GPL Summer 2017 Update29.07.2017

TL;DR:

  • The GPL will be held in Bangkok, Thailand for the first time 
  • We are making some structural changes to GPL Summer 2017, including giving the VCSA a second seed
  • Following MSI 2017 results, the outcome of GPL Summer 2017 will mean that two teams qualify for Worlds
  • This means that we will now have 6 days of matches instead of 4 due to an expansion in the group stage and a second bracket to determine GPL’s second seed

The 2017 Garena Premier League Summer is heading to Bangkok on August 21st! This year there will be a few changes regarding GPL’s seeding within Worlds, regional seeding within GPL and the overall GPL format. Read on for more details on the event and the structural changes it brings.

GPL is Coming to Bangkok: 

The top teams from SEA’s pro League of Legends esports leagues will meet in Bangkok this summer to prove their strength and determine who will represent the region at the 2017 World Championship. The representatives from the following leagues will be determined in the coming weeks - Indonesia’s LGS, Malaysia’s TLC, Philippine's PGS, Singapore’s SLS, Thailand’s TPL, and Vietnam’s VCSA. Make sure you catch their finals in the coming weeks!

You can catch the event online starting at 11 am local time on August 21st, or live from the 25th - 27th at Muengthai GMM Live House 8th Floor. Stay tuned for more information on tickets!

GPL’s Seeding Within Worlds: 

Earlier this year changes were made to the structure of MSI and Worlds. Ultimately these changes impacted the seeding and structure of international events based on performance. (Read more about that here). As a result of these changes and the GPL representative’s strong performance at MSI, GPL now has two slots for Worlds. The first seed from the GPL will go straight to World’s group stage and the second seed will feed into the play-in alongside the number one seed from other leagues.

Changes to the GPL Format for Summer 2017:

Similar to the spring split, there are changes to the GPL resulting from both regional performance and stronger international integration. These changes are;

  • The second seed VCSA team receiving a slot at the Play-in stage
  • Addition of a second bracket to determine SEA’s second representative

Changes to Seeding Within GPL for Summer 2017: 

As mentioned in the GPL Spring announcement, GPL tournament results will have a stronger impact on the structure of future GPL competitions. Traditionally we, Garena and Riot, review the structure together shortly after each event. In this case we held a second evaluation following SEA’s performance at MSI and the region’s new integration with the international stage. 

These discussions began during the last week of May and went on until our commitment to this new format on June 12th. This evaluation gave us an additional opportunity to reflect on our goals for the GPL and whether we’ve met them. We want to create a fair, diverse, exciting tournament that appropriately reflects SEA’s strength. This last point is more important now as the GPL more deeply integrated to the international stage.

Looking at the 2016 Spring structure, we believed that we had met most of our goals except for the representation of regional strength. Historically, the VCSA has been the dominant league regionally with 3 consecutive GPL wins over a time-span of 1.5 competitive years. The VCSA has also won 4/5 GPL’s since spring split 2015, losing only once to Thailand. This dominant competitive record serves as multiple data points that the VCSA has proven its key role in SEA’s regional strength. 

Why are we making this change now? We believe that the VCSA has performed consistently enough to the degree where a slot at GPL Play-ins for the VCSA runner-up better reflects the strength of regions within SEA, while still balancing the fairness and diversity of the competition. In the spirit of competition and fairness, the VCSA runner up will start from the play-ins alongside 4 champions from other leagues.

In structuring leagues, we always try to balance both diversity and regional strength.  Thailand and Vietnam have proven their consistent strength, and we have modified the seedings during GPL Spring to reflect that.  Though perhaps Vietnam deserved a second slot as early as GPL Spring, there was no meaningful reason for a second slot to be awarded.  In this situation, diversity overruled regional strength.

With the continued strength of the VCSA as a region and the additional second seed at Worlds, a second slot for the VCSA now has meaning.  The GPL region as a whole wants to highlight its strongest teams at Worlds, as an accurate presentation of its strength.  Providing the strongest teams in the region an opportunity to compete seems the fairest way to achieve that.

In the figure below we see the GPL results for the past 5 splits. The VCSA has shown a consistent, high level performance across multiple teams and events. The TPL is the closest to the VCSA in performance however it has not been as dominant. The results for the remaining leagues were more scattered.

Regarding the Timing of our Communications:

In the spirit of collaboration, we aim to keep in contact with the professional teams across SEA and provide them with previews to potential key changes throughout the season in order to receive their feedback (Changes to 10 ban system, changes to GPL Spring). However, we dropped the ball this time as our communication with our pro teams was not comprehensive, leaving some parties informed later than intended. We note that the timing of the announcement was not optimal, however we believe that the structure is the best solution for the region.