2018 looks to be a busy year for the LPL, China’s League of Legends professional league, with changes expected in terms of both franchising as well as the set-up of the LPL and its development league. Let’s take a look at the key updates below.
Changes to come
Although franchising plans were announced for the LPL way back in April 2017, so far there’s been little update as to how these changes are coming along. However, more recent announcements have indicated that, whilst no timeframes have been announced, the LPL will move towards a more regional model, with home and away games. For 2018, each of the 14 teams competing in the LPL will be split evenly across two regions—East Region and West Region.
Given that the 2018 Spring Split will start in the next few weeks, it’s unlikely that any franchising plans will be actioned before then, however we could still see franchising put into place at some point during the 2018 season.
In terms of the changes that will be in place for the 2018 Spring Split, we know that the number of professional teams now taking part has increased to 14 for 2018, with plans to grow the league further to 20 teams in future years.
Any changes made to a main regional league are likely to impact the challenger systems in place within that region, and the LPL is no exception. Plans have been announced for a new League of Legends Development League, which will comprise of 24 teams divided into four sub-regions. This Development League will replace the Secondary Pro League. The intention is that the winning team of the Development League’s national final will then be promoted into the LPL, until it has its 20 participating teams.
2018 Spring Split schedule
Games will start on Monday 15 January 2018, and will run for 10 weeks, kicking off with Invictus Gaming versus Royal Never Give Up at 6pm KST / 10am CET / 1am PST.
For English-speaking fans of the LPL, the casting team will also be based in Shanghai for the 2018 season, as confirmed by Froskurinn on her Twitter account. This marks a change from the previous season, when the English-speaking casting team operated out of Sydney, Australia. It will also see some new faces on commentary.
LPL team rosters
The following players should appear in the LPL Spring Split:
Top: AmazingJ / Freecss
Jungle: Sks / Chieftain
ADC: Jinjiao / Mole
Jungle: Clearlove7 / Haro
ADC: iBoy / Hope
ADC: JackeyLove / West
Support: Megan / Baolan
Oh My God
Royal Never Give Up
Jungle: Mlxg / Karsa
Support: Ben / Zero
What do you think of the upcoming franchising changes to the LPL? Let us know in the comments below!