Esports News UK editor Dom Sacco shares his thoughts on today’s news that the lower-tier UKEL will allow teams to reach the UKLC
Back in 2015, I asked Riot Games in an interview what it was doing to help UK players and teams flourish.
Their answer always stuck with me. In a nutshell: ‘The goal is to create a clearly defined path to pro.’
Today, for me, that pathway is complete. The UKLC Relegation Series will feature the top two teams from the UKEL and the bottom two teams from the UKLC in a best-of-five series, allowing lower tier teams and players a clear pathway to reach a higher level. It will take place on August 23rd and 24th 2020.
The news comes after the UKLC 2020 Summer Split was recently announced, with Barclays as headline sponsor.
We’ve never had so many tiers and options in UK League of Legends esports. While that might make things more competitive than before, and potentially tougher for players to stand out amongst their peers, it also gives them more options.
Now we have school and college leagues with the British Esports Association, university competitions with the NUEL and NSE, then the UKEL, the UKLC and recently revealed NLC.
While the NLC isn’t just for UK teams (it features various teams from across Northern Europe), it also offers a path to the European Masters, featuring the very best of the European Regional Leagues in League of Legends.
Above that, of course, lies the holy grail that is the LEC. A franchised league featuring the top talent.
It’s also super encouraging to see an independent grassroots initiative set up just last year become a stronger part of the ecosystem in this way.
I like how the pathway is mentioned by the UKEL too.
In a statement on their website (linked at the top of this article) they said: “The UKEL has a long history in the UK League of Legends scene and a firm structure in place. With having this system for the relegations of the UKLC, the vision is to create a more clear path for the aspiring players in the UK region to reach the UKLC and giving the competing organizations a space to grow.”
For the next UKLC split, there’s a one-off qualification tournament for two of the team spaces, including teams from NSE and the NUEL, as well as the UKEL. But going forwards it’ll just be the top two UKEL teams versus the bottom two UKLC teams to determine which make it to the next UKLC split.
What about teams that want to enter the UKEL?
An open tournament will take place. The top two teams will then enter a playoff best-of-three series against the two bottom teams from the UKEL to determine who stays, who advances and who is relegated.
It’s fair to say UK League of Legends has levelled up, and I can’t wait to see which new legends the game produces in the UK and Ireland over the coming years.
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Association up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and as an esports consultant helping brands and businesses better understand the industry.