After just a week off, the League of Legends EMEA Championship (LEC) is back with the Spring split as the crazy pace of the new format continues.
Winter champions G2 Esports find themselves in an interesting position. They’ve already qualified for the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI), so there isn’t as much at stake for them now.
Who will join them at the international tournament? Here are our thoughts on all 10 teams, some of which we haven’t seen play in over a month.
Astralis surprised everybody when they qualified for the Winter Groups, and even more so when they eliminated Team BDS.
While they are still most likely a lower-half team, they’re certainly capable of making Groups again and could even go even further.
For that to happen, Jungler Doğukan "113" Balcı will need to have a bigger impact on games now that he has his first split under his belt. Even so, expect them to be battling to stay out of the bottom two.
Speaking of the bottom two, the last split was a disaster for Excel, who signed a ton of big-name players and then finished dead last with just one win in nine games.
The group of players didn’t come remotely close to gelling together. Now they find themselves in an awkward spot considering the budget spent, lack of time, and the fact Excel don’t have an academy roster.
According to reports, Dino "LIMIT" Tot will be their new Support. While not the most exciting signing in the world, his knowledge and leadership, along with the coaching team change, should finally give this squad some direction.
However, games against Fnatic, Team Vitality, and G2 in Week 1 will be extremely difficult. After their struggles in the last split, there’s a very good chance the compiled misery tilts this roster into oblivion.
Now for the other surprise team that didn’t qualify for Groups. With a lack of synergy and only one potentially strong lane in Mid - which in itself was volatile because of Marek “Humanoid” Brázda’s playstyle - it’s no surprise that Fnatic have made changes.
Academy Support Henk "Advienne" Reijenga will get another chance in the LEC, and will need to form synergy with Jungler Iván "Razork" Martín Díaz to unlock their playmaking potential.
They will also look to their Top Laner Óscar "Oscarinin" Muñoz Jiménez for some more carry potential. The Spaniard has been having a great season in the Superliga, leading all Top Laners in average kills, CS per minute, gold per minute, damage share, damage per minute, gold difference at 15 minutes, CS difference at 15 minutes, and solokills.
While the changes may be for the better, ultimately it’ll still take time for them to build synergy and for “Oscarsinin” to adapt. I do think they’ll do better this time around. but they’ll probably be in the middle of the pack.
The reigning champions, there isn’t much more to say about this squad after how dominant they were in the playoffs.
But don’t bet on them too often. While they’re heavy favourites, they now have the freedom to experiment and mess around with unpredictable off-meta picks, something Rasmus “Caps” Borregaard Winther loves to do.
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The last split was a bit of a rollercoaster for KOI. They struggled a lot in the regular season but stepped up for Groups, only to then fall short and miss out on the Playoffs Final. Still, they should hit the ground running and be among the top teams in the league this split.
The Bottom Lane will need to carry more, which shouldn’t be a problem considering Markos "Comp" Stamkopoulos posted the most damage per minute in the playoffs, despite KOI losing both their series. And of course, a lot of eyes will be on the growth of Top Laner Mathias "Szygenda" Jensen, who hasn’t shown enough highs to be a title winner just yet.
Last split’s runners-up, this is a very strong squad that is currently in prime position to take the second MSI spot thanks to their Championship Points.
Yasin "Nisqy" Dinçer was a monster towards the end of the split, and Top Laner Kim "Chasy" Dong-hyeon started to prove just how reliable and flexible he is.
The disappointing 3-0 in the final says they still have a long way to go to catch G2, but this squad could become just as fearsome, especially if they can unlock the full potential of their Bot Lane.
The surprise package of the season, SK were phenomenal last split and deservingly reached the top four.
Perhaps the talented squad got a little lucky in the draw with an imploding Team Vitality allowing them to progress, but the fact that they took MAD to five games suggests they can compete with the top teams.
That’s easier said than done, and it feels like the top three will still be out of their reach. However, with the ability of Jungler Mark "Markoon" van Woensel and Bot Laner Thomas "Exakick" Foucou, they always stand a chance.
Team BDS were also a surprise package in the last split, but they struggled once they got to Groups. It’s likely they will struggle in this split too.
The team have good synergy together and solid laning. This should put them in good stead, but I think other teams are growing around them at a faster rate, which may leave them lost in the shuffle.
For a group that hadn’t played together before, Heretics performed fairly well in Winter. However, while they did have some bright moments, they’ve been fairly inconsistent otherwise.
They should be able to build off those performances and make the most of their strong Solo-Laners, but from what we last saw, it doesn’t feel like they’re at that level yet.
After finishing first in the regular season, dropping out at the Group Stages felt like a disastrous result.
And clearly, management agreed, as they’ve now splashed the cash on another signing with the massive transfer of Elias "Upset" Lipp. With him, anything but the title will be considered a failure for this stacked roster.
However, with strong carries in all three lanes, it could be tricky for the squad to strike a balance. Last split’s roster already struggled to figure out their identity, and if those issues persist, Vitality could have a surprisingly slow start which would immediately start to set off the alarm bells.