The pipeline to professional play will look a lot different this summer.
Over the last month, the North American League of Legends community has been buzzing after a plethora of reports suggested LCS organizations were trying to remove the requirement to field an NA Challengers League roster. And today, Riot Games finally gave an update on the situation, including some sweeping changes to the region’s path-to-pro, new cross-region competitions, and a firm stance on the current LCS import rule.
First, Riot confirmed LCS organizations are no longer required to field an NACL roster starting in the 2023 Summer Split “to unlock more operational and financial flexibility.” At first glance, this looks bad for the growth and support of NA’s developmental scene, but fortunately for any aspiring pros, some silver linings were also illuminated via some major changes.
For example, there will now be a true relegation and promotion system for NACL, with all participating teams eligible for relegation. The league will also be played on the Chicago servers, making it much more accessible for teams around the country. Additionally, Twitch subscriptions and team partner broadcast integrations will be implemented during the show, which should help the league a bit more with sustainability.
Riot also revealed that cross-regional competitions between NA, Latin America, and Brazil are in the works for as early as 2024, in an attempt to emulate the successful nature of such systems found around the world. EMEA was brought up with its ERL systems, having nurtured some of the best players in the region through a clear path to pro with full tournaments and plenty of on-stage experience.
Related: LCS organizations reportedly pushing for NACL withdrawal as early as this summer
By allowing these regions to compete against each other at an event that isn’t the Mid-Season Invitational or Worlds, it could help foster better practice, varied strategies, and the birth of new superstars from all three regions as they learn from one another.
Lastly, Riot has confirmed the LCS import rule will not be changing any time soon, which should alleviate the worries of some die-hard NA fans. This follows claims last month that the LCS might be looking to increase the number of imports allowed on each LCS team from two to three.
The NACL will be undergoing even more changes before the 2023 Summer Split begins, but Riot will be sharing the details on that at a later date.