TSM owner Andy ‘Reginald’ Dinh has explained why he wants to see the LCS import rule changed, as he fears persevering with the current system could see the NA League of Legends scene become ‘wildcard status.’
The import rule – which limits pro League teams to having only two players with foreign residency – has been under increased scrutiny by LCS team owners in recent weeks, with some key figures calling for it to be scrapped entirely.
But LCS players and fans alike have generally been against the proposal. This is due to fears over increased imports hindering the development of native talent.
On February 20 the feud reached boiling point. After Cloud9 support Philippe ‘Vulcan’ Laflamme suggested teams should ‘move region’ if they wanted no limits on imports, Reginald was caught in a Twitter storm for suggesting Vulcan would be unemployed if LCS owners packed their bags.
Ignorant tweet. If every LCS team left the LCS- you’ll be out of a job buddy and probably be paid minimum.
— Andy Dinh (@TSMReginald) February 20, 2021
Reginald has since apologized to Vulcan, and delivered a full explanation of why he wants to see changes made to the rule. In a blog post, he explained why North America’s historically poor performances on the international stage mean changing the rule could save the scene.
“If the LCS teams can’t perform internationally, I believe that fans will lose interest over time,” he said. “It is now a pivotal moment to discuss changing the import rules and also looking for other solutions to even the playing field or see ourselves relegated to the status of a wildcard region.”
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Concessions have already been made towards LCS in relaxing the import rule. After the collapse of the Oceanic Pro League, Oceania resident players were brought under the NA residential umbrella, meaning players like TSM’s Lawrence ‘Lost’ Hui and 100 Thieves’ Victor ‘FBI’ Huang were no longer counted as imports.
Reginald also waved off concerns that relaxing the rule would limit opportunities for native North American players and claimed scrapping the rule entirely would ‘level the playing field’ for all major regions.
“Elite local talent and new up-and-coming talent will still find their way onto teams as long as their skill is comparable to their global counterparts,” he added.
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“The goal shouldn’t be to allow LCS teams to pick up the full world championship roster and field them in the LCS, there should be restrictions on this. However, all teams should be given access to the entire worldwide playerbase so that all teams have an even playing field to develop talent from.”
Any change to the import rule would be implemented worldwide, meaning European teams would also have increased access to players from outside the region. However, this means European players would be even more ready to flee to the cash-rich LCS, prompting owners like G2’s Carlos ‘Ocelote’ Rodriguez to express their opposition to the proposal.