LEC teams have voted against including Akshan in playoffs. Typically, champions are only enabled at Worlds if they were used in playoffs in all major regions, but that requirement was lifted last year. Will LEC teams be a step behind?
Update: The head of esports for LoL in Europe and MENA has confirmed Akshan will be disabled at Worlds.
Riot have always had a difficult time deciding when to enable new champions in the professional scene. This becomes an issue particularly around the big international tournaments, MSI and Worlds. For years, the rule has been that a champion must have been used in playoffs by all four major regions to be enabled at Worlds. Riot lifted that requirement this year, though, leaving some leagues, like Europe’s LEC, in an odd spot.
The new LoL champion, Akshan, has already caused quite a stir among the LoL community. He has a new game mechanic on his W, an instant resurrect of team members. However, some poor features have put him in an weird place as it currently stands: this crazy new ability is countered by lackluster design and a clunky auto-attack.
The decision facing the LEC
With all this in mind, the LEC had to decide whether or not to include Akshan in playoffs. As per their rules, he shouldn’t be available, because he’s being released on the patch playoffs will be played on. He will be available for Worlds, though. With this odd situation to work out, LEC teams voted on what they’d like to have happen. Teams eventually decided to leave him disabled, supposedly fearing bugs. Maximilian Peter Schmidt, the head of LoL Esports in Europe, detailed the results on Twitter.
This is an interesting decision, and one that has big implications. This means that, while Asian regions will have him enabled, the LEC will not. Korean and Chinese teams will essentially have months of practice and experience on the new champion, in a year where Europe is desperately trying to challenge for World Championship titles. If Akshan proves to be a meta force at Worlds, European teams will be a serious step behind.
Ultimately, time will tell whether the decision is a good one. As it currently stands, Akshan doesn’t even seem all that strong. He’s already been buffed multiple times, though, despite coming out only a week ago. More patching could nudge him over the edge before Worlds.