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Published: January 10, 2023

Written by: Isabella Aslam

  • The play-ins and group stages undergoing a massive makeover
  • There will be an extra preliminary stage before the tournament’s official start
  • The group stage will be replaced with a Swiss-style change featuring 16 teams

With lessons learned from the 2022 League World Championship, Riot is changing the format of the tournament with the goal of making it a more balanced and exciting event.

Play-Ins Are Changed

As the new year is well underway, Riot Games is implementing new changes to the format of this year’s League of Legends World Championship, with the play-ins and group stages receiving most of them. There will additionally be an extra preliminary stage ahead of the tournament’s official start.

Speaking of the extra stage – it’s going to be a showdown between North American and European teams. It will be a best-of-five match designated as the “Worlds Qualification Series” (WQS) and will take place between the fourth seeds from the LCS and LEC. This will put an end to the possibility of the two leagues sending their fourth seeds to Worlds simultaneously as it has happened in previous years.

Following that special event, the tournament will go into its play-in stage, which will also see a massive change. The “group stage” portion of it will be entirely removed. Instead, it will be substituted by two converging brackets filled with best-of-three matches. The play-ins stage will start with eight teams but only the top two from the tournament’s initial bracket will advance to the main event of Worlds. This means that even before the start of the main event of the World Championship begins, there will be 13 international best-of series played. 

Main Event To Have New Format

When the Worlds main event starts it will also feature big changes. For starters, it will now feature a new Swiss-style stage with 16 teams, 14 of which will qualify directly from their regional leagues, and two more that qualify from the Worlds play-in stage.

This new Swiss format will feature five rounds of play pitching teams who have the same record in the tournament against each other. No two teams will play matches against one another when they have differing records in the Swiss stage. This means that teams that have, say, a score of 2-0 will go up against another team with the same score. This should provide a more balanced and exciting experience for both teams and viewers. 

When a team reaches three wins in the Swiss stage, they advance to the knockout portion of the tournament. Conversely, if the team loses three matches in the Swiss stage, they will be eliminated from the tournament. 

With so many changes, it has to be said that the knockout stage of Worlds will remain the same for now. The standard for the tournament’s final phase are the single eliminations, but double eliminations are coming to the knockout stage of the Mid-Season Invitational.

“By keeping Knockouts a single elimination best-of-five format, teams have the opportunity to prove who is the best of the best,” Riot said, ”no second chances, no breathing room, just one shot to win it all.”

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