LPL to undergo significant format change for 2024 Summer Split

LPL League of Legends
(ESI Illustration) Image credit: LPL, Shutterstock

The LPL (League of Legends Pro League), China’s franchised League of Legends competition, has unveiled significant format changes for the 2024 Summer Split.

This year’s Summer Split regular season will feature four stages; a group draw, two different group stages and a last chance stage.

ESI London 2024

The group draw is set to commence on June 24th, with 17 teams already divided into four seed pools based on the teams’ performances from the previous split. Those teams will then be divided into four groups. Importantly, the four teams with home stadiums — JD Gaming, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Team WE and LNG — will be in different groups.

The first group stage will feature the debut of ‘Fearless Draft’ for tier-one League of Legends esports. This means a team can only pick a champion once for the entire series. The Fearless Draft format was first used competitively in 2022 for the LDL, China’s secondary league.

This stage will be a double best-of-three round-robin whereby the bottom two teams of each group will move to a lower pool whilst the top two will qualify for the higher pool. The five-team group will have the top three qualify for the higher pool.

The third stage will also be a round-robin, but this time teams only play each organisation once in their respective pools — higher and lower. The standard draft format will also return.

For the higher group, the top seven teams qualify for the playoffs and group standings will impact seeding. Meanwhile, the bottom four teams of the lower group will be eliminated.

The final stage will see the top four lower group teams compete in a best-of-five single-elimination match alongside the bottom two higher group competitors for the last three remaining places.

For the playoffs, the LPL will keep its 10-team format from Spring Split. This includes its ‘King-of-the-Hill’ and double-elimination stages, all of which will be BO5 and played under standard draft rules.

The Summer Split, which is set to start in June, will see the teams compete for the lion’s share of its CN¥4.2m (~£463,800) prize pool and qualification for the League of Legends World Championships. Reigning LPL champions Bilibili Gaming will also be representing the region alongside Top Esports at the upcoming Mid-Season Invitational (MSI), set to take place in Chengdu, China.

Dafydd Gwynn