tsm evil geniuses ggs logos crossed out
Credit: Jaxon

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Here’s why TSM, Evil Geniuses and Golden Guardians left the LCS

TSM, Evil Geniuses, and the Golden Guardians are out of the LCS for the 2024 season and League of Legends esports fans who weren’t plugged into the news during the offseason might be wondering what happened.

2024 marks the first year of the LCS as an eight-team league after the departure of multiple organizations, including one of the biggest names in the region. The LCS had a brutally bad 2023 when it came to viewership, and made multiple changes as a result, including the introduction of a new commissioner.

When the 2024 LCS Spring Split starts, viewers will find a different LCS. The league is returning to its weekend schedule with matches on Saturday and Sunday; no more LCS on a Wednesday afternoon. More significant is the removal of two franchises, with only eight teams remaining in the league. Here are all the teams that are missing from the LCS in 2024 and what happened to them.

Why isn’t Evil Geniuses in the LCS?

Evil Geniuses left the LCS after missing out on Worlds 2023, dissolving its franchise.

Ahead of the 2020 Spring Split, Evil Geniuses acquired the LCS slot formerly owned by Echo Fox. The team signed high-profile players for its roster, including former World Champion Bae “Bang” Jun-sik and former TSM jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen. On its first split in the LCS, Evil Geniuses finished second in the regular season and third in playoffs.

It wasn’t until 2022 that Evil Geniuses found serious domestic success. After winning the Spring season, the team qualified for MSI 2022, its first international appearance. Later in the year, the team made it to Worlds 2022. In 2023, Evil Geniuses’ performance was average.

In November 2023, Riot Games confirmed that Evil Geniuses would not be participating in the upcoming LCS season. At the time, the developer cited Evil Geniuses’ public issues as the reason for its departure. Evil Geniuses pushed back against this in an interview with the Jacob Wolf Report, where the founder of the organization’s parent company stated it was dissatisfied with Riot Games’ management of the LCS product. Riot was looking to buy franchises out of the LCS and came to terms with Evil Geniuses on a deal. Golden Guardians exited the LCS in a similar way, but TSM was not a part of this.

This follows months of allegations and reports of poor working conditions for the staff and unfair treatment of players, both in and out of its League of Legends roster. Evil Geniuses has been significantly dialing back its esports efforts, which has seen the organization drop its Dota 2 roster and strip down its world championship Valorant roster. While there have been questions about whether Evil Geniuses might be on its deathbed, its parent company has been reiterating its commitment to esports and Valorant in particular.

Did Golden Guardians leave the LCS?

Golden Guardians left competitive League of Legends and shut down its LCS franchise in 2023 after Worlds.

Golden Guardians joined the LCS in 2018 as one of the new brands in the franchise era. Owned by the NBA Golden State Warriors, the organization ran a small operation venturing into only a handful of titles outside of League of Legends.

In six years, the only notable results for Golden Guardians came in 2023, starting with the organization finishing second-place finish in the 2023 LCS Spring Split and earning a spot in MSI 2023. After finishing second in the 2023 Summer Split, GGS earned enough points to qualify for the Worlds Qualifying Series. Team BDS from the LEC won the series and claimed the final spot in Worlds 2023.

After having the best year in its history, Golden Guardians was ready for even better results in 2024. The staff and players were reportedly shocked when Riot Games and the Golden State Warriors terminated the partnership agreement, resulting in the entire team being laid off and the players becoming free agents without any hope of being signed. Similar to Evil Geniuses, Golden Guardians stated that its decision to exit the LCS had nothing to do with internal issues.

chris luck on evil geniuses at the international 2023
Evil Geniuses has been cutting its esports teams and players regularly, including its Dota 2 team

“We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to all of our fans, players, and staff for their dedication over the last five years. It is because of the hard work and commitment of our players, coaches, and staff, and the incredible support of our fans, that the Golden Guardians were able to achieve so much during this exciting time,” the organization said on its website.

What happened to TSM?

TSM sold its LCS franchise in 2023 and stated it intends to acquire a franchise spot in a different league.

At every international League of Legends event, without fail, fans will chant TSM’s name. Formed in 2011, TSM has been a constant of LoL esports. It’s the only organization that was able to qualify for the first seven World Championships and domestically, TSM enjoyed remarkable success with seven titles under its belt. But after 2018, TSM would never be the same.

TSM had grown used to domestic dominance but once the LCS adopted the franchise model, the team faced a reality check. The opponents suddenly had better players and more resources, becoming more competitive overnight. TSM finally returned to the international stage in 2020 after winning the LCS Summer Split. This would be the only title for TSM in the modern LCS.

Fans grew frustrated with TSM’s mediocre results and so did the owners. On May 2023, TSM’s owner Andy “Reginald” Dinh stated that TSM would be moving to a different region, looking for a higher competitive level. TSM was confirmed to be out of the LCS in September 2023 after transferring its franchise to Shopify Rebellion

Steven Rondina is a long-time gamer who loves the Persona series, but not quite as much as he loves all things Pokemon. He has a background in writing about video games, gaming culture, and combat sports.