Devon H. August 8, 2019
Due to rule changes affecting championship points, Team SoloMid and Cloud9, both contenders for Worlds, have had their chances for qualification greatly impacted.
Contrary to previous splits, 2019 spring ended without a third-place consolation prize. As a result, championship points for both of the semifinal losers were set to 40. However, Riot has decided to reinstate the consolation series for summer, allowing teams to compete for either 70 or 40 points.
Another rule change was made to the second-place position. Previously, second place was worth 90 points, but Riot, wishing to add more weight to the summer split, shifted it up to 100.
TSM finished in second place during the spring split, earning them 70 points heading into the playoffs. Despite not earning the semifinals bye in summer, their points put them among the top to qualify, but they still need to win their quarterfinal match.
If they lose outright, TSM has a minimum point total of 90 championship points. If they lose in the quarterfinals, their most ideal situation would be having Team Liquid winning it all and C9 losing their first series before placing fourth.
But even if that happens, the possible 70 points now accessible to third place allows any team in the playoffs to tie TSM from the minimum starting value of 20. And with summer points being worth more than spring, the tie would go to TSM’s opponents.
Comparatively, C9 is bringing 40 points from spring, with a minimum of 80 total due given their playoffs bye. With the second-place rule changes, C9 only needs to win a single series to earn 100 points and secure their spot for Worlds. Even if TSM reaches third place, they will only tie C9 with 140 points respectively. The tie would then go to C9 due to summer points being more valuable.
In the situation that C9 and TSM face off in the finals and TSM comes out on top, C9 will need TL to lose the consolation series in order to clinch the second seed. However, if neither team makes the finals at all, C9 needs to grab third place in order to not be forced to the gauntlet by TSM’s qualification.
With C9 and TSM being two of the most beloved teams in North America, many in the community have been outraged at these revisions. Some fans even accuse Riot of favoring one team over the other in order to help their Worlds qualification.
As the summer split playoffs unfold, only time will tell whether or not these changes become a major factor in either teams’ elimination from Worlds contention.