MSI And Worlds Will Have New Formats, But No Double-Elimination Brackets
Riot Games has announced that there will be a format change for the major international League of Legends tournaments – the Mid-Seasonal Invitational (MSI) and the World Championship- next season.
Naz Aletaha, the global head of League of Legends esports at Riot games, announced a much vaunted change in San Francisco earlier this week. The final of the Worlds 2022 is being held in the same city, a best-of-five series to determine the champion, on November 5. Aletaha explained that the company had taken stock of fan feedback after the 2021 tournament and, after a year of deliberation, decided to roll out a new structure.
“Format changes are coming [to MSI and Worlds],” Aletaha said. “When we heard the feedback last year, we took this season to really dive into it, and to really start to assess what parts of the format were working, what parts we think could use improvements, working with our regional teams around the world to beat out what these formats can and should be.”
While she didn’t disclose too many details about the changes,, Aletaha did confirm that we can expect an announcement by the start of the next season.
Single-Elimination A Core Part Of Tournament, Says Riot President
Currently, the LoL Worlds is structured as a three-fold event. The first stage is the play-ins – held in New Mexico this year – which involves 12 teams competing for four spots at the Main Event. The four qualifiers join another 12 teams for the group stage round robin, and out of these 16, eight make it to the playoffs.
The playoffs are structured as pure knockouts, and Riot’s continued denial to change them have been met with a lot of criticism from the community. This one-attempt-only system can mean the best of the teams drop out if they have a single bad day. Double-elimination brackets mean that teams won’t be hamstrung by a series loss, and will usually have another chance to get back into contention though it might mean a longer route.
But Riot’s President of Esports, John Needham, didn’t seem to agree with the general consensus. After Aletaha’s statement, speculation began to rise over whether the LoL Worlds would finally receive its long-awaited gauntlet system. Needham put those doubts to rest at once, confirming that the knockouts – as they are – were here to stay.
“We do think double elimination is great for qualifying the best teams into our biggest tournaments,” Needham said, “but at the end of the day Worlds is one of the biggest sporting events on the planet. All of the biggest sporting events have single-elimination as a core part of their tournament.”
Fall In Worlds Viewership Since Last Year
The viewership numbers for League of Legends’ biggest tournament have suffered a worrying drop this year. Viewers for the group stage had fallen by almost 40% compared to last year, according to a report by esports charts. The peak viewership was 2.3 million in 2021, but dropped to 1.3 million in 2022.
There could be a number of factors at play for this. The North American time zone is unsuitable for European, Chinese and Korean viewers, who form the bulk of the viewership. The LEC teams G2, Fnatic, and Rogue, have largely disappointed as well except for the latter who managed to scrape through to the quarterfinals. The dissatisfaction over the format, including the lack of a double-elimination bracket and only best-of-ones in the round robin, is likely a contributing factor as well.
Rogue top laner Andrei ‘Odoamne’ Pascu believes, and many seem to be in agreement, that Riot needs to organize more international tournaments.
“Honestly we really need more international tournaments outside of MSI (which is cringe) and Worlds (which it bangs),” he tweeted. “Everyone feels so alive and excited this time of the year, even when we get goomba stomped, the boys are having a great time.”