Riot Games has officially announced the cancellation of two Vietnam Championship Series slots for Worlds 2020, League of Legends’ most prestigious cross-region tournament.
GAM Esports COO Nguyen “Izumin” Khanh Hiep recently posted a video on his personal YouTube channel, providing some in-depth information about the current VCS issue.
Izumin clarified that the main reason why VCS teams could not attend Worlds was a visa problem, in which both countries, China and Vietnam, could not issue any visas at the time. The announcement itself was supposed to be announced at 7 p.m. September 1, but many domestic and foreign news outlets reported earlier against the request of Riot Games.
“A lot of measures have been taken into account over the past few months, meaning that before this announcement, the organizers as well as all the stakeholders have been trying to find ways to help us reach Worlds,” said Izumin.
Izumin even talked about other drastic options to get the Vietnamese teams into Worlds 2020. One proposition had the teams land in a third country to apply for a China visa while another had Riot taking out a $1M private jet to aid the players, but all their measures seemed to come up short.
To compensate for the loss of interest, Riot will be sending bonuses to two VCS teams corresponding to their positions at Worlds. However, as the COO of a professional team, Izumin said that the compensation was insignificant compared to the impact of having their team show up at Worlds.
Izumin expounded that running and developing a team each year is a big investment and having them participate in Worlds could open up opportunities for branding, media, and sponsorships as an organization. Seeing as how Vietnam is still developing its world status as a competitive region, Worlds 2020 is such an important factor in bringing the spotlight to the region.
Though it may be hard for the region to accept its missed Worlds appearance this year, Izumin mentioned that allowing the VCS teams to compete and run the risk of infection will adversely affect the anti-epidemic process and the effort of their home country and its people.
Worlds 2020 will now continue with only 22 teams challenging for the championship. VCS’s main event slot will be given to LCK’s third seed (formerly Play-In) while the Play-In Stage will only have ten teams fighting for the four final main event slots.
The Play-In teams will be split into two seeded groups of five in a single round-robin format, with the first-place teams both advancing to the Group Stage and the last place teams being eliminated. The third and fourth-place teams in each group will play a best-of-five and the winner of the series will go into another best-of-five with the second-place team from the opposite group. The winners of those matches will move on to the Group Stage.
Instead of the usual double round-robin format, Riot has translated the 22 teams in a single round-robin with a five-team group to ensure that each team gets an equal number of red and blue side games.
Worlds 2020 will start on September 25 in Shanghai, China.