onGamers News

OGN The Champions Winter future uncertain as Riot looks to standardize regional formats

Sources state that the winter season of OnGameNet's League of Legends tournament may be cancelled as Korea switches to a two season based format.

onGamers has learned that the third season of The Champions 2014 will potentially not take place. Sources in Korea have stated that the tournament is cancelled due to Riot Games North America wanting to standardize the regions and change the format of the tournament to align closer with the LCS schedule.

This falls in line with a statement made of the official lolesports website where Riot Games’ Nick Allen states:

Looking forward to the future, we’re working closely with all of the regional leagues to align our schedules and build in more time between the regional qualifiers and Worlds. This will help minimize the constraints that were unavoidable this year, provide more practice times for teams, and allows us to providing a transparent and exciting live group draw for fans that commemorates the start of Worlds.

Our sources complement information by a senior executive at OnGameNet’s Chinese partner Keahoarl who stated on a private Chinese forum that the Winter season of The Champions has been cancelled and that OnGameNet will be adapting the LCS format in 2015. [Clarification note: The Senior executive stated LCS format but our sources mean the two-split season that is currently in place with the LPL/LCS]

Additionally, although Keahoarl have retracted their official statement about a chinese invite, sources state that their retraction was due to the fact that the news was not meant to be public yet. Another source close to the situation in Korea stated that Riot Games Headquarters wanted to “make the LCS rules worldwide.”

Different sources dispute this and claim that the decision to cancel OGN Winter has not been fully finalized and that there is a probability of it still happening. Either way, the future of the third season of The Champions looks uncertain as Riot Games looks forward to organize better scheduling of the regional leagues for the 2015 season. Additional information is likely to surface after the 2014 World Championships.

onGamers has reached out to OnGameNet and Riot Games for comment about this situation.

Riot Games' Nick Allen has responded to this article on a statement on Reddit:

Hey guys, a few things from our side:

  • Riot HQ isn't mandating any changes in KR, or any other region. We advise on some matters, but Riot Korea is working in conjunction with Kespa and OGN to decide the future of LoL esports in Korea.
  • The Riot KR team always keeps the best interests of the KR esports ecosystem in mind. Ecosystem health is their top priority.
  • Formats will look different from region to region--we aren't mandating any formats. And like the article mentions, we are looking to align global schedules for better timing around international events.
  • Nothing has been finalized regarding the 2015 season in KR, and you can expect more information around that after the World Championship.

Image credits: OnGameNet.

This article has been edited for clarity.

11 Comments
Posted by Dbearslayer

So, on one hand, this could be a good thing. It could mean that riot are making more efforts to improve the world finals format, and increase the potential for international tournament scheduling within the offseason gaps.

On the other hand, it also could be a convenient way for Riot to not allow western teams to leave their beloved LCS to compete elsewhere, a notion that isn't concrete, but does pick up some steam when you consider certain behaviors from riot.

Thirdly, the LCS format for OGN? No no no. That sounds like an awful idea. The OGN bracket system is SO much more intense, exciting, and provides for higher quality of games than the LCS format. I really hope I'm either misinterpreting this, or that it doesn't happen.

Posted by Bleda412

If Riot wants to make LCS formatting standard throughout competitive League of Legends, then they should make sure China is on a current patch.

Posted by EmoBacon

@dbearslayer said:

So, on one hand, this could be a good thing. It could mean that riot are making more efforts to improve the world finals format, and increase the potential for international tournament scheduling within the offseason gaps.

On the other hand, it also could be a convenient way for Riot to not allow western teams to leave their beloved LCS to compete elsewhere, a notion that isn't concrete, but does pick up some steam when you consider certain behaviors from riot.

Thirdly, the LCS format for OGN? No no no. That sounds like an awful idea. The OGN bracket system is SO much more intense, exciting, and provides for higher quality of games than the LCS format. I really hope I'm either misinterpreting this, or that it doesn't happen.

Not to mention the dual league format with champions and NLB is much better for competitive play.

