With playoffs on the horizon, the next few weeks of the LEC are crucial as both Fnatic vs G2 and Splyce vs Rogue will have huge implications for the season.
With just a few weeks of the regular season remaining, it’s crunch time for the 10 teams in the League of Legends European Championships (LEC) as the playoffs race enters its final laps.
With Europe’s performances at Worlds last year and G2’s triumph at MSI, the region’s teams have never been so confident in matching-up with international teams. And considering this year’s Worlds final will take place in Paris, the stakes of the Summer Split Playoffs have never been higher.
Week 7 of the LEC Summer Split has two important match-ups which are exciting for different reasons. There’s G2 vs Fnatic, a battle between the two most successful organisations in European history, and then there’s Splyce vs Rogue who are fighting for recognition and to create their own legacies. Splyce are looking to challenge for the LEC title and return to Worlds while Rogue are aiming to qualify for the Playoffs for the first time and prove they belong.
Playing with their food
Once again, G2 are dominating the LEC and are winning games on their terms. In the team’s last outing, SK Gaming, who were already struggling, looked completely lost when trying to deal with the insane comp G2 had created. If the combo of Rakan and Yasuo in the bot lane wasn’t hard enough to handle, SK also had to try and find the answers to Martin “Wunder” Hansen’s Annie top and Rasmus “Caps” Winther’s Tristana mid. Sensationally, as revealed by the most recent Mic Check, the latter was a suggestion taken from a fan’s sign in the crowd that the team decided to roll with in the moment. G2’s ability to adapt and effectively execute unorthodox picks on the fly is extraordinary. You have to wonder how fearsome this team will be when they actually take games seriously.
Perhaps we’ll see G2 at their frightening best this week as the game against Fnatic is arguably their most important match of the regular season. G2 have decimated their opposition in the last few weeks and are riding the high of a seven-game win streak. The MSI champions have only lost one game so far game this split and that was at the hands of Fnatic.
That loss was earlier in the split when Fnatic themselves were looking unstoppable. Jungler Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen was in immense form and had a phenomenal performance in the early game vs G2, repeatedly shutting down Caps while getting Gabriel “Bwipo” Rau snowballing.
Zdravets "Hylissang" Galabov also had an incredible performance, challenging all of G2’s members for the title of the best Pyke player in Europe. His crazy hook predictions and perfectly-timed roams were too much for even G2 to handle.
Hylissang is still picking the same playmaking supports every week as he has become a crucial cog in the Fnatic machine. But perhaps that’s Fnatic’s problem, the team are too robotic – in a way they are the opposites to G2.
While every member of G2 could easily play a different champion each week, Fnatic tend to stick with what they know. Hylissang will likely be on Pyke or Rakan, Tim “Nemesis” Lipovsek has been playing mostly Twisted Fate and Aatrox while Martin “Rekkles” Larrson has stuck almost exclusively to Karma.
Though a couple of weeks Fnatic did try changing things up, and in a big way. For their game against Rogue in Week Five, Fnatic did the unthinkable and benched Rekkles in favour of moving Nemesis to the bot lane and handing a debut to talented midlaner Felix “Magifelix” Bostrom.
It was a risky move that ended in disaster as Rogue took the game with relative ease considering how poorly every member of Fnatic performed individually. Rekkles has since returned to the line-up but the team hasn’t looked the same since. A loss to the new, inexperienced squad of Misfits last week was particularly alarming.
Yet, as we’ve seen time and time again, you can never write off Fnatic. In fact, the black and orange team have won both of their last two games against G2 and will see this weekend as an opportunity to secure themselves a top-two finish in the regular season and a guaranteed place at the Summer Split finals weekend in Athens.
Climbing to the summit
While Fnatic have been thumbling their chance of first place, Splyce have been tearing apart the LEC in hopes of finally confirming their place among the elite.
Splyce have always been one of the stronger teams in Europe but have failed to make their chances count following the organisation’s successful debut year when Splyce burst onto the scene into 2016 after taking ownership of the newly promoted Team Dignitas EU roster.
That year the team would make it through to the Summer Split final and would qualify for the World Championships despite a 3-1 loss to G2 on the big stage. Internationally, the inexperienced side were drawn a difficult group with Team SoloMid, Royal Never Give Up and eventual finalists Samsung Galaxy.
Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup is the only man remaining on Splyce from that roster and has failed to make a Playoffs final or Worlds since. He has had to painfully watch on as some of his former Splyce teammates have continued to reach new heights with Wunder and Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle becoming MSI champions and Origen’s Jonas “Kold” Andersen reaching last split’s final.
You get the feeling this might just be Kobbe’s time to shine. Splyce were already impressive in Spring but appear to have stepped up another level and currently sit level with Fnatic in second place. Judging by current form, you’d give Splyce the edge.
However, Rogue will have other ideas. One of the two new teams to the LEC, this year has been a massive learning curve for the organisation. A last place finish in Spring had the alarm bells ringing and resulted in most of the org’s academy team being promoted to the LEC.
It was a move that worked wonders as the team now look like serious Playoffs contenders with the potential of Emil “Larssen” Larrson and Kacper "Inspired" Sloma clear to see. Wins over Origen and Fnatic, despite the circumstances, had the rest of Europe on high alert.
However, Rogue have stagnated in recent weeks and their playoff hopes are hanging by a thread. Yet, the youngsters in the team appear much more comfortable on stage and there is a lot of individual talent in the team who have the ability to surprise. Rogue are fighting tooth and nail to prove they belong in the LEC and make a name for themselves. With playoffs just a few weeks away, this is their time to step up.