Riot Games announced rule changes to the League of Legends Championship Series today in an effort to prevent players from competing in the LCS without first qualifying for the tournament.
One of the rules added to the LCS rulebook states that "...no team may have on their roster more than two players at a time from any single starting lineup of a different team that played in either region of the LCS and/or aspect of the Challenger series (including play-in) in the last two completed Splits." The addition of this rule ensures that the individuals playing in the LCS are the same individuals who qualified for it, and stops a team owner from overhauling their team roster to include more than two players from different teams who didn't qualify.
The rule comes in the wake of all five League of Legends players of qualified eSports team Lemondogs leaving to join different teams. Despite the qualified players no longer being on the team, Lemondogs still held a place in the LCS. The organization then picked up five new players, which led to confusion and speculation from the League of Legends community that the team Lemondogs was bringing into the LCS would in fact be a team of individuals who never went through the qualification process. The existing rules do not make clear whether the players or the teams own the spot in the LCS.
It was announced this evening that Lemondogs will not participate in the 2014 LCS Spring Split after it failed to produce a team roster that met the LCS' new requirements.
One of the other rules that has been introduced aims to stop players who didn't make the LCS cut from buying a team that has qualified. While this has yet to have happened, and it is uncommon for players to also be the owners of their team, it is an existing loophole. The rule appears to be a precaution against relegated players buying qualified teams and placing themselves in said teams so as to compete in the LCS.
"We do not want to marginalize a team's efforts and success in the Promotion matches simply because another owner has deep pockets and wants to buy back into the LCS," the rule's rationale reads.
The complete list of new rules and Riot Games' rationale behind them can be read here.
With additional reporting from John Funk.