Spain’s Iberian Cup announced with a huge format twist

Lee Jones • October 5, 2022 6:34 pm

The annual League of Legends Iberian Cup has been announced for 2022 with significant changes to the format.

The Iberian Cup is a ProAm tournament meant to give amateur teams a chance to face Spain’s best squads in a for-fun competition. The cup will feature all 20 teams from the 1st and 2nd SuperLiga divisions as well as an additional twelve from amateur circuits and an open qualifier. The tournament has previously featured teams from Portugal, Italy, and Spain. However, it will only feature sides from the latter this time around.

Rather than implementing a group stage that feeds into knockouts, the Iberian Cup will instead start immediately with knockouts, much like in traditional sports.

Format of Spain’s Iberian Cup explained

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Most rounds will be played using the best-of-three series, with the draft style likely to be a curveball for many. Rather than using a traditional pick/ban system each game, the Iberian Cup will utilize a “fearless” draft mode, preventing teams from using champions they played in the previous maps. This would mean that a full three-game series will see each team forced to pick 15 different champions.

The semi-finals and grand final will also use this style, however, in best-of-five matchups rather than best-of-three. This would mean teams potentially using 25 different champions throughout a series. To add to the excitement, if a best-of-five is to reach a fifth and final game, the draft will switch to a blind pick, preventing the teams from seeing each other’s champions before the game loads in.

2022’s Iberican Cup is set to run from October 17 until November 19. It will include a LAN final at the PortAventura Convention Centre, a venue within the PortAventura entertainment park in Catalonia, Spain.

Have fearless drafts been used in pro play before?

Perhaps surprisingly, the Iberian Cup will not be the first tournament to enforce such unusual draft rules. The LDL, China’s second division, recently changed its usual draft pick, best-of-three regular season matches, to add the “fearless” pick/ban rules. The new format encourages developing players to experiment with different champions and playstyles.

The blind pick in a best-of-five series’ final map is also not an entirely new concept, having been used between 2012 and 2014 in Korea’s OGN Champions (later becoming the LCK). This oddity was even partly responsible for providing the most famous moment in the game’s competitive history as Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok took down Ryu “Ryu” Sang-wook in a Zed vs. Zed mirror matchup in baffling fashion.

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