New 2015 Challenger Series, IEM Tournament, & Curse Renamed

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With the new season on the horizon, Riot has confirmed their new Challenger Series (CS) format that “better mirrors the LCS.” More below.

-The Challenger Series (CS) will be changing to a new format that better mirrors the LCS with a six team league with eight weeks of competition (including three weeks of qualifiers).
-The 3rd and 4th place teams from the Expansion Tournament will secure pre-qualified spots in the 2015 Spring Challenger Series.
-CS Spring Qualifiers will begin on January 20 and Spring Split kicks off on February 4. The Ranked Teams ladder lock date for Spring Qualifiers will be January 12, 2015 at noon local time (CEST/PST) for EU and NA. The ladder will not reset before this date.

Back in September, we shared some of the considerations and definite changes coming to the Challenger Series. We’ve heard the feedback from the community, players and teams. After listening to feedback, we are ready to share key details and adjustments coming to Challenger next season.


2015 Challenger Series

The 2015 Challenger Series will be a six team, double round-robin league plus playoffs over an eight week period, with three weeks of qualifiers. There will be two splits, Spring and Summer, similar to the LCS. The regular season will be five weeks long with a dedicated broadcast show on Wednesday.

As you may remember from our September update, we’re making this format change to better prepare Challenger teams for the LCS by more closely matching its schedule and format. It’ll also increase the visibility of participating teams because fans will be able to see them in more consistent matchups from week to week.

Qualifying for the Challenger Series

2015 Spring Expansion Tournament

The Expansion Tournament is in full swing with two teams joining the LCS in NA – we’ve narrowed the field to the final four teams that’ll compete for the final spots in EU LCS. As mentioned during the Expansion Tournament broadcast, the 3rd and 4th place teams from the Expansion Tournament will automatically earn spots to participate in the 2015 Spring Challenger Series. We want to ensure that amateur teams performing at a high level have a consistent path towards the LCS and remain on the competitive radar.
Best of 3 Qualifiers

Last season, we introduced the Play-In with the goal of giving a large number of teams a chance to compete for a spot in the LCS. While we hit our goal, the Best of 1 Play-In format created a lot of uncertainty and randomness that could prevent the best teams from qualifying.

This season, the Play-In phase will be replaced by the Challenger Series Qualifiers, which takes place over three weeks at the beginning of each split. The Spring Qualifiers will feature 16 teams pulled from the Ranked Teams ladder, competing in four brackets of four in Best of 3 (Bo3) matches. The winner of each bracket will join the two pre-qualified teams from the Expansion Tournament to become part of the Spring Challenger Series.
Qualifiers Moving Forward

After Spring, the Challenger Series Qualifiers will only bring in up to two new teams per split.

Here’s how results will affect teams:

-1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams will have an opportunity to enter the LCS.
-4th place team will re-qualify for CS for the following split.
-5th place and 6th place CS team will automatically be placed in the Qualifiers with byes. Because of the unique bracket format, the Challenger Series Qualifiers will pull 10 teams from the Ranked Teams ladder.

With these changes to Qualifiers, we’re hoping to provide better stability for top Challenger talent and making sure teams who did not make it into the LCS are not forced to sprint grind the Ranked Teams ladder.
Important Dates

Season Start Date

Spring Qualifiers will start on January 20 and will wrap up on February 4. CS Spring Split will kick-off on February 17.

Spring Qualifiers Participation

Want to be part of the Challenger Series? The Ranked Teams ladder lock date for Spring Qualifiers will be January 12, 2015 at noon local time (CEST/PST) for EU and NA. The ladder will not reset before this date.
What’s Next?

With the new Challenger Series format and upcoming changes, we’re aiming to provide a better training ground for the next generation of teams to fight for a coveted spot in the LCS. We’ll be sharing more CS information as we get closer to the start of Qualifiers.

The new season of the LCS will kick off on January 22, 2015 and we’ll share more information about the changes coming to the LCS in the new year.
Earlier this weekend, the IEM Cologne concluded. In 1st place, Gambit Gaming, while CLG landed in second. For more information and stream of past and upcoming tournaments can be found at the IEM website.

1st Place:
Gambit Gaming

2nd Place:

IEM Cologne
Source: Twitter
LCS Date: January 22, 2015

Team Curse
And finally, Team Curse will be renaming themselves in 2015. Below is the full conversation on the reasoning and focus from there.
Dear Team Curse Fans,

It is with a heavy heart that I announce that Team Curse will move forward into 2015 without bearing the Curse name. This was a hard decision for us to make, we’ve always been a huge supporter of Riot, the League, and the Team. Despite the change, I still consider Liquid a friend and confidant and we are working to ensure that the name change is as painless as possible for both parties and of course – most importantly the fans. I’m sure there are many questions so I’ll do my best to answer a few of the big ones below:

Why is the name of the team changing?

We want to make it very clear that we are still going to be supporting the team with the same monetary commitment to promote and drive awareness for Curse Voice. Unfortunately we were not able to also continue sponsorship for naming rights of the team. Due to an LCS regulation that only allows you (as a title team sponsor) to work with a single team in this capacity, we were in turn prohibited in working with any other teams on promoting Curse Voice.

Curse Voice is something we’re very passionate about, have spent a lot of resources on, and want to work with as many partners as possible on. We believe in trying to support e-sports and MOBA games in general and as an ecosystem. We’ve had great success integrating with some partners, like Smite, and adding incredible value there to the companies and players we support, so we see just how big and important developing this product can be. The regulation prevented us from having other streamers, who are players under teams in the LCS, from actively promoting Curse Voice, which meant no sponsorship for them, and no promotion for us.

Does this change Curse’s involvement with the team or Liquid?

Yes and no. The team became a separate company earlier this year (one owned, managed and run completely by Liquid and his staff). He continued to work with Curse Inc. on sponsorship activations and in PR capacities. We expect that to continue and have always enjoyed working with Liquid and his staff. We will miss being the “named” team sponsor and obviously feel that brought a lot of good PR and goodwill within the community, but we’ll still keep up with the games and watch them play from the Curse office!

What will Curse focus on now as it relates to the League community?

This is very important as there have been questions about this in the past and even recently. At Curse, we always want to look forward, and we always want to be #1 in anything we do. As a company we are always pushing ourselves to be the best that we can and to create the best products for the community and for our own use. For us, that’s Curse Voice. We are working very hard to make the absolute best experience in VoIP for gamers. In the coming months, we’re adding clan support, group chat, and several other features that will help establish Curse Voice as the ultimate community platform for gamers.

What will the team be called after Curse?

Liquid will continue to compete and operate the team moving into the 2015 season with all the same players and staff and will be sharing his specific plans in early January. Please continue to show the players and team your support as you have been for the past few years under the Curse name. I will always remember hosting the team at my house a few months when we first started and all of the wonderful memories from the last few years, the ups and downs, the close wins, and everything in between. Thank you all for the great memories, and please keep joining us while we create new ones!

Enjoy the Game,

Hubert Thieblot CEO, Curse

December 23, 2014
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