Game publisher Riot Games has announced that the League of Legends Japan League (LJL) will be integrated into the Pacific Championship Series (PCS) ecosystem.
Starting in 2024, the top three teams from LJL’s regular season will join the PCS Playoff stage in an attempt to qualify for next year’s League of Legends World Championship or MSI.
Riot Games shared in a release that the move is a part of the larger effort to increase the competitiveness of League of Legends esports in the APAC region. The news comes almost exactly a year after Riot Games announced the inclusion of the League of Legends Circuit Oceania (LCO) to the PCS, making the league one of the geographically largest ones in LoL esports.
Similar to the LCO, the LJL will continue to operate a separate league with regular season matches occurring in Japan. At the end of the regular season, the top three teams will proceed to join the PCS playoffs, allowing them to qualify for the Mid-Season Invitational or Worlds, depending on the split.
The PCS includes a total of 10 teams from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and Southeast Asia. The playoff stage includes the best six teams from the PCS, three best LJL teams, and two LCO teams, for a total of 11 playoff teams. To accommodate all teams, the playoffs have been changed to a two-stage format:
In the first stage, teams will play a double-elimination bracket, which will provide the best six teams that will compete in another round of double-elimination brackets to decide the overall winners.
Riot Games noted that the reasons for combining the leagues lay in an effort to increase the overall competitiveness of the APAC region. Adding Japanese teams to the playoffs aims to increase the level of competition and help teams grow stronger. It should be noted, however, that the first two splits of the PCS that included LCO teams ended with both representatives getting knocked out in the first round.
In addition, the decision also aims to provide a better fan experience for all viewers in the region by providing broadcasts in Japanese, English, Mandarin and Cantonese.
Details surrounding how many qualification spots will be available following the LJL’s integration has not been revealed.