League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) announced some key changes to the 2023 season. Starting in the upcoming Spring split, which begins in Jan 2023, playoffs will be in a double elimination format, and that teams will be able to integrate their rosters with their CL teams.
Six teams in playoffs, but this time, it’s double elimination
LCK Playoffs, since 2012, have always been single elimination. 2015 was the first time where five teams moved onto the playoffs, and that number increased to six in 2021. However, the single elimination format has always remained.
Starting from the 2023 LCK Spring playoffs, its format will change to double elimination. Six teams will qualify for the playoffs: 1st and 2nd place teams will directly move onto round 2. 3rd to 6th place teams will play in round 1, where the 3rd place team will choose either 5th or 6th team, while the 4th place team will play the remaining team. Round 1 winners will move on, while the losers will get knocked out.
The double elimination bracket will start when there are four teams remaining. The 1st place team of the regular split will have the choice to choose one of the two R1 winners, while the 2nd place team will play the remaining team. The two winning teams will move onto the upper bracket [round 3], while the two losing teams will play each other in the lower bracket.
The R3 winners will directly seed into the grand finals, while the losing team of the R3 upper bracket will drop down to the lower bracket to face the winners of the R3 lower bracket in round 4 [also known as Lower Semis]. The grand finals will take place the day after the lower semifinals match, with R3 winners gaining advantages such as game 1 side selection. All playoff matches will be in a Bo5 format.
The LCK and LCK CL will operate under integrated rosters in 2023
For the duration of the 2023 season, the LCK and the LCK CL will operate under integrated rosters. This means that the process of calling up/sending down players are gone, allowing them to operate much more flexibly.
LCK and the LCK CL will retain their respective guaranteed minimum salaries of 60,000,000 KRW [44,786.98 USD] and 20,000,000 KRW [14,928.99 USD]. Each team must pay at least LCK’s guaranteed minimum salary to at least five of their players on their roster, while they must pay at least LCK CL’s guaranteed minimum salary to the rest. Should a player not receiving LCK’s minimum salary start for the team, the team must calculate additional salary depending on the number of matches played.
In order to give more stage time to young prospects, the minimum player age in the LCK CL has been adjusted from 16 to 15 years old. Furthermore, both the regular split and the playoffs will operate under the same format as the LCK. These changes will be in effect starting from the 2023 LCK Spring split.