The 2020 League of Legends European Championship will welcome a variety of fresh faces, with many young pros set to make their debuts in the Spring Split.
Europe has long been a hotbed for young and promising League of Legends players but never has there been a bigger spotlight on said rookies until now thanks to the European Masters (EUM).
The tournament gives budding pros a chance to not only prove their skills but also earn valuable on-stage experience which aids them in their journey towards reaching the LEC stage.
This year, more teams are taking chances on rookies than ever before and in a lot of cases, it’s paying off. Rogue had a much better performance in the Summer Split after promoting more of its talented academy squad and we saw midlaners Tim “Nemesis” Lipovšek and Marek “Humanoid” Brázda attend the World Championships in their debut years.
As the rosters for next season are being locked in, it’s already confirmed that a fresh wave of rookies will come into the league with all of them looking to establish themselves amongst some of the best players in the world. There are a lot of new faces joining the LEC next year but here are just a few that you should keep an eye on.
Denyk - Misfits
The winds of change are blowing through Misfits once again after a whirlwind season which ended on a low for the organisation. The super team the organisation tried to form with the likes of Paul “sOAZ” Boyer and Kang “Gorilla” Beom-hyun crashed and burned and the EUM Spring 2019 winning line-up of Misfits Academy didn’t fare much better after a sudden promotion to the LEC squad in the Summer Split.
Misfits has completely rebuilt its roster from the ground up once again with yet another young roster. Support was one of the roles Misfits struggled to fill last season with Gorilla, Aleksi "H1IVA" Kaikkonen and Mads "Doss" Schwartz all taking to the stage.
Now, the starting support position will belong to Petr "Denyk" Haramach who is surprisingly experienced for a rookie at 24 years of age, three years older than G2’s Mihael "Mikyx" Mehl.
The Czech star performed admirably at EUM as he helped Vodafone Giants reach the final and sported the highest average assists (12.6) of all players at the tournament and the best KDA (6) of all competing supports.
With Misfits fielding another young roster, Denyk’s senior voice and leadership will be crucial if the team is to return to the Playoffs in 2020.
Carzzy - MAD Lions
While Denyk had to settle for second at EUM, 17-year-old Matyáš "Carzzy" Orság was able to win the entire tournament with Berlin International Gaming (BIG). The young ADC had a very strong tournament and at such a young age, could have a very bright future ahead of him.
The Czech player already has a deep champion pool having played 14 different champions last season including mages such as Ekko which he played bot twice in BIG’s 3-0 win over Mousesports in the EUM Summer semi-finals. He also impressively picked up four solo-kills throughout the tournament, more than any of his ADC counterparts.
Now Carzzy will have a chance to prove himself and learn from playing against the best as he has been handed an LEC opportunity by MAD Lions, the rebranded team that was formerly Worlds quarter-finalists Splyce. The organisation will field four rookies with Humanoid rounding up the team. It’s an inexperienced squad but one filled to the brim with potential and could certainly cause the other LEC squads some problems.
Milicia - Team Vitality
It wouldn’t be a complete list of European rookies without a mid-laner and Team Vitality may have unearthed another gem in Aljoša "Milica" Kovandžić. The Serbian was another member of the Giants squad that reached the EUM final and he was one of the standout players at the tournament.
He had the highest KDA (7.4), average damage to champions per minute (28.4) and recorded more solo-kills (6) than any other player in the tournament.
Vitality is another organisation that has made big changes to its squad but one of the biggest acquisitions may be coach Hadrien "Duke" Forestier. The Frenchman lead Splyce to the Worlds quarterfinals last season and oversaw Humanoid’s tremendous growth throughout the year. If he can have similar results with Milica, Vitality could become one of the top teams in Europe once again.
Ronaldo - Misfits
Next up is another Misfits player in Ronaldo Betea and one that has a fair of excitement around him from others within the scene. Ronaldo will be sharing the midlane role with Fabian "Febiven" Diepstraten next season but potentially, the Romanian could end up playing any role.
Ronaldo is extraordinarily versatile, having won competitive games in every position including ADC and support games for Fnatic Rising last season. In a recent Reddit AMA Misfits new coach Alejandro “Jandro” Fernández-Valdés, who worked extensively with Ronaldo last season, spoke highly of the adaptable midlaner:
“Ronaldo has only been in the scene for such a short time but has already impressed me and the rest of his team. His extreme versatility and his eagerness to learn is an essential asset to a mostly rookie roster with a veteran mid and a strong coaching staff alongside him. Also, his mechanics have been more than great so myself and the rest of the coaching staff trust in his ability to become a great midlaner in no time.”
Comp - Team Vitality
Finally on this list is another ADC and new Team Vitality member in Markos "Comp" Stamkopoulos who will turn 18 later this month. He will be one of two Greek ADCs in the LEC as Konstantinos-Napoleon "FORG1VEN" Tzortziou is also returning to competitive play with Schalke 04.
Comp was extremely impressive at EUM Summer despite the fact that his team, French champions LDLC, were eliminated in the quarterfinals by eventual champions BIG. The Greek registered fantastic stats with the highest average CS per minute (9.8) of all players as well as the highest KDA (5) and gold per minute (495) of all ADCs who played more than one game at the tournament.
Comp can be quite the explosive ADC having picked up two pentakills in the LFL Summer Split, keep an eye on him for more eye-catching plays.