The League Championship Series format will change in 2022, implementing many familiar elements, as well as some new aspects, to the overall structure throughout the year, according to a press release from Riot Games. This will begin with the LCS Lock In Tournament on Jan. 14.
Lock In Tournament
The region will see the return of the Lock In after the success of the inaugural tournament in 2021. The tournament will remain unchanged, with all 10 LCS teams going through a group and bracket stage. The winning team will receive $150,000 and “bragging rights,” according to Riot.
Due to their placement this past summer, 100 Thieves and Team Liquid will be the “captains” of their respective groups, selecting the other eight teams until each has been placed. The entire event will take place in the LCS Studios and will last from Jan. 14-30.
The LCS 2022 Season
Unlike 2021, the LCS will be split back into even spring and summer splits, with eight weeks for each. Games will be played Saturday and Sunday, with two “LCS Super Weeks” featuring games on Friday to complete the double round-robin. Games will begin at 4 p.m. ET Saturday and 3 p.m. ET Sunday, with Friday games starting at 5 p.m. ET. Each split’s record will stay confined to that split, unlike 2021 where the spring record was carried through to summer.
The LCS Spring Playoffs will remain as the top six teams from the regular season, and the LCS Summer Playoffs will remain as the top eight. The winner of the spring split will qualify to MSI, as usual, and the overall playoff structure will remain the same. The top four will receive double-elimination, while the fifth and sixth place will start in the lower bracket. The one difference is that the first seed team will choose their opponent from the third and fourth seed in spring.
The LCS Summer Playoffs will also mirror that of 2022, with the same single change that the first seed will get to choose their side of the bracket. The top three teams from summer playoffs will be the three teams attending the 2022 League of Legends World Championship. The Summer Finals do not yet have an announced location, but the LCS Spring Finals will take place in the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas from April 23-24.
Academy and Amateur
Academy will consist of two splits with double round-robins, featuring best-of-two matches. This is a format once used in the EU LCS (before it became the League of Legends European Championship). That will give them 36 total games per regular season. Games will take place Thursday and Friday (Wednesday and Thursday on Super Weeks) and, due to the best-of-two format, will be cast on two different streams. The broadcast will be operated by a third party.
Additionally, rather than holding both Academy Playoffs and the Proving Grounds events, all ten Academy teams will qualify into Proving Grounds and the playoffs will be removed.
Amateur will be consolidated into two tournaments per split that will run alongside Academy, with game on Monday and Tuesday (hosted on the same channels as Academy). They’ll begin with an open Swiss qualifier with the top 16 advancing to the main event, sorted into four GSL groups. The top eight will qualify for single-elimination playoffs. The top 10 teams after the two tournaments will qualify for Proving Grounds.
Proving Grounds will commence at the end of each split. The bottom four Academy teams will each play the bottom four Amateur teams in single-elimination best-of-three series as a play-in stage. The rest of the event will mirror 2021: double-elimination best-of-three matches, with the final being played on LAN.
Other changes for LCS in 2022
Because they’re otherwise bolstering the amateur scene, Riot will forgo with Scouting Grounds in 2022. There will not be the same type of event this upcoming season.
Furthermore, Riot is introducing a new server to North American League of Legends for high elo players. Champions Queue will be located on the west coast to provide for lower ping for NA pro players and other “high-skill players who are serious about improvement,” according to the release. More information on Champions Queue will come in the following months.