A new Riot announcement confirmed the rumors that the VCS teams will not attend worlds. Instead, the event will feature only 22 teams and a new Play-in system.
VCS Will Sit Worlds Out
After rumors arose that the COVID-19 situation will make it impossible for the representatives of the Vietnam Championship Series (VCS) teams to attend this year’s Worlds in China, Riot Games confirmed that this will indeed be the case. The announcement came from Tom Martell, Riot’s Esports director of operations.
Over the past several weeks, we explored every possible option to include VCS teams while ensuring the safety of VCS players and the delivery of a world class event. VCS teams and VCS fans have been an irreplaceable fixture of Worlds, but in consideration of current circumstances, we have made the difficult decision to proceed without them this year.
This is particularly sad, because the Vietnamese league had been one of the stronger minor regions. The region was initially part of the Southeast Asian Garena-run league, but a large and active player base, as well as international success, prompted Riot to make it a separate league in 2018. While the VCS has not yet had any teams reach playoffs at Worlds or MSI, they have had multiple impressive showings against their major league opponents.
Changes to the Play-In Stage
While there were rumors that the extra spots can be given to the North American and South Korean leagues, Riot instead chose to continue the event with 22 teams and change the format of the Play-In stage. Instead of featuring 12 teams, separated in two groups of three, the first stage of Worlds will have two groups of five with a single round robin format. The top teams of each group will qualify directly for the group stage, and the second, third and fourth teams will play a tie-breaker for the two remaining spots.
The tie-breaker will have the third and fourth teams from each group play a best of five series, with the winner playing another best of five against the second place team from the other group for a group stage spot. In addition to that, the third seed from the LCK - traditionally one of the stronger regions - will skip the play-in stage and participate in the groups directly.
Four Play-in teams will join the remaining 12 teams in the group stage. As part of this adjustement, the third seed from the LCK - traditionally one of the stronger regions - will skip the play-in stage and participate in the groups directly.
The 2020 World Championship Play-in stage begins on September 25. Unlike in previous years, all games will be held in one city - Shanghai, China - in order to minimize travel and the possibility of exposure to COVID-19.
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