The North American League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS) will ditch best-of-three series and return to the double best-of-one format during the regular season.
Riot Games announced the decision Friday. The NA LCS will return to its previous format after three splits of each team playing two best-of-threes every week. Instead, every team will play two best-of-ones. The conclusion was that best-of-ones are easier to digest, can remove the need for dual streams, gives more opportunities for fans to look into team content, removes high stress points, has less repetitive gameplay with more diverse champion pools, and has a straightforward way to predict the schedules each week.
“With the move to best-of-ones, another change we’ll be implementing is that teams get side selection once instead of each team being assigned red and blue automatically,” the announcement reads. “We’re making this change so that teams can opt into what side they play on to provide a level of fairness and balance as the meta potentially shifts between patches.”
The best-of-three format was applied in the summer split of 2016 for NA, with the assumption that more competitive matches would improve the viewing experience. The European LCS operated with best-of-twos last summer and switched to best-of-threes this year. NA LCS pros were also consulted, and they apparently expressed that the format had diminishing returns and wasn’t worth the trade off.
By making the shift, the NA LCS schedule will return to a two-day broadcast on Saturday and Sunday starting at 12 p.m. ET. The best-of-three format might be able to return in the future, as Riot will continue to review the format, but it will likely not happen anytime soon.