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 Paul de Leon/Riot Games.
Photo by Paul de Leon/Riot Games. /

3. The Homegrown Player System

This is borrowed straight from those international soccer leagues that I touched on earlier, but I think this would be a fantastic compromise between owners who want to bring in talent from outside of North America and those who want to encourage the growth of the NA server.

How this system would work is this: every player who is currently in the LEC, LCK, LCS, or LPL would count as an import. Riot could stay at two per team, go down to one, or eliminate importing altogether under this system.

However, any player in any region is considered to be “homegrown” and a native if they meet two conditions. First, they have not played in any of the four major professional leagues, and two, they have played one year in the amateur/Academy league of the region they wish to be homegrown in. There is a caveat, which is that any player who is too young (under seventeen) to turn pro can be signed by any organization and would become a homegrown native player once they are eligible to turn pro.

A homegrown system would make an import slot less valuable in the LCS.

So, under this system, North American owners are no longer restricted to looking for promising talent on the NA server. Instead, they can scout amateur and solo queue talent on any ladder and quickly bring them over to become a homegrown native talent once they play in Academy for a year or turn seventeen.

Perhaps there’s a superstar young player on the Korean solo queue ladder. Traditionally, they might be ignored by NA teams because they’re unproven and LCS teams know they need their imports to be impact players. Under this system, though, a team like Cloud9 could sign them and have them playing within a year (perhaps more if they’re very young) and not be considered an import.

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This would allow for teams that have good scouting and development to really shine, because identifying and nurturing talent early would be rewarded as opposed to, say, backing up the Brinks truck for a Bdd or JackeyLove. And, again, minor regions would be exempted from this, so those players could be brought over immediately from CBLOL or TCL to play. But this would really encourage the collegiate leagues, ERL, and amateur leagues in the east to become a place where teams all across the world could scout the next Faker.