Promotion and relegation (where bottom teams from one league can be replaced by top teams from a lower league, based on performance) is a fairly common concept in international sports, but not so much in America, where big business interests wisely do not want the risk of their investments being sent to a secondary league.
However, this practice still very much exists in League of Legends, and this week the promotion tournament takes place in North America. In previous years, the last place team in the LCS was automatically relegated, but that was changed before this split to give all teams a chance to fight for their spot.
Five teams are in the tournament, which will last Thursday through Sunday, fighting for three LCS spots. The three bottom teams in the LCS (Phoenix1, NRG Esports and Echo Fox) will be squaring off with the top two teams from the Challenger Series (Cloud9 Challenger and Team Liquid Academy).
This year’s field isn’t without a bit of controversy. Both Challenger teams are sister teams to larger organizations who already have LCS teams (Cloud9 and Team Liquid). Riot rules prevent ownership groups from having multiple teams in the same league, and if either of those teams wins promotion, they will sell their spot (and make a hefty profit) before likely just buying a Challenger Series spot again. Both Challenger teams are also stocked with former LCS pros, such as former world champion AD Carry Gwang-jin “Piglet” Chae and long-time Cloud9 starters Hai “Hai” Lam, An “Balls” Le and Daerek “LemonNation” Hart.
All matches will be best-of-five and broadcast on Lolesports’ NA LCS stream.
Thursday, August 4
3 p.m. ET Echo Fox vs Team Liquid Academy — WINNER TO SATURDAY, LOSER TO CHALLENGER
Saturday, August 6
3 p.m. ET (NALCS2) Phoenix1 vs. Thursday winner -- WINNER TO LCS, LOSER TO SUNDAY
3 p.m. ET NRG Esports vs. Cloud9 Challenger -- WINNER TO LCS, LOSER TO SUNDAY
Sunday, August 7
3 p.m. ET SATURDAY LOSERS SQUARE OFF — WINNER TO LCS, LOSER TO CHALLENGER