The League of Legends European Championship kicks off this weekend on a high note after their representatives’ win at MSI. Some say Europe is the best region in the world right now, but many teams have to step up to live up to this title. Others must prove their worth in such a competitive region and battle for that first place slot. During the off-season, there weren’t many roster changes, but some perceptions changed. These perceptions, along with meta changes, set this split up to be a fascinating one for LEC fans everywhere!
#1 G2 Esports
It’s no surprise to see G2 at the top of this list. They were the overwhelming victors of the Spring Spring post-season and victors of MSI. They defeated Team Liquid in the Finals, as well as an upsurging SKT T1 in Semifinals. Because of these achievements, G2 is undoubtedly the Goliath of the region.
In addition, every one of their players is either the best or among the best in the world. Their solo laners, Caps and Wunder, are known for incredible mechanics and carry performances, while Mikyx and Jankos are great enablers for the team. Even Perkz is a strong player in his new role. G2 will undoubtedly be the team to beat this split, and it will definitely be a challenge to do so.
Origen finished second place last split, and it seems as though they will hold that spot at the beginning of this split. Their victory over Fnatic in the post-season was quite convincing, and though they never took a game off of G2, they are a strong team when compared to the rest of the league.
Their focus lies on strategy and adaptation, rather than pure outskilling the enemies. Kold’s jungle pathing paired with Mithy’s play-making is crucial to setting up and executing on plays throughout the game. Nukeduck is a top-tier mid laner and an exceptional carry force on the team. Their team fighting is fantastic and will be an important strength for them in the Summer Split.
Splyce has typically been a middle of the pack team but made a dramatic surge towards the end of the last split. They blasted right through the cluster of mid-tier teams to challenge Fnatic in round two of the post-season. To get to this point they displayed significant improvement, as individuals and as a team. Placing them in third may seem generous because Fnatic defeated them 3-1, but if Splyce continues their upswing, they will definitely surpass Fnatic.
Kobbe is the primary carry on the team and commands respect. He’s a premier ADC player in the league, and his team sets him up well. Xerxe in known for his innovation in the jungle, and despite having some slumps, his peak performance is terrifying. Their other members are noteworthy, but Kobbe and Xerxe will be the players to watch this split.
Fnatic made their own history last year by making it to the World Championship Finals and challenging Invictus Gaming for the crown. Many believed they would come back to the LEC as the favorites, but their performance last split left much to be desired. They were never really able to threaten G2 and dropped their crucial set to Origen.
Even with that, Fnatic is still a strong team. Rekkles’ Critical Strike ADC meta is returning, and he can surely make up for his lackluster Spring Split. Broxah is a solid rock for the team they can rely on to control the pace and enable the laners to succeed. Nemesis probably won’t replace Caps any time soon, but Fnatic has the tools to succeed like in 2018.
#5 Team Vitality
Vitality made it to the playoffs last split but had a quick ending at the hands of Fnatic. For the past two years, they have been at the edge of greatness but were never able to cement themselves. It’s hard to imagine them doing so this split with the level of competition, but they are no slouches.
Like G2, Vitality’s solo laners are fantastic. Jiizuke and Cabochard have high carry potential, and the ability to snowball their leads effectively in skirmishes and team fights. They will be the deciding factors in their games to come. These two, with the veteran coaching of YamatoCannon, will look to create some upsets this split.
#6 FC Schalke 04
Schalke (“S04”) went 9-9 last split and narrowly missed playoffs. They weren’t a weak team nor a strong one, and are expected to stay right in the middle of the standings. An important note is that the team acquired Kang-Yun “Trick” Kim as a jungler for Summer. He is a two-time MVP and four-time LCS title winner in Europe and was a serious force when he played in the EU LCS.
Trick will be the key member to watch because of his legacy, but unlike before he doesn’t have big names like Perkz, Zven or Mithy with him. He played with IgNar in Korea on bbq Olivers, and hopefully, this synergy will be a strength for them. S04 has done amazing things in the past but will have their work cut out for them this split.
#7 SK Gaming
SK Gaming went 9-9 in the regular season too, and though they made it to playoffs where S04 did not, there are some concerns for the team now. S04 secured themselves a definitive upgrade in the jungle position, but SK’s new roster acquisition is much less sure. Sacre joined the team recently from SK Gaming Prime, replacing Werlyb in the top lane.
Sacre experienced decent success in the European Masters tournament and other, smaller tournaments and leagues. But it’s difficult to expect him to pair up well with players like Wunder and Cabochard as technically a rookie. Besides Selfmade, SK Gaming’s line-up is rather lackluster, and they’ll need to rely on him to get many of their wins.
#8 Misfits Gaming
Misfits were expected to be a top-three team in Spring. Their roster is excellent on paper, but it did not translate well on stage. They finished eighth last split and don’t look like they’ll do much better this split. They were 8-10, only one game behind both S04 and SK, but they showed many clear weaknesses.
It is still hard to believe any of the names on Misfits are so poorly rated now. sOAZ was on Fnatic’s World Finals roster, while Maxlore, Febiven, Hans Sama and GorillA all achieved greatness in the past. The individual players are fine, but the teamwork and coordination are severely lacking. This makes them a hard team to root for, and will probably be near the bottom of the standings again unless a major change is made.
#9 Excel Esports
Excel made some roster changes coming into Summer but their debut season causes a lot of skepticism to exist around them. At the end of the split, they were placed ninth, winning only five of eighteen games. Unlike European LoL staples like G2 or Fnatic, Excel lack the history and structure to be able to bounce back from something like that easily.
To their credit though, they added Son “Mickey” Young-min and Petter “Hjarnan” Freyschuss to their roster. Hjarnan was on G2’s 2018 roster that defeated RNG but was generally viewed as the weak point of the team. Mickey isn’t a superstar either but does have experience in Korea and North America to build off of. It will be another problematic split for Excel unless the individual members seriously step up their game.
Last and still least is Rogue. They also debuted in the LEC last split and had a list of problems that plagued them. Their individual players couldn’t generate advantages in lane, often losing them, and their team play was not up to par. They ended with only two wins for a reason, and their roster changes aren’t enough to make a significant difference.
This split Emil “Larssen” Larsson, and Oskar “Vander” Bogdan join the starting line-up, with Finn “Finn” Wiestål sharing or taking the starting role from Jun-Hyung “Profit” Kim. The successes of these players vary, but none of them are eye-popping pickups. Rogue’s journey to success will be a long and hard one, and there are very few that believe in them to make it at this point.
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Featured image via LoL Esports