No more LCS Academy as both amateur and Academy players will compete in new league.
Riot has announced the introduction of a new North America Challengers League that will take effect in 2023. The Challengers League will replace the current LCS Academy as well as the Proving Grounds tournament. The league will include qualifiers in each split and all League of Legends players will be under a new Notification of Interest system. The system will allow LCS teams to easily submit their interest in a player contracted to another organization.
Teams and format of the North America Challengers League
The North America Challengers League will consist of the 10 LCS Academy teams and six Provisional teams, according to Riot. These provisional teams will be made up of former amateur teams. The 10 LCS Academy teams will be known as fixed teams and cannot be relegated.
The total of 16 teams will compete in two splits with playoffs in both summer and spring. During the spring and summer split, the 16 teams will compete in a single round-robin of best-of-two matches. The North America Challengers League will run side by side with the LCS. After the end of the regular split, every North America Challengers League team will automatically qualify for the playoffs. The playoffs will feature the double elimination bracket format with both best-of-three and best-of-five series.
For the provisional teams, Riot has reserved spots for interested LCS organizations to field their amateur teams. However, if the six slots are not filled by the LCS amateur teams, applications will be open to non-LCS teams.
North America Challengers Qualifiers
Aside from the normal league, there will also be a North America Challengers League Open Qualifiers during each split. This will allow matches to remain competitive and boost the overall development of North American talent. The matches will begin with an open qualifier for 32 teams. This will be trimmed down to 16 teams and then eight teams. All points awarded during the qualifiers in one split will not spill over to the next split.
After the North America Challengers League Playoffs for each split, there will be a promotion tournament. This tournament will see the bottom four provisional teams face the top four qualifiers team in a double-elimination bracket format.
Additionally, Riot’s rule mandates for provisional team players to be North American residents and at least 15 years old. Provisional teams also need to field a manager, head coach and a seven-player roster. Additionally, contracts for these teams are limited to a maximum of two years.