With the regular season officially over in both the North American and European League Championship Series, it's that time of year where the bottom teams from the LCS and the top teams from the Challenger Series square off for spots in the LCS for next split.
The North American promotion tournament has been delayed due to work eligibility requirements changes, but five European teams play this week for three important spots.
What is this?
Professional League of Legends seasons have two splits (Spring and Summer), with promotion/relegation tournaments (and playoffs) in between. So the teams that finished eighth, ninth and 10th in the LCS Spring Split will play against the teams that finished first and second in the Challenger Series (the second-tier league) for the right to be in the LCS for the Summer Split.
Who is playing?
Of the LCS teams, Splyce finished eighth this split, but the all-Danish squad showed flashes of quality in wins against Fnatic and Elements. ROCCAT finished ninth with a completely reworked roster, and swept third-place Vitality. Giants Gaming made some late roster changes to try and stay in the LCS, but still finished in 10th place. The good news? Giants swept Roccat in the regular season, and that's a possible winner-take-all matchup in the final series of this tournament.
The two Challenger teams upset favored opponents in the Challeneger playoffs to get here. Huma entered Challenger as a potential powerhouse team, with five former pro players on the roster, but reported financial problems caused the team to sell former TSM jungler Santorin to NA Challenger squad Ember. Huma defeated second seed Inspire eSports and Copenhagen Wolves, securing the No. 1 seed out of Challenger for this tournament.
Copenhagen Wolves was previously an LCS squad, relegated after the Summer 2015 split along with SK Gaming. After finishing in fourth place in the Challenger regular season, Wolves knocked off first seed Millenium in the semifinal round to earn a spot in this tournament.
What's the format, and when can I watch it?
Until recently, the 10th place LCS team was automatically relegated, while the first place Challenger team was automatically promoted. The road is still definitely easier for that to happen, but now all teams involved get a chance to prove themselves in a tournament.
Here's the schedule this time around. Each series will be a best of five.
|DATE||GAME TIME (ET)||MATCHUPS||WHAT IT MEANS|
|March 24||Noon||Match A (Giants Gaming vs. Copenhagen Wolves)||Loser relegated|
|March 26||9 a.m.||Match B (Splyce vs. Match A winner)||Winner promoted|
|March 26||2 p.m. (or after Match B)||Match C (ROCCAT vs. Huma)||Winner promoted|
|March 27||Noon||Match D (Match B loser vs. Match C loser)||Winner promoted, loser relegated|
There's also this handy graphical image from Riot.
How can I watch it?
All of the matches will be streamed live on LolEsports.com.