Philippine League of Legends experienced a drought in 2017 without the pro-level tournament alternatives beside the official Pro Gaming Series.
2017 saw no new iteration of the Mineski Pro Gaming League, a long-time multi-game tournament that concluded its 8th season in October 2016. Professional LoL teams in the PH are left with an abundance of downtime with only the PGS to look forward to.
Garena Philippines' PGS currently only allows eight teams per split in their tournament format. This is the official PH national league, with results bearing impact on the competitors’ international LoL prospects. Winners of the PGS each split have a chance to break out of the SEA region into larger tournaments held by LoL developer, Riot Games.
The PGS currently runs from January to about July or August each year depending on the schedule. This means that if a team fails to make it out of the SEA region, they are in off-season as early as September, and only one team from the Philippines gets to represent the country in the two SEA tournaments across the year.
The competing teams in the PGS are lucky enough to have around eight months of guaranteed tournament matches once they secure a tournament slot. However, this leaves the unlucky teams who were unable to qualify for the PGS to look for tournaments elsewhere.
"To be honest, we would have preferred to have other professional tournaments this year," Raphael Gancayco , IPT Owner, said. "This year was super light on tournaments especially with TNC dropping the pro level tournaments as well. And a lot of other pro teams have basically not been doing anything for months."
The lack of pro-level tournaments for LoL in both MPGL and the TNC Esports Cup is a blow to competitive League. Professional and semi-professional teams, especially those who were unable to qualify for the PGS are essentially in stasis until the PGS season starts anew.
The local scene desperately needs new organizers to bring fresh tournaments for PH League of Legends.
The Garena Factor
Garena Philippines does not have any strict restrictions on whether or not other PH-based companies can hold their own LoL tournaments.
The only limitations on such events usually only come from the side of the event organizers that expressly prohibit the participation of professional teams, meaning any team that has qualified for the Pro Gaming Series. For the most part, this has given the teams not included in Garena’s annual Top 8 a chance to play against other competitive teams.
Garena is open to such events provided that they do not interfere with the professional teams' commitments to their PGS matches, and any official international event that may happen concurrently.
2017 was a big year for international Dota 2 tournaments. International organizers and sponsors focused their efforts on The Manila Masters 2017, HP Omen, andAsus ROG Masters.
This is a factor to consider as to why there was a stunning lack of major League tournaments in the Philippines.
PH League's Future
The future of PH League will benefit from the introduction of new professional level tournaments for 2018. Investors need to be aware of the current most popular game in the world that managed to fill the entirety of the Bird's Nest Arena in Beijing China, for the 2017 League of Legends World Championship final. Dota 2 has had its MoA Arena premier tournaments, why can’t LoL have the same?