The next split of the EU LCS will be like no other. The league has adopted a format much like the Chinese LPL, with two groups feeding into both the playoffs and the promotion tournament. This format will allow the league to adopt a best-of-three format, a format which will replace the experimental best-of-two format that was in use throughout the 2016 Summer Split. Europe is the final of the officially Riot Sanctioned leagues to adopt a best-of-three format.
The two groups were decided by a snake draft format, in which two teams were elected "captains" of their groups, who then took turns drafting the rest of their opponent's respective groups. Both G2 Esports and H2k-Gaming were selected as captains due to them having the most championship points at the end of the 2016 EU LCS.
G2 presided over group A, and selected Splyce, Team Vitality, Unicorns of Love, and Origen to be the opponents for H2k over in group B. On the other side of the tables, H2k chose to send Fnatic, Misfits, Giants Gaming, and Team ROCCAT into group A.
Each group will compete in a best-of-three double round-robin, as well as a single round-robin against all the teams in the opposite group. The three teams with the best score at the end of the split will advance to playoffs, while the last place team in each group will instead be sent to the promotion tournament. The fourth place team in each group will earn themselves an elongated vacation, as they will participate in neither the playoffs nor be forced to fight for their lives in the promotion tournament.
WWG's Lead Host and Producer, Matt Best, had some choice comments about the groups. "Group A is the more top-heavy of the two," he said. "It's going to be difficult to see teams like Giants, Misfits, or ROCCAT make major strides with either G2 or Fnatic, who should be interchangeable throughout the split as the two top teams in the group."
"Group B, however, is a completely different story," he continued. "H2k is obviously the biggest threat initially, but Splyce is right on their coattails. Both Vitality and Unicorns of Love have an added element of surprise, however, which can't be underestimated. Origen will hang out and enjoy the ride straight to the promotion tournament while maybe stealing a game or two along the way."
The split will begin January 19th.