In Season 3 we’re making some exciting renovations to ranked play. At the heart of the update is a new league system that provides more challenges for competitive players and a greater sense of progression for newcomers.
Winning ranked games earns you League Points that help you move up the rankings in your league. Your standing is now determined by your tier, division and League Points, not your matchmaking rating. As you acquire more points you’ll have the opportunity to fight your way into the next division, or even into a new league at the next tier of competition. Each triumph brings on new challenges and tougher opponents, as well as rewards at the end of the season. Top 5v5 ranked teams that reach the Challenger tier even have the opportunity to go pro in Season 3. Teams that battle their way to the top of the ladder will get a shot at gaining a position in LCS both through the mid-season Promotion Tournament, and through winning major tournaments such as MLG and IPL.
We’re looking forward to beginning a new era in competitive League of Legends and seeing who will rise to the Challenger tier. If you still have questions about leagues check out the FAQ, the forum explanation by our Senior Game Designer Yegg, or leave us a comment on the forums.
Become a Pro
Eight teams from Europe have already qualified for the Season 3 League of Legends Championship Series, but with the mid-season Promotion Tournament on the horizon, four spots in the LCS will be up for grabs.
As the current LCS pro teams battle across 28 games in the first half of the season, a separate race to the top will be happening in the Challenger tier of the new 5v5 Ranked Teams bracket. The top 32 teams from the EU Challenger tier will have the opportunity to play in the Online Qualifier. The top four victors will then advance to the mid-season Promotion Tournament, where they will battle against the bottom four EU LCS pro teams for the chance to take their place in the LCS. If the Challenger team wins, they’ll get a pro contract along with a spot in the LCS. If the Challenger team loses, they’ll be eliminated until the next Promotion Tournament.
Here’s a full rundown of how to qualify:
- Hold one of the top 32 positions in the EU West or EU Nordic & East Challenger tier to advance to the Online Qualifier.
- Finish as one of the top four teams in the Online Qualifier to advance to the European Promotion Tournament.
- Place in the top four at the Promotion Tournament, beating out one of the bottom four LCS teams from the previous half season, to earn a spot in the LCS as a professional League of Legends team.
Stay tuned for more information on the Promotion Tournament as Season 3 rolls on.
a. Players must be 17 years old before they are able to join the active roster of any LCS team
b. Players must reside within the LCS region where they are participating
c. Players must be work eligible within the LCS region where they participating
d. Must pass a background check
2. Player Responsibilities
a. Players must recognize their role in and responsibility to the League of Legends community to act as a professional and leader
b. Players must treat their competitors and LCS officials with respect at all times
c. Players must not engage, knowingly or otherwise, in any activity that could be construed as unsportsmanlike or violating the competitive integrity of the sport
d. Players may choose to use their own keyboards, mice, and mousepads
3. Team Responsibilities
a. Teams must be a registered business entity in their region with the ability to perform the following duties:
i. Dispense compensation to all players on their active roster
ii. Properly receive and distribute payments from the league
b. Teams will be responsible for arriving at matches on time and ready to play
c. Teams may pursue all sponsorships that do not violate the interests and values of League of Legends and Riot Games
d. Teams shall provide jerseys for all players, which may display advertisements for sponsors
e. Teams must maintain an Active Roster of five starters and between two and five substitute players at all times
f. Team General Managers may acquire free agents, make roster promotion/demotions, and trade players to other teams
4. Game & Match Process
a. All matches in the Regular Season will be best-of-one games on Summoner’s Rift
b. Teams will be assigned to Red or Blue side an even amount during the season and conduct ban/picks using the Tournament Draft mode
c. LCS Referees will be on-site for all matches, and shall monitor the action for any interruptions to the competition or rules violations
d. For the most part, LCS matches will be regularly played on Thursdays and Fridays in NA, and Saturdays and Sundays in EU.
Season 3 League Championship Series
What does it take to make it into the LCS?
