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LPL reveals plans for new secondary league in 2018; Promotion (but no relegation) remains in the short term

The LPL announced plans for a secondary system.
Team WE prepares for a match at the Mid-Season Invitational. The Chinese League of Legends league will overhaul its secondary system in 2018. Photo courtesy of Riot Games.

In the wake of the announcement of franchising in China’s League of Legends Pro League, plans for a new secondary league system for the LPL have been revealed. The league will feature four subregions, 24 teams, and — at least temporarily — a promotion mechanism for joining the LPL.

The LoL development League (LDL) will replace the League of Legends Secondary Pro League (what the LPL has in place of the Challenger Series). The LDL will have four subregions based upon geographic location: North, East, South, and West China Division. Each division will have teams from four major cities.

The Chinese system will differ drastically from the North American Academy System, as organizations independent from franchised LPL teams may own LDL teams. It will also still retain elements of the promotion and relegation system.

Starting next year, eight teams will compete in each division every split for a chance to join the National LDL Stage. The top two teams in each division will compete in the National Division. The bottom three teams will be eliminated, and auditions for the LoL Development League will be reopened for the next split.

During the National Stage of the LDL, the top two teams from each division will compete. As the LPL continues to expand every split until there are at least 20 teams in the top league, the winner of LDL National Final each split will be promoted to the LPL. The announcement did not specify what will happen once the LPL reaches 20 teams.

Registration for teams to join the LDL division qualifiers will begin Monday. Each LDL division will have three existing LSPL teams (currently, the LSPL is comprised of 12 teams, but one wildcard team promoted from LDL Audition will take its place after the winning LSPL team joins 2018 LPL Spring), and five teams from auditions.

Auditions will begin Aug. 25 in two stages. The second stage will feature best-of-three, double elimination. Winning teams will be assigned to cities in keeping with LPL’s geolocalization. Each city within each division will host two teams.

Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games

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