Welcome to Newsflash, where each week we’ll be keeping you up to date with everything you need to know about the LEC.
We’re officially on the road to Worlds with the championships returning to European soil later this year. All 10 LEC teams will have the final in Paris in the back of their minds during the Summer Split, it’s now or never.
Every week, we will be keeping you up to date with the biggest LEC news from both on and off the Rift – including everything you need to know before the Summer Split kicks off on Friday June 7th at 6pm CEST. With everything to play for this Split, it’s been a busy off-season with roster changes, drama and even an international trophy coming Europe’s way. Here are the major talking ahead of Week 1.
On top of the world
At last year’s World Championships, Fnatic, G2 and Vitality allowed European fans to dream. They showed they could take down the best teams the world has to offer, there really could be a day where the west lifts an international trophy.
That dream has become a reality as LEC Spring Split champions G2 put Europe on top of the world by becoming the first western team to win the Mid Season Invitational. The team’s record-breaking series against Origen in the Spring final was impressive but G2 went one step better by also breaking the record for the fastest final in MSI history, demolishing Team Liquid. If you somehow still need proof that EU is better than NA then just wait for Rift Rivals in a few weeks time.
By definition, G2 is currently the best team in the world but that only puts a target on their backs. The rest of the LEC teams will be more determined than ever to surpass G2 and get their own hands on the LEC trophy.
One team who will be gunning for G2’s top spot is Fnatic, who still have unfinished business in the LEC after losing to Origen in the semifinals of the Spring Playoffs.
It was a rollercoaster split for Fnatic who got off to a horrendous start before recovering with an amazing run in the second half to secure third in the standings and a place in the playoffs, but the team wasn’t able to go all the way. During the offseason there were even rumours of a fight between Martin “Rekkles” Larsson and Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen though those thankfully appear to be false.
However, Broxah will now be sharing his jungle spot with Englishman Daniel "Dan" Hockley who helped Fnatic Rising win the UK League of Legends Championship. Broxah admitted on Twitter that it’s going to be a tough situation: “Over the past month, I have been trying to accept the decision but it is something that I have and still am having a difficult time with.
“This is something, though, that I am doing my utmost to turn into additional motivation and drive to prove my worth to myself, my coaches, my team and the fans. I can guarantee that, despite not fully agreeing with the decision, this will only inspire me to work harder than ever aiming to surpass the heights expected of me and Fnatic.”
Young blood rises
The European talent pool is overflowing and has spilt into the LEC line-ups with many players earning call-ups from academy teams. SK Gaming have injected even more young-blood into their line-up with Toni “Sacre” Sabalic replacing Jorge “Werlyb” Casanovas as their starting toplaner.
Meanwhile, after finishing last in Spring Split, Rogue have opted to promote their entire academy line-up into the LEC with exciting rookies Finn “Finn” Wiestal, Kacper “Inspired” Sloma and Emil “Larssen” Larsson as well as experienced Polish bot lane duo Pawel “Woolite” Pruski and Oskar “Vander” Bogdan. Sometimes desperate times also call for desperate measures as Rogue even looked to NA for help in a trade deal with FlyQuest that saw Kim “Wadid” Bae-in fly out to LA while Marcin “Selfie” Wolski has returned to Poland to compete in the Ultraliga.
And though one member of G2’s Worlds semifinalist line-up from last year has left Europe another has returned as Petter “Hjarnan” Freyschuss has been reunited with Raymond “Kasing” Tsang in hopes of turning Excel’s fortunes around.
G2 took down SK Telecom T1 in the MSI semifinals but there’s still no doubt that Korea is packed with incredibly talented players and some of the LEC teams have taken advantage of that fact.
In addition to Hjarnan, there’s another former G2 player who has returned to Europe as Kang-Yun “Trick” Kim has joined Schalke, reuniting with his former BBQ Olivers teammate Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun to give Jonas “Memento” Elmarghichi competition in the jungle.
And Excel has added another Korean player to its 10-man line-up with the addition of Son “Mickey” Young-min. There are big question marks over the midlaner who struggled in NA with Team Liquid and Golden Guardians but Excel’s new head coach David “DLim” Lim is confident Mickey can step up in Europe.
The LEC Summer Split is kicking off with an excellent set of fixtures including a rematch of the Spring final between G2 and Origen. Meanwhile, there will be a behemoth clash between Fnatic and Misfits who both have a point to prove while new-boys Rogue and Excel will get the chance to prove whose offseason roster moves have paid off.
With international champions in the league and a wealth of exciting line-ups, the Summer Split is shaping up to be one of the best Europe has ever seen.