Riot Games to host own PH League of Legends tournament

Riot Games announced that it will be holding a Philippines-based tournament for League of Legends, as it hopes to reignite the country’s esports scene regarded as “dead” by many of its critics.

Empyrean Cup boasts of a P1-million prize pool and the finals will be held during the Esports and Gaming Summit (ESGS) at the World Trade Center this November, ESGS announced Tuesday evening.

According to tournament rules, participants should be Philippine residents. Any gender is welcome to join “as long as all participants meet eligibility requirements.” Registration will end on September 11 or if “valid number of registrants reaches a certain number, whichever comes first.”

In a Facebook live on League of Legends – Philippines’ Facebook page, Riot Games Philippines country manager Joel Guzman said the Empyrean Cup will be the first of many esports tournaments Riot will be holding in the Philippines after it recently reacquired the publishing rights to the game.

“The Empyrean Cup will be the first of many tournaments here in the Philippines, because we want to reignite the [LoL] esports scene here in the Philippines. We are fine-tuning plans for a bigger esports ecosystem which allows a path for players to compete,” Guzman said.

Early this year, Riot Games acquired the publishing rights to its flagship multiple online battle arena (MOBA) in the Philippines, after Garena held on to publishing rights to the game for 12 years.

Riot Games’ holding publishing rights meant equal access to in-game loot already available for its players outside of Southeast Asia, and a wider range of competitiveness. Riot Games has also mounted its own Philippine server to ease ping and internet concerns.

The Philippines’ League of Legends esports roots trace back to the late 2000s to the early 2010s where big teams such as Mineski, Team Pacific, and Liyab Esports emerged. Some prominent names in the LoL scene such as Jon Lance “Kaigu” Hernandez and Eric “Exosen” Gubatan have moved on to its mobile version, Wild Rift.

Philippine national team Sibol in 2021 nabbed a silver medal in the 2022 Southeast Asian Games held in Hanoi, Vietnam, after succumbing to the host country in the grand finals of the tournament. (ABS-CBN News)