LCS: Why the Import Rule Should Stay and Three Ways to Fix It

Photo by Michal Konkol/Riot Games
Photo by Michal Konkol/Riot Games /
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Photo by Tina Jo/Riot Games.
Photo by Tina Jo/Riot Games. /

1. Fix the Current Rule

A lot of people seem to be under the impression that the way the import rule is set up is simply untenable and cannot be fixed. That there should not and cannot ever be a system where Riot allows for just a few imports without causing all of these headaches. To many, the only options are to keep the import rules (or make them more restrictive) or get rid of the rules.

My proposal for a fix is this. Every year, each team is allowed one import. Here is the catch: after a player plays in a region for one year, they no longer count as an import.

To demonstrate, under this system, Perkz would count as Cloud9’s import this year. Next year, he would not. Whether he stays on Cloud9 or moves to, say, TSM, because Perkz played in LCS last year, he is no longer subject to the import rule the following year.

The current LCS import rule could be tweaked.

This would align with the grandfathering system Riot adopted in the past, and operate the same way in the present. All current LCS players this year get “grandfathered in” because under the new system next year none of them would count as imports anyway.

Two other notes about this new import system: first, this would essentially strip residency of all its meaning. Players would be considered residents of the region they are playing in now and any future transfers would make them count as an import including if they move back to their native region.

This goes with the “make the league representative of the region” philosophy because it would discourage players from jumping to a new region for a paycheck before abandoning them to go back home. So, for instance, if Perkz went back to the EU next year, he would count as an import, even though he’s going to his native region.

The second (and this will apply to all the suggestions) caveat is that this would not apply to minor/wildcard regions or amateur leagues. I believe the import rule should only restrict players from being transferred within the big four leagues (LCS, LEC, LPL, LCK), subject to any contracts the players in smaller regions or leagues have signed.