Esports organizations Evil Geniuses and Golden Guardians have officially withdrawn from the North American League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) for the upcoming LCS 2024 season.

This departure is a strategic move aligned with Riot Games’ new global approach for the region, as revealed by John Needham, President of Esports at Riot Games, in a statement on X (formerly Twitter). The decision to part ways with EG and GG was a mutual agreement, marking a significant shift in the North American league.

What is the reason for Evil Geniuses and Golden Guardians not participating in LCS 2024?

John did not elaborate on the specific reasons for this decision. Instead, he briefly mentioned that the change is aimed at being “more flexible as they prepare the restructure of the league for future success.”

As a result of the departure of Evil Geniuses and Golden Guardians, all players previously under contract with these teams, including notable players such as Joseph “jojopyun” Joon Pyun, Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes, and Eric “Licorice” Ritchie, are now in free agency.

Following their exit, the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) will now comprise eight esports organizations: 100 Thieves, Cloud9, Dignitas, FlyQuest, Immortals, NRG, Shopify Rebellion, and Team Liquid.

LCS 2024 official announcement stating Evil Geniuses and Golden Guardians exiting the franchise
Credit: League of Legends Championship Series

Evil Geniuses started their venture into League of Legends in 2013 by securing a position in the EU LCS. Within the same year, they transitioned to North America, acquiring a slot in the NA LCS. The team underwent a rebranding to Winterfox in 2015 but faced disbandment later in the same year.

In September 2019, Riot Games announced that Evil Geniuses had taken over the LCS spot previously held by Echo Fox. Over the period spanning from 2019 to 2023, the esports organization consistently achieved podium finishes in the LCS, reaching a pinnacle in 2022 by securing their first LCS championship trophy in a match against 100 Thieves.

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Golden Guardians, owned by GSW Sports LLC, the parent company of the NBA team Golden State Warriors, obtained an LCS franchise spot and joined the league in 2018. However, their journey in the LCS was marked by consistent challenges, often finding themselves at the bottom of the standings during regular seasons. Their closest shot at a championship came in LCS 2023, where they clinched second place after a 3-1 defeat to Cloud9.

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