League of Legends: First Look at the LEC’s Newest Teams

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League of Legends: First Look at the LEC’s Newest Teams

The first week of the LEC is wrapped up, and the standings are already different than many expected. This year four new teams have joined the league and show varying degrees of strength and success. Two notable names, SK Gaming and Origen, return to the scene and look to redeem themselves. Excel Esports and Rogue are new organizations to the league and are hungry to prove themselves.

Expectations for each of these teams was different leading into the first two days of competition. Many considered these teams to be either in the middle of the pack or towards the bottom. Through two days of competition, it's much easier to see where these teams stand. It's still early to make any bold statements, but this first look is essential to predict how these teams will perform and how far they can go.

SK Gaming: 1W-1L

SK Gaming came out swinging in their debut match against Fnatic. The old rivalry was rekindled when the returning SK Gaming defeated the former Worlds finalist in a dominating fashion. SK Gaming was smashing the game from the beginning, getting ahead because of great ganks from Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek and exceptional skirmishing from the team. This game had unfortunate technical issues that resulted in a complete match remake.

This didn’t phase SK at all though. This time the game was quite even for much of the game. The early game had much less action, but SK still pushed ahead. The mid game was rough for SK though, as Fnatic had some good macro play and was able to stop SK’s snowball. But once SK was able to take the Baron, they quickly closed out the game, making a huge statement.

Their second match versus Misfits went much worse. The Misfits super team dominated every part of the map from the beginning, and SK completely fell apart. SK Gaming’s ADC player, Juš “Crownshot” Marušič, couldn’t even farm for much of the game due to Steven “Hans Sama” Liv’s oppressive Lucian and immense jungle pressure from Nubar “Maxlore” Sarafian. All of SK’s lanes lost early on, and Selfmade was unable to gain any advantages or relieve pressure. It became a bloodbath, and SK was helpless to stop Misfits from taking everything they wanted.

Origen: 1W-1L

Origen is a fan-favorite team, because of their legacy and the staff inside the organization. They clearly have high ambitions but show they have a way to go. Their two games this weekend were against G2 Esports and Fnatic, two titans of Europe.

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The match with G2 didn’t go well at all. G2 had an intriguing high damage, pick composition that snowballed hard and effectively. Origen was able to play the laning phase well for about 10 minutes, exerting pressure without giving up major advantages. After this, G2 ramped up the tempo considerably and took Origen off guard. They grouped up regularly and instantly killed anyone hit by Luka “Perkz” Perković’s Sleepy Trouble Bubbles. Once Origen fell behind in vision and pressure, they didn’t have a chance to claw back the game.

In Origen’s match against Fnatic, it looked as though they would fall as they did against G2. Their top lane and bottom lane were behind their counterparts, and the only lane ahead was mid.

But that didn’t deter Jonas “Kold” Andersen and Erlend “Nukeduck” Våtevik Holm from putting their team on their backs. They dominated skirmishes, even winning a two-versus-three fight. When it came to team fights, these two were instrumental for damage to decimate Fnatic. The team’s team fighting was stellar, and after they had a good advantage, they never let it go. They smashed Fnatic and showed they’re a true threat.

Excel Esports: 1W-1L

In their first match versus Splyce, Excel had a rough game, but they weren’t completely dominated. They had gained advantages in all their lanes, but Marc “Caedrel” Robert Lamont gave over a few kills to even things out. Despite giving these kills, they usually at least amounted to a kill for his teammates or an objective, like a tower or Dragon.

During the mid and late game, Excel struggled to succeed in team fights and skirmishes, which eventually led to their downfall. Multiple members got caught out during this volatile point, which essentially donated two Barons to Splyce. They managed to drag the game out to 38 minutes but couldn’t mount the comeback after Splyce took their second Baron Nashor.

Their second game went much better. This time up against Rogue, they seemed to be more coherent. Though they did stumble in the early game, Caedrel was able to have a ton of control over the map after some fights went his way. Excel’s lanes all performed well and did their jobs. Their draft allowed them to push their advantage easily by starting team fights and it made it hard for Rogue to make plays. They killed Baron Nashor at around 26 minutes, which allowed them to win the game mere minutes later.

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Rogue: 0W-2L

Rogue is at the bottom of the list and unfortunately at the bottom of the standings. Their games against Misfits Gaming and Excel Esports went horribly, and they showed many weaknesses.

Their first match versus Misfits displayed numerous problems, primarily with regards to laning and team fighting. Their bottom lane, Martin “HeaQ” Kordmaa, and Kim “Wadid” Bae-in struggled heavily to survive in their lane, especially with Misfits placing heavy pressure on them as a team. Even with the heavy bot lane emphasis from their opponents, Rogue was unable to gain any significant leads in other lanes. This led to a crazy Draven snowball from Hans Sama and a 10k gold difference shortly after 20 minutes. With such an enormous lead, Rogue couldn’t do much to keep their Nexus standing and lost their first LEC game.

Their second game didn’t go too much better for them. Excel outclassed them overall, and Rogue made a good deal of mistakes. Their draft felt lacking; they didn’t get many power picks, didn’t have any solid engage options and had little lane pressure. Their skirmishing wasn’t very good, and they ended up giving up advantages through river and jungle fights.

Closing Thoughts

SK Gaming and Origen appear to be the strongest in this group of newcomers. Both teams defeated Fnatic, who were expected to dominate after their 2018 World Championship performance. Excel and Rogue are likely to struggle during this split as they develop their team and players. All the teams are definitely behind teams like G2 and Misfits though and will have to improve to seriously challenge the top of the ladder.

Many of these teams have a mix of new talent with experienced veterans. All the teams show shaky early games against some opponents they will have to shore up. In such an early-mid game focused meta this is extremely important not to be completely snowballed on.

It’s only the first week, so there’s a ton of time for these teams to improve. These are merely starting points, and things are sure to heat up as the season goes on. Make sure to keep up with all the action by watching the LEC live on ESTNN TV and following us on Twitter for more League of Legends news, articles, opinions and more.


Image Via: LoL Esports Flickr

Avatar of Brandon Sturak
Brandon Sturak
Brandon is a writer and editor for ESTNN with a passion for esports. He writes about League of Legends and esports generally, providing analysis and commentary on both. He is a founding member of Niagara University Esports, while being the previous mid laner and Head Coach for the NU Esports LoL team as well. Twitter @GhandiLoL