LCS Academy now granted an extra import slot reserved for emerging region players

The morning of Wednesday, Nov. 12th, Riot Games announced the LACS is able to field two imports, one from any other region, and one extra from a qualifying "emerging region." The LACS historically has only been allowed one import because the point is to develop local talent and not just to collect talent from elsewhere.

However, going forward, the Academy can now field one additional import as long as their residency is Turkey, Brazil, Latin America, Oceania, or the Commonwealth of Independent States. These regions often have standout stars, but because of the relative strength of their region, it is difficult for orgs to take risks on having them be either their sole Academy import or give them a slot on the LCS org directly.

One of the only exceptions is TSM's Sergen "Broken Blade" Çelik, who is the first Turkish resident to play in the LCS, and skipped the Academy level entirely. Most other players of his caliber aren't given a shot at an opportunity here. Now, star players from these regions have a better bargaining tool to join NA. 

▲ Image Source Riot Games

While NA needs to focus on local player development, this rule is helpful for all regions involved, as it raises the ceiling for those regions, increasing incentive for players to grind and improve, and it raises the available talent pool for NA to scout from.

Players like Felipe "brTT" Gonçalves, Jackson "Pabu" Pavone, Mykhailo "Kira" Harmash, and Berkay "Zeitnot" Aşıkuzun, and many more have a much easier pathway into the Academy system. They still take a full import slot at the LCS level, but have a new proving grounds available. 

▲ Image Source Riot Games

With free agency right around the corner, look out for some big names in emerging regions in the mix to join the Academy system. Finally, note that the VCS, Sea Tour, and Japan are not included as emerging regions in this clause. It's possible they're considered too strong, or that the region itself did not agree to participate. 

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