After G2 brought international glory back to Europe, the rest of the LEC teams have looked to step up for the Summer Split, which has already been full of surprises.
While G2, Fnatic and Origen return from their successful Rift Rivals campaign and recover from their jet lag, we’re using the break to reflect on the first few weeks of the Summer Split.
The title race has been blown open while other teams haven’t quite lived up to high expectations. A lot has already happened so here’s a recap to make sure you’re ready for when the LEC returns next week.
G2 - Kings of the world
Of course, we have to start with last split’s champions G2 who went one better at the Mid Season Invitational and brought an international tournament victory back to Europe.
After a long slog at MSI, many were expecting G2 to perhaps step off the gas when they came back to the LEC but that wasn’t the case. The champions came flying out of the gates with wins against Origen, Splyce, Team Vitality and SK Gaming. They looked unstoppable until they came up against Fnatic in week three.
Nonetheless, we’ve seen, including at Rift Rivals, that G2 aren’t indestructible. Still, the Samurais will want to return to winning ways when they return to the LEC studio in Berlin next week with their eyes on taking back first place.
Team Vitality looked like one of the strongest teams in Europe for the majority of the Spring Split, staying close to G2 in the standings for a long time. However, the team dropped off towards the end of the split and by the time Playoffs came about they were decimated by Fnatic.
After a long break and some time spent practising in China with Royal Never Give Up, there were high hopes that Vitality could rediscover the old form that saw them take games off of Gen.G and RNG at Worlds last year.
Yet it was the opposite as the squad came into the season in horrendous form. Brutal losses to Origen, Splyce, Rogue and G2 left them rooted to the bottom of the table with fans fearing the worst. However, Vitality responded in week three with victories over Excel and SK to suggest there’s some hope left. We’ll see next week if Vitality has managed to figure things out during the break.
Rogue’s new blood
You just have to look at EU Masters to see how rich the talent pool is here in Europe. Every LEC team has an academy team and after a last-place finish in Spring, Rogue decided most of their second team were worth promoting.
Top-laner Kim "Profit" Jun-hyung is the last man standing from Spring as he is adapting to his new teammates including debuting rookies Kacper “Inspired” Sloma in the jungle and Emil “Larssen” Larsson in the mid-lane.
While Rogue haven’t had the best of starts to Summer, the team already looks much better than they did in Spring with wins over Excel and Vitality. With an experienced bot lane and hungry rookies, Rogue are a team to keep an eye on this split.
Fnatic had a rollercoaster time in Spring Split which began with a dreadful, downhill start but the team were eventually able to gather momentum and climb right back up the standings. However, their eventual third-place finish wasn't considered good enough by the storied organisation.
Following a break and the promotion of Daniel “Dan” Hockley to provide Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen with competition in the jungle, Fnatic appear to be back at the top. They are the only undefeated team remaining in the LEC with a victory over G2 the cherry on top. The race for the LEC trophy is already hotting up and G2’s hopes of retaining the title are now under serious threat.
Misfits’ 10 man conundrum
Going back into mid-table, so far it’s been another difficult split for Misfits. European fans couldn’t believe their eyes when rosters of G2 and Misfits were revealed before the season started as Europe had somehow built two “super-teams”.
And while G2 have shown the upsides to those type of squads, Misfits have shown the difficulties that come with throwing together a group of superstar players. Lack of direction and decision making still haunts the team despite moving to a 10-man roster.
Misfits have been rotating in a couple of their academy players already this season to varying success. Thomas “Kirei” Yuen was a breath of fresh air in the jungle as he dominated Excel for an easy win though he couldn’t do enough to stop Origen. Meanwhile, highly-rated midlaner Adam “Lider” Ilyasov made his debut in week three against Schalke but his brave choice of Yasuo resulted in a shocking KDA of 1/7/2. The team has plenty of issues but this is a long season and there’s plenty of time for Misfits' roster to finally click.
Are Origen title contenders?
That was one of the biggest questions coming into Summer: could Origen compete with G2? The roster, of which of all five members came together from different teams, went from strength to strength as the Spring Split went on and ended up taking down Fnatic to reach the Playoffs final.
There is no doubt that Origen were the second strongest team in Spring however, they were still seemingly miles behind G2 after failing to take a single game off the eventual champions in two best of five series. Coming into Summer, Origen haven’t been at their best either with a loss to Splyce knocking them out of the top three.
People wondered if Origen were still at the top heading into Rift Rivals but the team quickly put those doubts to bed with a dominant win over Team SoloMid in their first game. That small confident boost could push the team forward but there’s a lot of work to do if they want to join Fnatic and G2 back in the title race.