LCS Academy & Amateur Leagues in Spring 2021 — How Will They Work?
As we begin to kick off the new season of the NA LCS with the Lock in Tournament, the LCS Academy & Amateur Leagues begin alongside them. I dug throughout Reddit, Twitter, and other media platforms to see what people thought of articles about the amateur leagues, and it seems many people seem to want to peek into the lower levels of competitive League of Legends. I myself am also a new viewer of this league, so I hope to learn more about these rising players as I continue writing about the Academy and amateur leagues.
This year, the lower leagues are also receiving a big shakeup to formatting this spring — a new tournament ecosystem was created for the top sixteen amateur and Academy teams to play against each other for the ultimate prize; to compete at the LCS Providing Grounds.
Let’s focus on the Academy teams first. Starting sometime in January, ten Academy teams will participate, this includes Academy teams from bigshot LCS teams like TSM, Cloud9, Team Liquid, FlyQuest, etc. Similar to the LCS Spring Split, the tournament will feature a double round-robin format, with each game being a best of one series (BO1). Then the top six out of ten teams from the season will qualify for the LCS Providing Grounds at the end of March. The seventh and eighth place teams will qualify for the First Tier 1 tournament, and the ninth and tenth places will go to the Second Tier 1 tournament. All the Tier 1 Tournaments will be organized by sponsors, teams, or third-party organizations that are licensed by Riot.
As the Academy teams are battling it out in their own league, the Amateur league will also participate in tournaments at the same time. These will be named Tier 2 tournaments. These tournaments will be held by third-parties outside of Riot games and any LCS franchises. Each team will have to compete in multiple tournaments to accumulate points, where the top ten teams with the most points will qualify for the First tier 1 tournament.
At the end of February, the top ten amateur teams and the seventh and eight places from the regular Academy season will be funneled into the First Tier 1 tournament. The top four teams from this tournament will qualify for the LCS Providing Grounds, and the eight teams that failed will be automatically entered into the Second Tier 1 tournament.
In early March, the eight teams that failed at the previous tournament, as well as the ninth and tenth-placed teams from the regular Academy season, will play in the Second Tier 1 Tournament. Similar to the first tournament, the top four teams will qualify for the LCS Providing Grounds, and the eight teams that failed to qualify will automatically be entered into the final Tier 1 tournament this season.
Finally, at the end of March, the last eight teams will be entered into the Third Tier 1 tournament, aka the “Last Chance Qualifier” for the providing grounds. Here, the top two teams will qualify into the LCS Providing Grounds.
To cap off the Spring Season, the LCS Providing Grounds will take place at the end of March, which will be organized by Riot games. To refresh your memory a bit, this tournament includes the top six LCS Academy teams and ten additional teams that qualify from the three Tier 1 tournaments. Here, the sixteen teams will face off to become the best team in NA (outside the LCS).
With the new system, major LCS teams will be able to support their upcoming amateur players, where they can sponsor, own and/or associate with their respective teams. In addition, these players will be able to make a name for themselves and show their skills to everyone watching.
Academy and amateur tournaments can be watched on Youtube (lolesports), watch.lolesports.com, and twitch.tv/riotgames.
Make sure to keep up with more updates with the 2021 season, including LCS, LPL, LCK, and LCS Academy action by following my Twitter: https://twitter.com/kocho_os