Riot Games have promoted Vietnam to an independent region and awarded it a guaranteed slot for the League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational and World Championship Play-In, the game dev announced Wednesday.
The Vietnam Championship Series will no longer qualify into the Garena Pro League, previously a six-region league that hosted countries across Southeast Asia. Over the last two years, Vietnamese teams routinely saw success in the Garena Pro League and some of those teams, such as the GIGABYTE Marines, even saw success internationally. Riot Games made the change to reward the Vietnamese region for their success and provide a better opportunity for the other Southeast Asian regions to qualify for the Mid-Season Invitational and World Championship.
The Mid-Season Invitational, Rift Rivals and the World Championship will both be reformatted to account for the change. The Mid-Season Invitational will expand to 14 teams (previously 13). Rift Rivals will feature a new competition between Vietnam, Turkey and the Commonwealth of Independent States; the rest of Southeast Asia will remain grouped with Oceania and Japan. The World Championship will stay at 24 teams and award Vietnam the second spot previously given to its non-major regions.
The move also comes after 11 teams in the Garena Pro League petitioned Riots' decision to award Vietnam two slots in the league. That decision came after the success of the GIGABYTE Marines at the 2017 Mid-Season Invitational, which allowed Vietnamese teams GBM and Young Generation to capture the two qualification spots for the 2017 World Championship.