Riot may up residency requirement to four years, sources say

Chae "Piglet" Gwang-jin and Kim "Fenix" Jae-hoon Provided by Riot Games

Update: Riot has confirmed the new rule change as of Aug. 1, 2016.

League of Legends developer and tournament organizer Riot Games is currently discussing a global rule change to its competitive league. The change would require nonresident players to play for a minimum of four years, instead of the current two required, to gain residency status, sources close to several of the teams involved in Riot's leagues tell ESPN. Riot notified League Championship Series owners of the proposed rule change last week.

If enacted, players currently defined as nonresidents will have to play a total of four years in their new regions to count as a residents in the league. The rule change would come as part of an update to Riot's interregional movement policy, which was originally implemented in September 2014 with the intention of limiting the number of players competing in North America who were originally from other parts of the world.

Only 10 foreign players are exempt from the rule change: Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg, Lucas "Santorin" Tao Kilmer Larsen, Shin "Seraph" Woo-yeong, Marcel "dexter" Feldkamp, Maurice "Amazing" Stückenschneider, Ham "Lustboy" Jang-sik, Yu "XiaoWeiXiao" Xian, Shin "Helios" Dong-jin, Mitch "Krepo" Voorspoels and Jang "Keane" Lae-young. Each of these players declared their residency as North America when asked by Riot Games at the end of last year.

Players who are directly affected by the change and are within one split of qualifying as residents under Riot's previous rule include Cloud9's Jung "Impact" Eon-yeong and Lee "Rush" Yoon-jae, Team Liquid's Chae "Piglet" Gwang-jin and Kim "FeniX" Jae-hun, H2k Gaming's Yoo "Ryu" Sang-ook and all the remaining Korean players who moved to China during the famed "Korean Exodus."

Without the change, all of those players would have been able to declare their current homes as their competitive residence, allowing their teams to import more foreign talent next spring. At the moment, each team is only allowed two players from other regions.

The move for the original interregional lock came after an influx of foreign talent arrived in North America in 2014. Players from around the world began receiving offers to move during the 2013 offseason with one team, LMQ, bringing five Chinese players to North America and qualifying for the LCS in its first split. That summer prompted Riot to enact the regional lock, allowing teams to have only two foreign players on their lineups.

Riot Games did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication of this article.