League of Legends MSI and Worlds 2023: What's new?

by Brian Bencomo

Riot Games announced new details about the two premier international events on the League of Legends esports calendar for 2023. In addition to revealing the locations of the Mid-Season Invitational and the League of Legends World Championship, Riot shared details about the revamped formats for both tournaments. Here’s a rundown of what’s new for MSI and Worlds this year.

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MSI 2023

Image credit: Riot Games

Riot Games announced that this year’s Mid-Season Invitational will take place in London, England. It will be the first time the midseason tournament is taking place in London and first time since 2018 that the event is being held in Europe. Riot did not announce dates for the tournament, but it’s likely it will take place in May like in previous years.

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Despite the number of League of Legends regions shrinking this year, the number of teams that can qualify for MSI is expanding to 13. In past years, no more than one team from each region qualified for MSI, resulting in 11 teams each of the past two years. Without Turkey’s TCL, Eastern Europe’s LCL and Oceania’s LCO, the number of regions in League of Legends’ esports competitive ecosystem is nine this year. However, the four major regions (China’s LPL, Korea’s LCK, Europe’s LEC and North America’s LCS) will each send two teams to MSI.

Rather than three stages (play-in, groups and bracket), MSI 2023 will feature only two stages: play-in and bracket.

Photo credit: Riot Games

Since an LCK team won Worlds, both LCK teams will automatically qualify for the bracket stage along with the top seeds from the LPL, LEC and LCS, while the rest of the teams will compete in the play-in stage. The eight play-in teams will be divided into two groups of four and will play a series of best-of-three double elimination matches. The group winners will advance to the bracket stage plus one more team that will be determined by a series between the two lower bracket winners.

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The most exciting update is that the MSI bracket stage will be a double elimination bracket. Double elimination is something fans have been clamoring for and something that Riot Games has utilized in international VALORANT competitions. The double elimination bracket will consist of best-of-five matches.

Worlds 2023

Image credit: Riot Games

The 2023 League of Legends World Championship will take place in South Korea. It’s the first time since 2018 that Worlds will be held in Korea. Riot did not reveal the dates for the season-ending championship tournament, but it will likely take place throughout October and end in November as it has in the past.

Unlike MSI, the field of teams for Worlds will shrink compared to last year from 24 to 22. The distribution of qualifying teams by region will look like this:

  • LCK: 4
  • LPL: 4
  • LCS: 3
  • LEC: 3
  • PCS: 2
  • VCS: 2
  • LJL: 1
  • CBLOL: 1
  • LLA: 1

That leaves one more team that will be determined by the “Worlds Qualifying Series.” The WQS is new this year and will be a best-of-five series between the fourth-place teams in the LEC and LCS. Riot hopes to expand the WQS to include other teams and regions in future years.

Photo credit: Riot Games

Worlds will consist of three stages this year: play-in, Swiss and bracket.

The WQS team along with the teams from the PCS, VCS, LJL, LLA and CBLOL will compete in the play-in stage. Like MSI’s play-in stage, the eight teams will be divided into two four-team groups and play a series of double-elimination matches to ultimately determine two teams that will advance to the Swiss stage.

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These two teams will join the LPL, LCK, LCS and LEC teams in the 16-team Swiss stage. The Swiss stage replaces the group stage that has always been part of Worlds. In this format, there will be five rounds of play and teams must accrue three wins to advance to the bracket stage. The initial matches will be single games, while advancement and elimination matches will be best-of-three.

The bracket stage will be an eight-team single-elimination bracket as it has been in the past.

Lead photo credit: Riot Games

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