In the dynamic world of League of Legends esports, the recent changes in qualification structures have stirred concerns within the LATAM community about the future of their direct slots in major international competitions like Worlds and MSI.
Riot Games’ Shifting Stance on Wildcards
- History of International Representation: Initially, only major leagues like LCK, LPL, and LCS had direct slots in international events. Smaller regions, known as “Wildcards,” competed through the IWCQ (International Wildcard Qualifier).
- The Introduction of Play-In: Since 2017, the Play-In format allowed each region to send its representative, democratizing the competition. However, recent decisions by Riot Games suggest a reversal of this approach.
The Case of LJL and Other Regions
- LJL’s Recent Announcement: The LJL has declared its integration into the PCS Playoffs from 2024, losing its direct slot for MSI and Worlds, a fate similar to LCO’s in 2023.
- TCL and LCL’s Status: The Turkish TCL lost its Tier 1 status and direct international qualification. The Russian LCL, suspended due to geopolitical conflicts, also faces uncertainty regarding its future international slots.
- Current Wildcards with Direct Slots: Presently, only LLA, CBLOL, VCS, and PCS hold direct slots for Worlds and MSI.
Speculations Around LLA’s Future
- Pattern of Removing Wildcard Slots: Riot’s tendency to retract direct slots from Wildcard regions raises concerns about LLA’s future status.
- International Performance Considerations: LATAM’s historical performance in international events might be a factor in such a decision.
- Community Concerns: Discussions are already underway about a potential qualifier between Brazil, North America, and LATAM for international slots. However, these are speculations with no official statement from Riot Games yet.
Conclusion and What Lies Ahead
While Riot Games has not officially commented on LLA’s status, the precedence set by other regions’ experiences is causing apprehension within the LATAM League of Legends community. As the esports landscape continues to evolve, the question of whether LLA will maintain its direct slots in Worlds and MSI remains a point of speculation and concern.