LVP UK has confirmed the nine teams that will be taking part in its 2019 League of Legends tournament, including newcomers Phelan, Darkspawn and Fnatic.
Other familiar names returning include MnM, exceL, Diabolus, Enclave, Barrage and Bulldog, with Wind and Rain, Hyperion and Misfits dropping out.
The confirmation that League of Legends European Championship (LEC) teams can also field rosters in European Regional Leagues is great news for the scene, says Dom Sacco in this opinion piece.
Almost two years ago, I spotted a rule change buried in a Riot Games esports update, saying that LCS sister teams would no longer be able to compete in the now-removed Challenger Series. They could instead play in European Regional Leagues, like the ESL Premiership, or the Forge of Champion/new LVP UK league which has now replaced it.
I wrote a speculative piece at the time about the idea of Fnatic potentially playing in the UK scene with an academy team and it struck some debate on Twitter. Some thought it was unlikely, others thought it could be interesting.
Well a lot can change in two years, especially in esports, and guess what - Fnatic will be fielding a team in the UK scene. And so will exceL Esports. And this is fantastic for the growth of League of Legends here in the UK.
In my opinion, this is the most exciting time for UK LoL in the three to four years I've been covering and following the competitive scene here.
We've just had UK org exceL Esports announce they're joining the LEC - the revamped LCS - which is great in two ways. First, it makes many global League of Legends fans aware of a UK organisation and the scene here. Secondly, it shows all the other UK-based esports orgs that reaching the big leagues is possible.
— LVP UK (@LVPuk) December 12, 2018
Now we're going to see Fnatic field a roster in the UK scene. This has three major advantages: it again brings more global LoL fans to the UK scene, it gives talent here a larger platform to showcase their skills and a chance to get picked up by teams like Fnatic, and I think, most importantly, it will raise the bar in terms of the skill level here in the UK scene.
Smaller orgs should up their game when they play against Fnatic. It's like when a lower league football team faces a Premier League side in the FA cup. They will go that extra mile. They will dig deep, they will throw everything they've got into the game, because they're playing against a big name and this should be both exciting and a challenge for them.
I don't care whether Fnatic may field a weaker team than their LEC roster - of course they will. This is a chance for them to hone an academy side, give them experience and the opportunity to prove themselves, with those showing great potential able to possibly move into the first team. Who knows?
Fnatic are still Fnatic, whether they have Rekkles playing for them or a relative unknown.
This news will be fantastic for the exposure of UK League of Legends, opening it up to a wider fanbase and just lifting the professionalism of it by another notch. I can't wait.
"Do you remember that time we beat Fnatic?"
UK orgs, players, coaches and managers, you have the chance to be able to say that next year.
Don't let the opportunity go to waste.