North American Challengers League: Dates and NACL Teams Have Been Finalized

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North American Challengers League: Dates and NACL Teams Have Been Finalized

LCS’s new academy ecosystem NACL teams and schedule are revealed.

It’s been nearly two months since it was announced that LCS’s feeder system would be getting an overhaul with both LCS Academy and Proving Grounds being replaced by the new circuit combining Academy and Amateur, called NACL. This newly created league will consist of 16 teams, ten Academy and six provisional, that will play through a regular season consisting of a single Round Robin best-of-two matches. With the purpose of the league being player development, regular season games will only determine seeding, and all teams will qualify for a double-elimination playoff bracket featuring a mix of best-of-three and best-of-five matches. The teams that will play in the inaugural NACL Split are:

  • Academy Teams
    • 100 Academy
    • CLG Academy
    • C9 Academy
    • Dignitas Academy
    • EG Academy
    • FlyQuest
    • GG Academy
    • IMT Academy
    • TL Academy
    • TSM Academy
  • Provisional Teams
    • AoE Esports
    • Cincinnati Fear
    • CLG Faith
    • FLY FAM
    • TL First
    • Wildcard Gaming

The 2023 NACL Spring Split will kick off on January 21

As the LCS moves to the weekdays during 2023, NACL will be held on weekends and will primarily be played remotely in order to best accommodate semi-pro player obligations. The first NACL Spring Split will start just a couple of days before LCS does, on January 21, and the regular season will continue till March 6. The double-elimination playoff with all 16 NACL teams will be played between the 11th and 29th of March.

After the playoffs, four Provisional Teams will be relegated and compete in the Promotion Tournament against four teams from the NACL Qualifiers for a place in the Summer split. Promotion Tournament for the 2023 NACL Spring Split will start on April 17 and end on April 23. The four teams trying to promote into the NACL will qualify for the Promotion Tournament through a pair of 32-team NACL Qualifiers. The selection criteria for these 32 teams are:

  • 24 teams will be selected from the NACL Qualifier applications based on cumulative Solo Queue player rankings when applications close (Challenger: 20, Grandmaster: 10, Master: 5, Diamond or below: 0). To account for subs, the Top 5 highest ratings will be counted across the entire roster, with ties broken by teams with the most NACL Qualifier Points, then by the cumulative Solo Queue LP value across the Top 5 players.
  • An additional eight teams will be selected from the NACL Qualifier applications by the Selection Committee.
  • Once the list is finalized, all 32 team seeds will be determined by the Selection Committee.
How the LCS Is Changing in 2025 (Americas League, Split Changes, Rosters)

The first NACL Qualifier will run from January 21 – February 19, with the second qualifier taking place from March 4 – April 2. The format for the NACL Qualifiers will begin with five rounds of swiss best-of-one matches, with the Top 16 advancing to GSL groups. From there, the Top 8 will move on to a single elimination bracket. Points are awarded based on tournament placement, and the Top 4 teams from both seasonal NACL Qualifiers will participate in the Promotion Tournament.

You can follow all the NACL action on Twitch channels of NACL or PathToLCS.

Champions Queue is also making its return after Worlds 2022

After its popularity during Worlds with both the attending players and the fans around the world, Champions Queue will also be back along with the NACL. As always, the Champions Queue will run alongside the LCS and Academy circuits and will consist of two seasons, both with three splits. Here is the schedule for Spring and Summer seasons:

  • Spring Split 1: January 12 – February 4
  • Spring Split 2: February 5 – March 4
  • Spring Split 3: March 5 – March 26
  • Summer Split 1: May 25 – June 17
  • Summer Split 2: June 18 – July 15
  • Summer Split 3: July 16 – August 6

There will be some improvements coming to the NA’s top practice environment. Previously, Riot had implemented some changes like an MMR system, dodge penalties and UI after player feedback, and there are some more coming with the new year. The biggest change will be the removal of pro-style pick/bans in favor of a more solo queue-like one, along with the prizes for each split. After talking with the players, it looks like Riot will shift towards more physical prizes rather than monetary ones.

How the LCS Is Changing in 2025 (Americas League, Split Changes, Rosters)

Also, there will be some more changes to the player access, as there were during the Worlds split. Champions Queue will now be accessible to:

  • LCS players on an active roster
  • NACL players on an active roster
  • LLA players on an active roster
  • Players on the Top 16 teams from each NACL Qualifier (must be Grandmaster or higher in Solo Queue)
  • Players who have previously competed in LCS or Academy (no time restriction, but must be Grandmaster or higher in Solo Queue AND approved by the Champions Queue Council)
  • Players who do not fit the above criteria, but had access to Champions Queue or Champions Queue Worlds in 2022 AND reached Top 25 in any Champions Queue 2022 Split or Season

For more news about the NACL or the LCS, follow us on ESTNN.

North American Challengers League: Dates and NACL Teams Have Been Finalized
Rohat Dicle Kılınç
Rohat is a writer mainly focused on the League of Legends esports scene, and an LCS hopeful.