Riot launches new series of League of Legends tournaments – Rift Rivals

After news that the Intel Extreme Masters will no longer feature League of Legends, game developer Riot has been quick to act and announce more international LoL tournaments. The series of tournaments is aptly named Rift Rivals, and will feature a plethora of tournaments being held in multiple locations across the world during July 3rd – 9th

Samsung Galaxy versus SK Telecom T1 at the 2016 World Championship – Finals at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California, USA on 29 October 2016. Credit Riot Games

Five tournaments will pit teams from 13 regions with close rivals. Riot has outlined that each tournament will vary in numbers of invited teams, venues and format but each event will pair one region against each other. There will be no games between teams from the same region – thus deviating from the traditional league and split system that characterises the League of Legends esports ecosystem. 

Teams have provisionally been selected for this year’s Rift Rivals based on the most recently completed split. The five tournaments are as follows:

  • Santiago, Chile: CLS/CBLOL/LLN – CLS Studio, July 5th – July 8th;
  • Berlin, Germany: NA/EU – EU LCS Studio, July 6th – July 8th;
  • Moscow, Russia: LCL/TCL – LCL Studio, July 6th – July 9th;
  • Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: GPL, LJL, OPL, July 3rd – July 6th;
  • Kaohsiung, Taiwan: LCK, LMS, LPL – Kaohsiung Exhibition Center, July 6th – July 9th.

The tournaments have already faced certain criticism as obviously certain regions are considered stronger than others. Arguably, the LCK/LMS/LPL tournament houses the very best teams in the world. Including SK Telecom T1, Samsung Galaxy, KT Rolster and MVP with the likes of Flash Wolves, Team WE and EDward Gaming is an extremely strong lineup. Many have said that it arguably looks like what the final brackets of the World Championships will look like. 

The post on the lolesports website outlines the reasoning behind it, with Riot citing stability of the scene and careful fostering of the competitive environment as the main reason behind their desire to withdraw from IEM and focus on their two split system and now the Rift Rivals competition. 

One paragraph reads as follows: 

“We’re not opposed to the idea of shortening splits to make more room for more international play in the future. It’s our expectation that in the near future, leagues will have stabilised to the point where that kind of system makes sense. We just want to make sure that if and when we make those kind of changes, it doesn’t come at a significant cost to many pros’ and teams’ livelihood.” 

It seems as of yet, Riot has released no details on the prize money available. It will be interesting to see if it varies per tournament or if it will be equal across. At least SK Telecom T1 can’t win every single one of these tournaments, right? 

Esports Insider says: Riot has now taken even more control over their esports ecosystem. For better or for worse? Who knows. It definitely strikes us as the most organised and the most sustainable of the big titles – namely because of Valve’s seemingly hands-off approach. Only time will show just how the system develops.