LCS teams talk about Import Rules with Riot Games
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February 19, 2021

LCS teams talk about Import Rules with Riot Games

In recent weeks, content creator and interviewer Travis Gafford investigated reports stating that LCS teams allegedly asked Riot Games to remove or improve import rules for League of Legends esports. More information regarding the restrictions came out during the LCS Mini Media Day, wherein organizations delved deeper into the issue.

LCS Import Rules

Import rules or restrictions are set in place by Riot Games across all League of Legends esports regions. The interregional movement policy (IMP) also aims to provide fair competition and permit healthy movement throughout all regions. These rules limit how many players teams can acquire from outside their region. Currently, the LCS only allows two import slots and one from the LCS Academy.

However, not all regions are the same, each with its own competitive standard and foundational difference across individual games. In past years, the LCS fell short compared to other stronger regions like the LEC and LCK. In 2020, North American teams struggled and didn’t even make it past the Worlds Championship stage. The year before that, only one team advanced into the semifinals. Since Worlds’ inception, not one North American team ever won the grand tournament – or even became a runner-up. Unlike the LCK, LPL and LEC, which see a stream of consistent climbing talented teams all placing high or winning the championship, the LCS always falls below the line because of the smaller region’s lack of talent.

The restrictions may promote native growth, but it’s taken so long for it to come to fruition. And there’s a lot of reasons why it should be improved or removed. For example, lifting restrictions could mean lower expenses for importing players from other regions and a better chance of succeeding internationally. It could also be easier for organizations to construct highly competitive rosters and shift the global talent pool to level the LCS playing field. Overall, improving the IMP will help develop the competitive ecosystem in many ways.

Travis Gafford on Esports

Travis Gafford interviewed organizations a couple of weeks ago and reported they asked Riot Games to lift restrictions. He claimed that organizations are in contact with Riot about the IMP. Additionally, when Travis tried to reach out to them for some comments, he was declined.

LCS Teams

During the LCS Mini Media Day, Travis Gafford helped more information become public regarding the import rule. Multiple organizations were asked about the IMP and if they spoke with Riot Games to remove or improve it. Although nothing was fully revealed due to the privacy of the matter, some gave their piece.

“We believe that talent is universal,” Parth Naidu, General Manager at TSM said. “Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how much we invest into coaching or infrastructures, facilities and performance programs if we dont have access to the same number of talent as other major regions. We do see some sort of changes in the import rule to help TSM level the playing field a bit.”

Team Liquid Co-CEO Steve Arhancet agreed with the alteration of the import rule. He stated that it “would never advocate for a change in the import rule if it was coupled with an obligation on behalf of the teams to do something to cultivate talent hand-in-hand.” Additionally, Evil Geniuses CEO Nicole LaPointe Jameson was “open to collaborating with Riot Games or other teams on opportunities to keep on bringing in top talent, and maintain and grow talent.”

Now confirmed that change is probable, the LCS may receive one of the biggest import rule changes. It’s likely that Riot Games won’t remove the IMP but instead shift the regulations to be more encompassing. Overall, it’s a major resolution for everyone and might put the LCS on top in the coming years.

Written by Jay Hunter


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