The talks of a change to the import rules in the LCS have been ongoing for many weeks now, but a report from Travis Gafford confirmed this week that none of the team owners and management in the circuit seem to be in favour of keeping it. What outcome would result from a change in these rules?
The rule in question limits LCS teams to a limit of two non-resident players on a roster. While these import restrictions also apply to the other main League of Legends franchised circuits, the LCS has accommodated plenty of international talent in the past.
With its high salaries and “lower level of competitive play”, an assertion connected to the lacklustre performances at the international stage against other regions, North America has been a target for many foreign players.
Most recently, Cloud9 took action in such a move, signing Croatian Mid Laner Luka ‘Perkz’ Perković on what is rumoured to be a deal involving millions. The transfer seems to be working out very well for the organisation, as they share the top spot at the LCS standings with 100 Thieves on a 5-1 record.
As such, its no surprise that Cloud9’s founder and CEO Jack Etienne was one of the most vehement attackers of this rule, affirming that he would like to see it removed entirely. Other LCS franchises have more balanced approaches, suggesting the rules should just be slightly changed.
The prospect of new talent entering the LCS might seem all great news for the North American fans. After all, major success at Worlds has been unreachable for the scene, and foreign players like Søren ‘Bjergsen’ Bjerg have changed the North American scene forever.
However, there is a darker side to what could possibly result from such a ban. For starters, it would be an unprecedented move in the franchised history of League of Legends. If Riot breaks the LCS import rules, it would certainly have to disavow it on other regions.
Put head to head, the LCS could easily sway teams from other regions with its big capital, drying out the talent pool in other circuits. Breaking this rule could not only affect the North American region but completely destroy the competitive ecosystem Riot has built across the years.
The end of these restrictions could also be the nail in the coffin for young native talent to come through into the top of the circuit, thanks to the current fragile infrastructure in the region.
Nevertheless, with all ten teams from the LCS in agreement, the topic is bound to be discussed thoroughly with Riot Games. The possibility to have a full LEC, LCK or LPL team playing in North American soil has never been closer.
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