In 2023, the LEC changed its format to include three Splits rather than two and much shorter Regular Splits. The regular season of the Winter Split has already concluded after three weeks, giving way to the Group phase. With teams only playing best-of-three and best-of-five series until the next Split, the stakes are rising ahead of the playoffs.
The LEC met mixed viewership numbers at the start of the Split, but fans have reached a verdict on this year’s new format in a Reddit thread, and they’re pretty unanimous: changes happened for the better.
The discussion became a popular appreciation thread for Riot Games’ new LEC format, where players shared its various advantages. They proved to be unanimous on the fact that the shortened regular Split significantly increased the stakes of every match since a single point can make all the difference ahead of the Group phase.
“Every game is important. Nobody can relax or unwind. This is fantastic for competition and hype,” wrote the user. “A great element is how it makes BDS and Astralis tryhard for their lives. It’s a night and day difference for these lower teams who have to show up early now.”
Players agreed that three weeks were a perfect time window for best-of-ones to show their full potential in terms of strategy and pure skill, without blatantly showing their limits, since teams won’t have the time to get comfortable with the format.
Starting playing best-of-threes after only three weeks is challenging, which forces players to remain on their toes and constantly adapt —meaning more surprises and potential upsets in the following weeks.
“I might actually pay attention for an entire regular season instead of just watching first week and the end,” wrote another League fan.
Some were worried that underperforming teams wouldn’t have the chance to improve and make it to playoffs by coming back in the last games, like Fnatic, who is historically going to miss playoffs despite high expectations.
But others argued that the team will have two more Splits to get into shape again and qualify for Worlds, as well as the rest of the Winter season to get back to their feet after hard weeks of competition.
While the success of this format has yet to translate in viewership numbers, there is still more time to see the format bear its fruits. Winter’s Group phase will kick off next Saturday, Feb. 11 at 11am CT.