As the LEC’s regular season unfolds and the last stretch of regular season play looms, the games that took place have determined several teams’ fates – for better or worse. On one hand, G2 Esports are guaranteed to be the first-place team. On the other, SK Gaming and Misfits are in danger of falling out of playoff contention, and Schalke 04 have not safely secured their spot yet.
In these cases, several picks have allowed the teams to stand out as frontrunners, or have undone other teams. With the teams playing their final games in Patch 9.4, the opportunity to secure a playoff spot may have run out, as another phase of meta adaptation looms.
In the meantime, the following picks have defined several storylines in the LEC on Week 8.
Norskeren and Mystiques’ Thresh: 3/5/32 KDA over two games
On one side, Toer Hoel “Norskeren” Eilertsen’s Splyce sought to secure their playoff spot. On the other, Patryk "Mystiques" Piórkowski sought to make an impact in his first LEC game as a member of Excel Esports. In both cases, they succeeded in no small part thanks to Thresh, the Chain Warden.
In both cases, the Thresh users secured early-game leads in the bot lane and spiraled that into deathly roams and map control. On Norskeren’s case, he provided lockdown potential upon G2’s front line threats in Mihael “mikyx” Mehle’s Galio and Martin “Wunder” Hansen’s Irelia.
Thresh’s kit plays perfectly into Aftershock, as the champion has plenty of Crowd Control abilities and acts as a supplementary front line disruptor (when not peeling for a carry). As such, itemisation frequently includes items to answer opposing teams’ threats, with Norskeren’s Redemption and Locket of the Iron Solari providing team-wide resistance to Karthus ultimates, and Mystiques’ Shurelya’s Reverie provided team-wide mobility for added skirmishing.
Odoamne’s Kennen: 12/0/1 KDA vs Misfits Gaming
Schalke 04 seemed lethargic in their six-game losing streak heading into a determining game against Misfits Gaming: the winner would secure a higher shot at reaching the playoffs. In the end, Schalke 04 prevailed, with Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu’s Kennen setting the tone for Misfits’ undoing. As soon as he teleported top-side at the 14:43 mark, the game was effectively over. In fact, Misfits’ subsequent despair only helped accelerate their undoing.
As Odoamne traded in lane and made picks, he built a significant gold tally through the picks and the Kleptomancy rune. From there, the team effectively played around him, and he successfully built a Zhonya’s Hourglass – Morellonomicon – Hextech Protobelt core. The game reached an extent where his 26.4k damage dealt exceeded Misfits Gaming’s overall damage as a team.
Bwipo’s Aatrox: 7/0/7 KDA vs Misfits Gaming
Fnatic and Misfits Gaming had entered Week 8 seeking to assert their position in the playoffs, with the loser running the risk of dropping off the playoff race. With such high stakes, it was hard to imagine that the top lane matchup – Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau’s Aatrox vs Paul “sOAZ” Boyer’s Renekton – would become as determinant as it did. The matchup of Conqueror rune bearers ultimately ended in Bwipo’s favour from minute five onwards.
With subsequent ganks asserting Bwipo’s lead, he was free to act as a sturdy front line damage dealer in team fights. The matter only kept spiraling, as he built Spirit Visage and Guardian Angel to negate Misfits’ damage, well after Death’s Dance and The Black Cleaver. Misfits were unable to bypass him or to ignore him during team fights, ultimately being unable to win the game.
Broxah’s Karthus: 8/0/5 KDA vs Excel Esports
After their victory against Misfits Gaming, Fnatic moved closer to a playoff spot that seemed out of reach earlier during the spring split. With Excel Esports as their opponent, they picked a composition with several strong (or relatively strong) lanes, and Karthus as an amplifier in the jungle. Truth be told, that amplifier went off the rails against Excel, one R – Requiem cast at a time.
Broxah showcased Karthus’s abilities in full: a fast clear, high damage on Q – Lay Waste when targeting isolated targets, solid ganking potential with W – Wall of Pain casts, and excellent map presence through his ultimate. Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski and Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir have spoken about the champion in great detail, and you can find out more specifics (such as the importance of Dark Harvest) there.
Wunder’s Camille: 7/4/5 KDA vs Team Vitality
G2 Esports had entered Week 8 with one mission in mind: secure first place ahead of Week 9. Following their defeat against Splyce, they had one more option: beat the only team capable of unseating them from the top spot, Team Vitality. For a while, Vitality had the upper hand as they delayed Martin “Wunder” Hansen’s Camille pick from gathering steam. However, they eventually hit a wall, losing a number of skirmishes, and it proved to be their undoing.
At her best, Camille is a potent split pusher with strong team fight initiation tools, as well as a devastating duellist. With the Conqueror rune rework, her aptitudes increase past the early-game, and Wunder knew that after a botched early-game. After biding his time, he laid the groundwork for Mikyx’s Galio to score game-changing initiations through her ultimate, Hextech Protocol – a far more potent tool than Jarvan IV’s Cataclysm. Who knows what G2 Esports will reveal next week? After all, the pressure has been lifted from their shoulders.