Edited by timewellwasted

I would rather not have LCS format replacing current OGN format.

Posted by BLooThug

Or maybe LCS and all other leagues can follow the much better OGN & NLB format which proves to better for teams and viewers. That's just my three cents though/

Posted by Valkyonx

@dbearslayer: As stated in the article the format they are standarizing is not how LCS/LPL works of 28 regular season games and playoffs, but the 2 season summer/spring. OGNs dual tournament format would remain the same, only change would be the deletion of Champions winter.

Edited by sbbae

ONE LESS SEASON MEANS LESS SPONSERSHIP WHICH MEANS LESS MONEY FOR KR PRO PLAYERS, OGN AND KR LEAGUE SCENE IN GENERAL!

BETTER WEAKEN THE STRONGEST REGION, WELL DONE RIOT!(SLOW CLAPS).

OGN IS NOT LCS, KR PROS ARE NOT PAID BY RIOT. RIOT DOES NOT HAVE ANY RIGHTS TO DO THIS. ESPECIALLY CONSIDERING THAT KR PRO PLAYERS ON SMALL TEAMS ARE PAID CONSIDERABLY LESS THAN NA OR EU PROS AND THEIR INCOME RELIES HEAVILY ON SPONSORS.

Edited by Ledge_It

@dbearslayer said:

The OGN bracket system is SO much more intense, exciting, and provides for higher quality of games than the LCS format. I really hope I'm either misinterpreting this, or that it doesn't happen.

The OGN tournament structure is a lousy format. It does nothing to help teams that aren't sponsored by KT, Samsung, SKT, CJ, or Najin.

@sbbae said:

ONE LESS SEASON MEANS LESS SPONSERSHIP WHICH MEANS LESS MONEY FOR KR PRO PLAYERS, OGN AND KR LEAGUE SCENE IN GENERAL!

It seems like you never considered the fact that because of the OGN format where there's no viewership for qualifiers, and they'd only get 3 nights in ogn even if they did qualify. The bottom teams have a huge problem with sponsors walking out of them (previous Jin Air sponsor).

Posted by espressojim

@ledge_it said:

The OGN tournament structure is a lousy format. It does nothing to help teams that aren't sponsored by KT, Samsung, SKT, CJ, or Najin.

It seems like you never considered the fact that because of the OGN format where there's no viewership for qualifiers, and they'd only get 3 nights in ogn even if they did qualify. The bottom teams have a huge problem with sponsors walking out of them (previous Jin Air sponsor).

If you watch the qualifiers and the round of 16, you'll note that there are teams that aren't KT/Samsung/SKT/CJ/Najin. Big File Miracle, etc are all smaller teams, and can get in and compete in OGN. If/when they get better, they'll make it past the round of 16 and into the bracket stage.

I'd love to see NLB also get english coverage, which would really help these smaller teams. That said, OGN winter is the only thing going on for MONTHS around the time after worlds and until the spring split starts. LCS should get on the ball and get to 3 shorter seasons themselves.

Posted by johnlee124321412

let me put it this way, LCS is a tournament that drags on and plays for months, OGN is elimination based, teams need to qualify to round of 16 and if they lose, they are automatically out. Now if Riot is smart enough to do the math, they will realize that if they eliminate winter season, the Korean teams will barely get enough time to play in professional level.

And honestly, i dont know why NA and EU runs on LCS because it does not give teams enough time to prepare and hone their skills and there's not much tension in the series, they should convert it to OGN style if they want to improve the overall skill level of NA and EU scene

Posted by Ledge_It

@espressojim said:

If you watch the qualifiers and the round of 16, you'll note that there are teams that aren't KT/Samsung/SKT/CJ/Najin. Big File Miracle, etc are all smaller teams, and can get in and compete in OGN. If/when they get better, they'll make it past the round of 16 and into the bracket stage.

You've completely missed the point. Those teams get thrashed in scrims and never see a kespa organization willing to pair up again. 8-10 games in the same timeframe as LCS is disgusting. There isn't an opportunity to improve.