically regarding its Academy sector.

On December 8, Riot and the LCS answered the call for a new format, with some sweeping changes to numerous aspects of the LCS format ahead of the 2020 season. These changes include altering how teams qualify for Worlds, how the playoffs are run, how Academy is played, and even introducing Monday Night League.

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Monday Night League

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTB-, I MEAN, LEAGUE OF LEGENDS?!? Starting in Spring 2020, LCS will be hosting two “marquee match-ups” on Monday evenings.

The two matches will be preceded by three Academy matches. Riot and LCS gave no indication on how matchups for Monday were decided, or if MNL includes any special programming.

LoL Esports/Riot Games
The legendary Bang looks to exact Evil vengeance upon his former team.

In the first Monday Night League, Bae ‘Bang’ Jun-sik takes on his former team, as he and Evil Geniuses face 100 Thieves. After that, the rivalry of Team Liquid and Team SoloMid renews to close out the first weekend of LCS.

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Changes to Worlds Qualifications for NA Teams

Say goodbye to the Regional Qualifier and Championship Points. All that matters now is the Summer Playoffs. The winner and loser of the Summer Finals will determine the 1st and 2nd place NA seeds at Worlds, and the lower bracket final loser will be the 3rd seed. The new format for playoffs will be explained below.

With this change, the Summer Playoffs moves from the most important event when it comes to Worlds, to the only important event when it comes to Worlds. The Spring Playoffs only determine who wins that split and who goes to the 2020 MSI.

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New LCS Playoffs Format

How do you make playoffs more exciting? Take single-elimination and double it! Both the Spring and Summer Playoffs now will use a double-elimination bracket, with the six best teams competing in Spring and the top eight competing in Summer.

The LCS Spring Playoffs format.

For both sets of playoffs, the one seed gets the advantage of having a choice between opponents. In Spring they can pick between the 3rd and 4th seed in the first round, and in the Summer they get a first-round bye and have their pick between the first-round winners.

The LCS Summer Playoffs format.

All playoff matches will be best-of-five, while the regular season will still use best-of-ones.

More Academy matches and premiere of Academy Rush

Riot says in the announcement that for “Academy players, gaining stage experience is a key step towards a starting spot on an LCS roster,” so they’re expanding their current Academy format to put on an Academy match at the end of the day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

They are also playing three Academy matches on Monday before Monday Night League, and adding a new show called Academy Rush. 

The full LCS and Academy programming schedule for Friday-Monday.

“Academy Rush will feature shoutcasters and analysts jumping between all of the Academy action to show you the biggest plays and highlight moments from all 4 games followed by a final and 5th game shown in full.“

Now that you’re caught up on all the format changes, if you’re still behind on the offseason’s roster changes for LCS, check out our live tracker for the LCS and the LEC here on Dexerto.