League of Legends: Introducing Skill to Side Selection

Guild of Guardians
The new season of LoL Esports is almost upon us! With every new season, comes opportunities for us to improve the competitive experience for our pro teams and deliver a captivating show to our fans. This year, we’re excited to introduce a fresh approach to side selection to the Regular Season of our APAC leagues, the Pacific Championship Series (PCS) and Vietnam Championship Series (VCS) - a 1v1 Showdown. Through this, we are hoping to not only bring more of an element of skill to side selection but also provide a fresh and exciting experience for our fans at the same time!


Skill-Based Side Selection

Getting to pick the red or blue side in LoL Esports has an impact on a team’s strategy. It determines whether a team gets to make the first champion pick, place strategic bans, or plan counter tactics. It is a unique aspect of our sport that always adds a layer of discussion from analysts and fans.

Traditionally, the higher seed gets to pick their side, but in 2024, we wanted to explore a skill based methodology - akin to a jumpball in basketball - for teams to fight for the rights to pick their side, allowing them more control over their fate. After contemplating different options, we ultimately decided on testing the 1v1 Showdown.


1v1 Showdown Rules
  • The PCS and the VCS will be trialing the 1v1 Showdown differently:
  • PCS 1v1 will decide the right-to-side selection of Game 1 of a Best-of-3 Games series
  • VCS 1v1 will decide the right-to-side selection of Game 3 of a Best-of-3 Games series
The match will be played in the Custom game mode “Showdown” with the following rules:
  • Players will take turns to ban three champions each
  • During the Pick Phase, both players will get to pick any champion, even champions already picked by their opponent, as long as it's not banned
  • The winner is determined once any of the following conditions are met:
    • First to 2 kills;
    • First to destroy the enemy's turret;
  • Sudden Death is activated if the match runs beyond 7 minutes. During Sudden Death, the winner will be decided once any of the following conditions are met:
    • First to kill;
    • First to destroy the enemy's turret;
    • A Ring of Fire will begin to close in on the players every few seconds. If a player is defeated by the Ring of Fire, their opponent will be declared the winner
We would like to stress that while we feel confident in this skill based methodology for side selection - this is still a regional test and we will not see this offering at global events or other regions at this point. We will closely monitor the impact of this offering on both the competitive and entertainment aspects of our sport, and feedback from our fans, before looking to make adjustments accordingly.

We can’t wait for fans to check out their favorite players competing in this brand-new segment for LoL Esports! Thank you for your support, and stay up to date with the latest news at lolesports.com.