The LCS Academy is merging with the amateur circuit for a new series of tournaments that will build future LCS stars.
Earlier this month, the LCS revealed its intentions to invest in the amateur scene by adopting a new format for its Academy system. LCS Proving Grounds is the new tournament circuit that will see the best Academy and amateur teams competing for the title.
The introduction of LCS Proving Grounds completely changes the way the Academy league works. LCS Academy teams will still play a regular season, but now playoffs are out of the picture. The top six teams in the regular season will qualify directly to Proving Grounds. The remaining four will compete in a series of tournaments.
There will be a total of three tier-one tournaments. LCS teams get seeded according to their standings in the regular season, while amateur teams qualify by accumulating points in tier-two tournaments.
This is the current LCS Proving Grounds schedule:
In total, 16 teams will compete in the LCS Proving Grounds, which will take place in late March and early April. This means that at least six amateur teams will get a chance to compete against official LCS Academy teams.
Amateur League of Legends teams have struggled to find any kind of financial support and have often disbanded before achieving anything significant. Through this new format, LCS teams can sponsor and even own an amateur team. Odds are that each franchise will approach this new format in different ways, based on their particular needs. It should also benefit aspiring pro players as organizations might be looking for fresh talent to develop.