Riot Games say they're introducing a new era for esports and entertainment in the UK with their new League of Legends tournament.
Forge of Champions was first teased back in March and now the full announcement has been made.
Forge of Champions will offer 64 new teams a chance to compete against the top 8 teams from the most recent ESL LoL Premiership split, which is no more.
A total prize pool of £50,000 and two spots at the EU Masters in September will be up for grabs (the EU Masters is the tournament that replaced the EU Challenger Series and was won by Origen at the Leicester Haymarket Theatre in April).
This represents Riot's biggest commitment to this market to date and the biggest prize pool in UK League of Legends esports, up from the UK Masters' £20,000 prize pool a few years back.
Riot have signed a three-year partnership with tournament operator LVP (League of Videogames Professionals, who run the popular Spanish League of Legends Superliga), to develop Forge of Champions and 'propel competitive UK League of Legends into the spotlight'.
Riot UK's head of esports Mo Fadl told Esports News UK that millions of pounds in investment will be going into this project, including the structure, marketing, staffing and on LVP's upcoming UK-based studio, which will host the competition in the future.
The format and prizes
Forge of Champions will run from June to September. It's for teams with 3/5 players that are UK or Ireland residents in any roster and any match. Rosters can be formed of ten players and each team can make three changes.
The competition will consist of four mini-tournaments (the first starting on June 22nd), each split into two stages.
The first stage will see up to 64 teams participate in a best-of-one open bracket (teams will be accepted based on how high their average elo is).
The top 8 teams from stage one will progress to stage two, where they will be placed with the 8 teams from the last ESL Prem split: exceL Esports, Wind and Rain, Misfits Academy, Enclave Gaming, MnM Gaming, Diabolus Esports, Hyperion Esports and the players that formed Raise Your Governors (ownership of this spot could change, and it's rumoured Barrage Esports may have it).
In stage two, the 16 teams will compete for points in best-of-three matches. These points are collected over the four mini-tournaments, and the eight teams with the most points at the end of the four competitions will progress to the overall playoffs.
The final playoffs will take place at LVP's studio in Barcelona from September 5th to 6th. The top eight teams will be flown there to participate in best-of-threes, with the grand final a best-of-five.
The team with the most points will qualify for the EU Masters, as will the team that wins the playoffs. If that's the same team on both counts, the team that finishes second in the playoffs will also advance to the EU Masters as well.
Each mini-tournament will hand out £1,800 to first place, £1,200 to second, £750 to third and fourth, and £500 to fifth and sixth. The overall grand final winner will receive at least £10,000. As mentioned, the overall prize pool is £50,000.
The vision & goals: What Riot & LVP say
The vision behind Forge of Champions is 'to create the highest level of competition and a source of entertainment for every gamer in the UK'.
It's being billed as the UK’s only professional AAA League of Legends esports tournament, a premier competition where future champions are created, challenged and celebrated.
Riot and LVP say the aim is to reinvigorate the grassroots competition for teams while also creating a source of entertainment for fans.
Both spoke in-depth to Esports News UK and other reporters at a recent press conference; here are some of our choice quotes below.
Mo Fadl, head of UK esports at Riot Games
"This is hopefully going to be a very big game-changer for us and for the UK scene.
The UK market is underdeveloped in the esports scene. We didn't give it the attention it deserved and we should have done a long time ago. It was a long learning process and a strong wake up call. We needed to make a change and make a difference.
Esports is changing. The market is changing. How people digest content is changing. Based on this we said we have to define a vision to enable us to be relevant for the players and the viewers at home.
This league will be very different to what’s come before in the UK. Let’s recreate ourselves and create an esports 2.0. We can make the UK esports scene the strongest scene and community within Europe. It's a very big commitment for us to turn the UK scene around.
Forge of Champions provides a great opportunity for esports talent and amateur teams to... in Germany we say 'lick blood', like when a dog licks blood, it wants more! It's a transition tournament focusing on entertainment and allowing amateurs to enter the big stage.
"We have a chance to not only look at the stars, but reach for them. Ideally we will create new legends which will rise out of the whole event."
We have a chance to not only look at the stars, but reach for them. Ideally we will create new legends which will rise out of the whole event.
We also want to allow media talent to rise and take their place in the UK scene.We will use a new sign up platform that allows us to offer quality and a new experience to our players, and heavily push the bar up in the UK scene.
How can we push UK esports forward and create a hub that’s relevant? We're focusing on entertainment, shoutcasters and editors as well as players - key people in the new environment, the ecosystem. We will look for highlight videos and content for big matches.
It’s a transition period. We have to burn everything down, more or less, to grow a stronger woodland. This is the first results of the work.
It's a new era for esports and entertainment for the UK."
Sergi Mesonero, VP and co-founder at LVP
"We want to do something as big as or bigger than the LVP [in Spain]. We want to do something different for esports.
When LVP was born, it had the idea that esports could be different from place to place, game to game. This regional identity matters.
The UK market has huge potential and also huge difficulties. We want it to have an impact in Europe like the LVP.
"We want to do something as big as or bigger than the LVP in Spain. We want to do something different for esports."
Our goal is to get as much recognition as possible so that people know there’s a competitive scene in the UK and there’s a big change, there’s big prospects for the future. We want people who play and enjoy League of Legends to know there’s a competitive scene in the UK and we have big plans for it.
We hope it will be successful and even change the face of esports. We are ambitious; I hope that we are not crazy! Time will tell. We are really honoured to have been chosen and are happy to be here."
- Forge of Champions is a new UK League of Legends competition
- It's offering a £50,000 prize pool and two spots at the EU Masters
- Millions of pounds is being invested on the initiative
- Riot and LVP have entered a three-year partnership to 'propel competitive UK League of Legends into the spotlight'
- The focus is to blend competitive play with entertainment, and to highlight talent, from players to casters, content creators and more
- The competition runs from June to September, with sign ups opening June 5th
- There will be four mini-tournaments, each split into two stages
- Up to 64 teams will play in stage one, and the top 8 will progress to stage 2, where they will face the 8 teams from the last ESL Prem split
- Teams build up points in stage two, and the 8 teams with the most points at the end of the four tournaments will reach the playoffs
- The team with the most points will qualify for the EU Masters, as will the team that wins the playoffs
- Raise Your Governors' players own their spot, which may be acquired by an org soon
- A new LVP studio is currently being developed for the UK
- In the meantime, the playoff finals will take place in LVP's Barcelona studio this September
Check Esports News UK over the coming week for more Forge of Champions content, including an interview, opinion piece and more