In the North American division, the top three Season 2 teams – TSM, Dignitas and CLG.na – received automatic entry into the Season 3 LCS. From Europe, Gambit Gaming (formerly M5.BENQ), SK Gaming, and Evil Geniuses (formerly CLG.EU) also secured their spots based on their top placements at Gamescom in Season 2.
Each group is joined by the top five teams from their region’s Live Qualifier. The qualifying tournament pitted standout 5v5 ranked teams against established teams who were looking to punch their ticket into the league.
How are you dividing the weekly matches for NA and EU?
North American teams will battle on Thursdays and Fridays, while the European division faces off on Saturdays and Sundays. All of the weekly action airs live in free HD with stats, in-depth interviews and expert analysis. In total, teams will play 28 games – four single-game matches against each of the other seven teams in their division – during each half of the season.
What is the midseason playoff, and what is at stake?
The top six teams in each division will compete in separate playoff tournaments with prizes, pride and a place in the second half of the regular season up for grabs. The top two seeds earn a bye, while the third through sixth seeds play in the wildcard round. The winners advance to play the top two seeds as the playoffs continue. The two defeated wildcard teams join the two lowest finishing teams from the first half in a promotion tournament. They’ll be challenged by rising stars from the amateur ranks for the chance to come back in the second half—or fall out of the league.
Riot has teased an All-Star break during the midseason. What will that entail?
After the promotion tournament, the international all-star break showcases the best players from around the world assembled into regional teams. The tournament will pit region against region, and let’s just say the stakes will be high!
What is at stake in the second half of the LCS regular season?
Following the All-Star break, the second half of the LCS swings back into action with the same structure but with even more on the line, as the next round of divisional playoffs determine which teams will represent their region in the World Championships.
What do you think about cross-regional play and what will you do to promote it, if anything?
There will still be cross-regional play at our partner events (IPL, MLG, ESL) when most regions will be represented by a team or two. Plus we have our awesome all-star break mid-season. More details to come.
What was the reason for the 17+ player age requirement for NA and EU tournaments?
The decision to limit eligibility in the Championship Series to players 17 and older is not based upon an American standard. The Championship Series is a true pro sports league and its players will be training and competing for most of the year. They won’t just be attending a few weekend tournaments, scattered throughout the calendar. Championship Series pro players will be living with their teams, traveling extensively and making an adult commitment to eSports. They will need to be able to make decisions and sacrifices which require a high degree of maturity.
Our pros will have full-time jobs and we believe that 17 is the appropriate minimum age for a player to operate at this level.
Season 3 League System
Why are you creating a new league system for Season 3?
We decided to move to the new league system for a few reasons. For starters, having a single ladder with all ranked players doesn't provide a lot of incentive for advancement. When you’re ranked 290,000 and have 289,999 opponents left to pass on the way up, that process can seem meaningless and interminable. Tiers and divisions also provide milestones and manageable goals you can strive to achieve at your skill level. Through leagues we can move away from focusing on a single number as the core indicator of a player’s skill, and instead move toward something more compelling: competition on a small ladder with a relatable number of opponents. From an eSports perspective, this system will also create a spotlight on the best teams via the Challenger Tier.
Why did you name the top tier the Challenger tier?
We're calling it the Challenger tier because these teams will be the best amateur teams in the scene, and we want this to be the place where aspiring pro teams prove that they're the best. Top-ranked Challenger teams will qualify for major tournaments throughout the year where they can get LAN experience, exposure to potential sponsors and win serious prize money.
Our new league system will also be the primary path for teams to become pro in NA and EU. Top ranked teams can make it to the League of Legends Championship Series' bi-annual qualifier through the ranked online tournament or by winning major tournaments.
If the system came out today, how many players would be eligible for the Challenger tier?
When the system launches, there won't be anyone in either the Diamond or Challenger tiers. Top players will be able to move through Diamond quickly, but they'll still have to make it through each of the Diamond divisions.
How many teams can be in the Challenger tier at any given time?
The current maximum is 50 teams in the Challenger tier.