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EU LCS moving to best-of-3 group format for 2017 season

Europe will be joining NA in a best-of-three format, but there will be key differences.

Riot Games

After a single split using a best-of-twos, the European LCS regular season is moving to best-of-threes. This was among a few announcements made by Riot Wednesday (here’s for EU, here’s for NA).

Prior to the Summer 2016 Split, both the North American and European LCS used best-of-one formats in the regular season. This format was widely criticized due to the unpredictable nature of best-of-ones and how it left teams sometimes incapable of handling longer series, especially in international tournament against tougher competition.

That changed before last split, with North America adopting best-of-threes and Europe taking on best-of-twos. But after feedback from the EU LCS community, EU will now also be moving to best-of-threes, with a brand new format with it.

Like China’s LPL, Europe’s ten teams will be split into two groups of five. Those groups will be decided in early January, and will be drafted by the teams at the top of each group — G2 Esports and H2K, who earned the spots as the teams with the most championship points over the course of the 2016 season. However, they will be picking the teams for the opposite group, not for their own:

With the format change will also come a schedule change. EU games will now take place on Thursday, Friday and Saturday on one single stream (rather than two simultaneous streams), with some weeks including games on Sunday. Throughout the season, teams will play two series against each team in their own group and one against each team in the opposing group.

In weeks 1-3 teams will play a single Round Robin Bo3 against the other teams in their group. Weeks 4-7 will be a single Round Robin Bo3 against teams in the opposing group and then weeks 8-10 will move back to a single Round Robin Bo3 within groups.

As in previous years, six teams will make the playoffs — the top three from each group. But both regions are getting a slight tweak to the promotion/relegation series, with one less LCS team at risk (eighth place teams need not worry anymore) and a new double elimination format.

This year’s rule changes also include increased LCS prize money to $200,000, a minimum guarantee of $50,000 of new digital product revenue per split per team, poaching protection for head coaches and the introduction of an arbitration system that will allow teams to contest Riot rulings that result in a suspension or a fine of over $10,000.