- The Russian esports community has been isolated since the spring of this year
- Rumors say the LCL is preparing a return for next year
- The league will undergo many changes of it returns in 2023
If rumors are true, the Russian League of Legends Continental League (LCL) could be making a return as early as spring next year.
The LCL Might Be Coming Back In 2023
Sometimes politics can impact esports as a whole and over the past half year, we have seen just that being the case with Russia. Following the country’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine and the subsequent violent war, many companies and businesses left Russia. This also included gaming companies stopping the sale of their products or running their tournaments, and esports organizations sacking their Russian players en masse.
The country effectively was almost entirely isolated when it comes to gaming, with just a few exceptions allowing Russian teams or players to participate in a few events. However, there might be a small ray of hope for the Russian gaming community as the country’s League of Legends Continental League (LCL) could be making a return next year while undergoing many changes.
The news comes from former caster Artem “Starky” Starkov who shared a Telegram screenshot from an administrator from LCL tournament organizer GIG.ME. According to the screenshot, there are already preparations underway for the league to return in 2023 with qualifications to be held later this year.
What Could a Return of the LCL Look Like?
If the LCL comes next year, it would undergo several big changes. For starters, the league would have a new format with slots taken away from organizations. A qualification process could be implemented in its place.
The 2023 restart could also include a league reset similar to Oceania’s LCO, which is not directly run by Riot Games, but instead by ESL Australia. Another option is that the LCL could with Turkey’s TCL/ But the most likely outcome is that the league could be welcomed into the EU Masters ecosystem as part of a European regional league.
If the LCL returns next year, this would be a big leap for the Russian esports community. It has been at a standstill since this spring when Russia invaded Ukraine and many esports teams and organizations left the country. Many Russian players and teams faced sanctions, including all the LCL teams, which were banned from attending the Mid-Season Invitational and the World Championship.
However, a return of the LCL and Russian teams in general in competitive League of Legends is still unsure, as Riot Games has not yet commented on the LCL’s plans to come back next year.