Riot has said that they are open to iterating on the Worlds format based on feedback, including looking at double elimination.

Riot Games took to their Blue Lagoon studio that will soon play host to the Worlds 2021 finals to address media questions before festivities kick off on Saturday. In this press conference, Riot elaborated on the current Worlds format, which has not changed for a number of years. They hinted that they could look at format changes, including double elimination.

How does Worlds currently work?

At present, the format is for third seed teams to play into Worlds through a double elimination/round-robin group-style play. The top four teams progress to a Group Stage with the number one and two seeds from each region. After this, the top two teams from each of these four groups proceed into an eight-team, single-elimination bracket to determine the champion. Each team cannot meet each other if they played in Groups till the finals, and get placed on opposite sides of the bracket.

This is unlike other esports like Dota 2's The International which has used Double Elimination brackets straight out of the group stage. In this format, the number one seed is placed in the upper bracket and the number two seed being placed in the lower bracket. For years now, fans asked Riot to adjust to something similar to this strategy, and it features in some regions of League of Legends play like the LPL.

What did Riot say about changing the format?

They addressed this question with the usual sort of answer - they hear the feedback, and are open to iteration, but have no changes to announce at this time.

“Our sport is in a state of constant growth,” Naz Aletaha, Global Head of League of Legends esports said. “We’re really balancing for what is going to make the best and most competitive event. It certainly means we’re open for iteration and improvement, but it does come back to that balance and how we optimize. And we really do look to optimize for, first and foremost, competitive integrity. We’re looking to balance the overall number of matches in a tournament and the impact that has on the teams that are competing. And of course, we want a tournament that makes for an engaging and exciting experience for all of the millions of fans that are tuning in at home.”

Double Jeopardy - will double elimination get the nod?

John Needham got a little more specific when prompted by the press, however, zeroing in on the format that LPL uses which features double elimination.

“Every year, we look at our format, as Naz said. We always want to deliver the most exciting competition, one that’s great for our fans to view, super exciting for our teams to participate in,” John Needham, President of Sports at Riot continued. “We’re very aware of the LPL format and how great it works in China. It’s something we will definitely consider going forward.”

Worth pointing out - EDG progressed to Worlds through a lower bracket run in the LPL after they lost in the 4th round of the 2021 LPL Summer Split playoffs. They went on to defeat FunPlus Phoenix and won their sixth regional trophy. Without Double Elimination, the Worlds finals matchup might not have even been possible.

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