Only Three LCS Organizations Will Participate in the NACL During the 2023 Summer Split

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Only Three LCS Organizations Will Participate in the NACL During the 2023 Summer Split

FlyQuest, Evil Geniuses and Team Liquid will be the only LCS organizations to field an NACL roster this upcoming Summer.

It has been little more than a week since LCS announced the rule change allowing LCS organizations to opt out of participating in the North American Challengers League. And with the deadline for teams to notify Riot about their final decision expired during the week, fans are left with a grim landscape for the Challengers League.

Only three LCS organizations will participate in the NACL during the 2023 Summer Split, marking a significant departure from the previous requirement for all LCS teams to have an NACL roster. The decision comes as a blow to the development of North American League talent and raises concerns about the region's future, which is a sentiment echoed on social media by LCS Players Association, community figures and the players who have been in the system.

The three organizations committed to the NACL for the summer split are FlyQuest, Evil Geniuses, and Team Liquid. The remaining seven teams, namely TSM, Immortals, Golden Guardians, Dignitas, NRG, Cloud9 and 100 Thieves, have decided to withdraw from the program immediately. One common theme for the remaining three teams was the commitment to the NACL for the Summer of 2023, so what the future holds for the academy system of North America is still unknown.

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While some of these exits were more expected than others such as TSM who did not even have a staff supporting their NACL team last split, some others blindsided the fans. Golden Guardians and Cloud9 were the two biggest disappointments when it came to the decision. Golden Guardians had just announced a three-year plan to rejuvenate their NA talent pipeline and committed to the ecosystem, and Cloud9 is known for its successful Challengers or Academy systems. Dignitas also drew a lot of criticism from the community since their Challengers team was the runner ups of the last split while the LCS roster finished their league dead last.

On the more positive side, FlyQuest, Evil Geniuses and Team Liquid have reaffirmed their commitment to fostering North American talent. FlyQuest's team president, Chris “PapaSmithy” Smith, released a video explaining the organization's decision to return to the Challengers League. Team Liquid CEO Steve Arhancet echoed similar sentiments, emphasizing the need for improvement in development leagues while shedding light on the costs associated with running NACL rosters.

The reduced participation in the NACL has raised questions about the league's future. With only three teams confirmed for the upcoming summer split, the lowest total in years, there is uncertainty about whether Riot will promote more amateur organizations to fill the gaps.

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The start of the Summer Split is just weeks away, and the lack of clarity from Riot regarding promotional tournaments and potential additions to the NACL roster raises concerns about the league's organization.

There are also some questions about the possibility of a strike by the players for the upcoming LCS Summer Split. While both LCSPA and its Executive Director Philip Aram said a player strike was a real possibility, whether it becomes a reality or not will remain to be seen.

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Only Three LCS Organizations Will Participate in the NACL During the 2023 Summer Split
Rohat Dicle Kılınç
Rohat is a writer mainly focused on the League of Legends esports scene, and an LCS hopeful.