Set to begin on Jan. 19, the European League Championship Series will be run in a new, two-group format. Early on Saturday, the groups were snake-drafted between the teams, industry sources tell ESPN, with captains G2 Esports and H2K Gaming starting off the picks for group A and B, respectively; G2 and H2K were chosen as captains because they had the most championship points in EU LCS 2016.
In group A, G2 Esports will face off with Fnatic, Misfits, Giants Gaming and Team ROCCAT. Meanwhile, in group B, H2K Gaming will match up against Splyce, Team Vitality, Unicorns of Love and Origen. Within their groups, the teams will compete in best-of-threes in double round-robin format and will also compete in best-of-threes in single round-robin format against the other group's teams.
G2 Esports started off the draft by picking Splyce to be in the second slot of group B. Second, H2K Gaming and Splyce picked Fnatic and Misfits to be in group A. That was followed by Fnatic and Misfits picking Team Vitality and Unicorns of Love to be in group B. Lastly, Team Vitality and Unicorns of Love picked Giants Gaming and Team ROCCAT to be in group A, with Origen, the remaining team, to be in group B.
The 2017 format change to include groups and best-of-threes comes after Europe tried an experimental format in the summer of 2016. Last year saw a double round-robin between all 10 teams, without groups, in best-of-two formats with losses, wins and ties counting for different numbers of points. The new 2017 format is similar to that of China's League Pro League.