Let me just make this point very up front and quickly. I %100 support having the import rule and am fully against taking it away.
The League of Legends Import Rule essentially limits the number of players that can come from another region and be on a single team. Players can earn residency after so many years within the region and after that point won’t count toward the import rule. By having this rule it forces teams to have players from their region and not just try and buy the best players they can from all over the world.
It was brought to light early last week that pretty much every LCS team owner is in favor of getting rid of the rule. One this is a professional league of legends rule not just for NA. Two doing this will kill the LCS in the long run. Many people including players, analysts, and commentators have all put their opinion out there for everyone to see, and while there are definitely memes going around most have shown no interest in taking the rule away.
What would getting rid of the import rule really do for the LCS? Well, the people in favor of getting rid of it say that it would help the LCS have a better chance in international play and while that may be true there is no guarantee it even does. While yes there could definitely be conversations that the skill level in NA might be lower than around the world bringing in players from all over the world with the NA team set-ups could easily still fail.
Let’s say somehow a NA team manages to buy all the best players from around the world and wins Worlds. Would anyone care or even consider it a North American team? Likely no. Plus the LCS would be very likely to lose fans. Getting to know and watch players go from solo que to the LCS is a big reason people care for players. Within this year even just seeing a lot of new faces from NA many people feel less connected to the league, so what do you think would happen if you brought in full teams of players that have nothing to do with NA?
These comments are also coming at quite possibly the worst possible time. The LCS just this year has finally taken the chance of developing newer less experienced players in the hope that they can become stars. So after fighting doing so for so long once it finally happens all owners say they would be in favor of getting rid of the import rule? Obviously within doing so essentially all of that development goes away.
Yes, you may get a really good NA team because someone is willing to dish out the money but what happens when other players develop more from not being in NA and you get outclassed again? Are teams going to be willing to continue to throw money at players every season? Or will it be a one-time thing and we end up only being able to buy average players from other regions? To me the answer is very clear, I understand the want for a really great North American team to hopefully do well at Worlds but I don’t think getting rid of the import rule will really help that much in the long run.
What it will do however is dash the hopes of any development for NA players. The hopeful grind for so many would become almost useless and we would likely rely on buying players from other regions for almost every spot in the LCS. I also think that doing that will kill any interest in the LCS from fans. I really hope we don’t find ourselves getting rid of the import rule but I guess only time will tell.
In Other News
The second half of spring is about to kick off with Week 4 of the LCS, check out our LCS Power Rankings to see where we think the teams line up. If you missed Week 3 you can also check out of LCS recap for some of the top stories from the week.