LCK Introduces a Double-Elimination Playoffs Format for 2023
On 18th November, the League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) announced significant changes to its 2023 season. Starting with the Spring split in January 2023, the playoffs will follow a double-elimination format. Notably, the Korean league has been running a single-elimination bracket since 2012 where teams would get eliminated just after one loss. Additionally, the new changes will also allow the LCK teams to integrate their rosters with their Challengers League (CL) teams. All in all, the new format changes look exciting and promising on paper. Here’s everything we know about the 2023 changes in the LCK.
LCK wrote on Twitter, "The #LCK has some big changes - double elimination playoffs, integrated rosters and format changes for #LCKCL - coming up in 2023!"
Changes lined up for LCK in 2023
In 2015, the LCK advanced five teams to the playoffs, and this increased to six in 2021. However, the format continued to remain a single-elimination bracket. In 2023, the Spring split and Summer split playoffs in the LCK will feature five best-of series instead of the usual three.
Six teams will qualify for the playoffs in every split and the first and second-place teams will directly move onto Round 2 of the playoffs by getting a bye. The third to sixth-place teams will play in Round 1, where the third-place team will choose to fight either the fifth or sixth team, while the fourth-place team will play the remaining team. Round 1 winners will move on and the losers will get knocked out.
Fans should note that the double-elimination bracket starts when there are only four teams remaining. The first seed of the regular split will have the choice between one of the two Round 1 winners, while the second-place team will play the remaining team. The two winning teams will move onto the upper bracket [Round 3], while the two losing teams will play each other in the lower bracket.
The Round 3 winners will move directly into the grand finals of the LCK, while the losing team of the Round 3 upper bracket will drop down to the lower bracket to face the winners of the Round 3 lower bracket in Round 4. All playoff matches will follow a best-of-five (BO5) format.
Here’s a breakdown of how the playoffs will look:
Round 1 (R1)
Match1: Split 3rd seed vs Split 5th/6th seed
Match 2: Split 4th seed vs Split 5th/6th seed
Round 2 (R2)
Match 1: Split 1st seed vs R1 Match 1 Winner
Match 2: Split 2nd seed vs R1 Match 2 Winner
Round 3 (R3)
Upper Bracket: R2 Match 1 Winner vs R2 Match 2 Winner
Lower Bracket: R2 Match 1 Loser vs R2 Match 2 Loser
Round 4 (R4)
Lower Bracket: Upper Bracket Loser vs Lower Bracket Winner
Round 5 (R5)
R3 Winner vs R4 Winner
LCK and LCK CL to operate under integrated rosters
In 2023, the LCK and the LCK CL will operate under integrated rosters, allowing flexibility in roster changes. All organizations will now have the opportunity to rotate 11-20 players under one head coach. While CL head coaches are optional, a team is required to have at least one assistant coach in the developmental league.
Thanks to these changes, fans can expect to see many more cindrella stories popping up in the LCK and young and talented CL players will also have the opportunity to play in the big league.