The League of Legends scene has been rocked by an ESPN report claiming that North American giants Immortals were unsuccessful in their bid to join the revamped NA LCS, whilst Echo Fox secure a spot.
Immortals, who attended the ongoing League of Legends World Championships and came within a whisker of getting through to the quarter finals, have been informed that their application to the 2018 North American League Championship Series was denied, according to the article.
The report also states that a primary factor in determining Immortals’ fate may have been their financial commitment to their Los Angeles-based Overwatch team, which will be competing in the upcoming Overwatch League. If so, it may simply be an unfortunate case of the organisation stretching one game too far, as their ties to establishing a “live viewing experience” in the city may create a conflict of interest with the Riot’s nearby NA LCS headquarters.
Their failure to secure a spot opens up a number of high calibre individuals for the rest of the league, if the squad is not simply bought outright. In this summer’s NA LCS competition, Immortals’ boasted the Coach of the Split, and two players made the NA LCS All-Pro Team. Alongside a second place summer finish behind TSM, Immortals are definitely the strongest team to have been denied a spot in the franchise system based on recent performances.
Meanwhile, Echo Fox’s success shows that more than league results factored in to Riot’s decision. A highest domestic placing of 7th over four splits of competition is uninspiring, but clearly other factors have done enough to impress Riot Games’ decision makers. They follow TSM, Cloud9, CLG and Team Liquid in having reports spread of their acceptance within the last 24 hours. Newcomers OpTic Gaming and a group led by Warriors majority-stake owner Joe Lacob are also claimed to hold slots.
Here’s the latest on which franchises you can expect to see at the NA LCS next year:
- Team SoloMid
- CounterLogic Gaming
- Team Liquid
- OpTic Gaming
- Joe Lacob, majority stake owner of the NBA team Golden State Warriors
- Echo Fox
- Team Dignitas
- Team EnVyUs
Each successful team will have to pay a $10 million (£7.61m) buy-in fee, with half of that up-front and the rest in delayed installments. Existing teams who are denied entry will be receive compensation from a pool of funding provided by new teams entering the league, who will have to supply an addition $3m (£2.77m) each. With four teams seemingly already out, there will be at least two more as-yet unannounced franchises to enter and complete the ten-team league in 2018.
Esports Insider says: Wow, Immortals’ failure to secure a spot is unexpected, for what seemed to be a well-run and successful organisation, though perhaps their priorities simply lie elsewhere. Congratulations to Echo Fox, who prove that having a strong infrastructure is enough to secure their NA LCS future over more successful teams.