League of Legends Worlds: Riot has the answer to fix the Worlds format

League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /

With many fans complaining about the Worlds group draw system being unbalanced, here’s a way that Riot can easily fix the format by borrowing from something they already do at the League of Legends World Championship.

The Worlds group stage has come and gone and already the debate is raging amongst fans and commentators about how imbalanced the group drawings were. Groups A and C were considered to be the “Groups of Death” including League of Legends heavyweights like SKT, G2, RNG, Fnatic, and Griffin. On the other hand, Groups B and D had some of the easier teams from the LMS and VCS regions.

While many people are proposing fixes for how the drawing of the groups should be fixed, from changing the regional seedings to the number of teams from each region in each pool. Riot has been hesitant to change the format of the group drawings in the past, wanting to give more opportunities for teams from non-major regions to shine.

There is a way that the current Worlds format could be changed to make the randomness of the group drawing a bit more palatable. Lucky for Riot, it’s a solution they have already embraced in the Worlds tournament: add a knockout round for the group stage like they do for the play-ins.

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In this new format, the #1 team from each group would be automatically seeded into the quarterfinals, while the #4 team would be automatically eliminated. However, the #2 and #3 seeds from the groups would be drawn into their own best-of-five matches, with the winner securing a spot in the quarterfinals.

Here’s how it would hypothetically work if we did it in 2019.

  • Griffin, FunPlus Phoenix, SKT, and Damwon would all automatically be in the quarterfinals.
  • AHQ, Clutch, GAM, and Hong Kong Attitude would be eliminated
  • We would have the following match-ups to advance to quarterfinals and face the #1 seeds (this was done by random draw, with teams not being able to face a team from their group or region if possible)
    • Splyce vs. RNG
    • Fnatic vs. Team Liquid
    • G2 vs. J Team
    • Invictus vs. Cloud9

So, in this scenario, we could have teams from different regions meeting for the first time with one more chance to advance than they would normally have. This would give strong teams like RNG, C9, and Liquid, who might have gotten shafted by a bad group draw another chance to advance (in this scenario, RNG would likely be favored over Splyce, even though in reality Splyce is advancing to the knockouts and RNG isn’t thanks to group draw luck).

This format would also prevent meaningless matches like those we got during Group A (where Cloud9 and Hong Kong Attitude were eliminated after the second game of the second round robin). Instead, there would be some intrigue to see if the fourth team could battle back and get that third seed.

Next. Breaking down the quarterfinal matches. dark

This format also continues to favor strong performances in the group stage. In three of those hypothetical match-ups, the #2 seed would likely be favored over the team they are facing (with the possible exception of Splyce). Ultimately, this change would allow Riot to keep the randomness and excitement of the group draw but add a buffer so that good teams aren’t unfairly eliminated by the roll of a ball.