The annual League of Legends Iberian Cup has been announced for 2022 with significant changes to the format.
The Iberian Cup is a ProAm tournament intended to give amateur teams a chance to face the best Spanish teams in a fun competition. The cup will feature all 20 teams from the SuperLiga 1st and 2nd Divisions as well as twelve other amateur circuit teams and an open qualifier. The tournament has previously featured teams from Portugal, Italy and Spain. However, it will only feature sides of the latter this time around.
Rather than setting up a group stage that feeds on knockouts, the Iberian Cup will instead begin immediately with knockouts, much like in traditional sports.
Spanish Iberian Cup format explained
Most rounds will be played using the best of three sets, with the draft style likely to be curveball for many. Rather than using a traditional pick/ban system every game, the Iberian Cup will use a “fearless” draft mode, preventing teams from using champions they’ve played in previous maps. This would mean that a full three-game series will see each team forced to choose 15 different champions.
The semi-finals and grand final will also use this style, however, in best-of-five versus best-of-three matchups. This would mean that teams would potentially use 25 different champions throughout a series. To add to the excitement, if a best-of-five is to reach a fifth and final game, the draft will transition to a blind pick, preventing teams from seeing each other’s champions before the game loads.
The 2022 Iberian Cup will take place from October 17 to November 19. It will include a LAN final at the PortAventura Convention Center, a venue located within the PortAventura entertainment park in Catalonia, Spain.
Have fearless drafts ever been used in professional gaming?
Perhaps surprisingly, the Iberian Cup will not be the first tournament to apply such unusual draft rules. The LDL, China’s second division, recently changed its usual draft pick, the best of three regular season matches, to add the “intrepid” pick/ban rules. The new format encourages developing players to experiment with different champions and playstyles.
Blind picking in the final card of a best-of-five series is also not an entirely new concept, having been used between 2012 and 2014 in the OGN Korean Champions (later becoming the LCK). This quirk was even partly responsible for the most famous moment in the game’s competitive history when Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok defeated Ryu “Ryu” Sang-wook in a Zed vs. Zed mirror match in baffling fashion.