LCS Unveils Teams and Format for NACL Summer Split Amidst the Controversy

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LCS Unveils Teams and Format for NACL Summer Split Amidst the Controversy

With the future of NACL looking grim as most orgs just left the league, the content creators might be the solution with Disguised Toast entering into the LoL Esports scene.

LCS announced the details for the upcoming NACL (North American Challengers League) Summer Split, revealing the participating teams and the format for the competition. The NACL, introduced at the beginning of 2023, serves as a developmental ecosystem co-operated by Riot Games and Rally Cry, aimed at cultivating aspiring talent and providing a pathway for future North American pro players.

But there has been some doubt cast on Riot and LCS’s commitment to both these goals and NACL’s future. Ever since the NA LCS became a franchised league, it was mandatory for all LCS organizations to participate in the NACL, previously LCS Academy, in order to ensure a strong developmental ecosystem. However, the LCS recently decided to remove this requirement, allowing LCS teams to opt out of the Challengers League. This move sparked concerns about the league's sustainability and the development of North American talent.

LCS stated that the decision was made based on the request of LCS teams, aiming to provide them with more operational and financial flexibility. While LCS emphasized its commitment to developing young NA talent and the NACL's growth, seven LCS organizations left NACL shortly after the requirement was lifted. Only LCS orgs that will participate in the NACL Summer Split are Evil Geniuses, FlyQuest and Team Liquid, and these three orgs only committed to the upcoming split. 

The reduced participation in the NACL by LCS organizations and a possible player walkout organized by the LCS Players Association (LCSPA) to protest these changes means NACL faces a pivotal moment. The league needs to provide a platform for aspiring players while maintaining the sustainability and growth of the North American League of Legends scene. The community, LCSPA and players are calling for Riot to reconsider their decision and collaborate to protect the future of the NA League of Legends scene as a whole. While Riot or LCS did not address these issues yet, or the subject of a walkout, they at least provided some kind of a roadmap for their future plans.

The NACL Summer Split will feature 10 teams, a mix of returning and new organizations, competing for a prize pool of $100,000. Three provisional teams from the NACL Spring (Cincinnati Fear, Wildcard and AOE Gold), two teams that earned their place through the NACL Spring Promotion Tournament (Maryville University and Supernova) and the fan favorite amateur squad Team Fish Taco will join the three LCS orgs remaining in the NACL.

Completing the lineup is Disguised, an esports organization backed by popular content creator Jeremy “Disguised Toast” Wang. Wang has been one of the most prominent creators to venture into esports when his org joined the VALORANT Challengers North America. DSG games costreamed by Wang have reached over 100k viewers multiple times, which would bring a massive new potential audience to the NACL if he is allowed to costream these games as well.

The NACL Summer Split will kick off on June 10, featuring a six-week, double Round Robin format with best-of-two matches. The results of these matches will determine the teams' standings and qualifiers for the playoffs. The top eight teams will advance to the NACL Playoffs, a three-week event featuring a double-elimination bracket with a mix of best-of-three and best-of-five matches. The Playoffs will culminate in a LAN Finals event at the Riot Games Arena in Los Angeles.

Aside from the format changes, NACL will now utilize the Chicago server for competition, making it more geographically inclusive for players. Additionally, Riot Games plans to introduce cross-region competitions for the Americas, encompassing North America, Latin America, and Brazil, as early as 2024. This move aims to further broaden competitive opportunities within the NA developmental system.

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LCS Unveils Teams and Format for NACL Summer Split Amidst the Controversy
Rohat Dicle Kılınç
Rohat is a writer mainly focused on the League of Legends esports scene, and an LCS hopeful.