The talent pool in Europe is astonishing. The region has become well known for producing exceptional talents, and the previous season was no different as the LEC’s inaugural year kickstarted the careers of many young and hungry League of Legends players.
Some had to wait for the majority of the season for their chance to shine, while others hit the ground running and made an impact from the start. A couple of rookies even managed to prove themselves against the best on the planet with incredible performances at this year’s World Championship.
There are too many rookies to talk about, so here are just a few who left a lasting impression in their debut season.
Nemesis – Fnatic
Tim “Nemesis” Lipovšek had huge shoes to fill as he stepped up and replaced Rasmus “Caps” Winther at Fnatic. It took some time for the former Worlds finalists to figure out how to play around him, but once things clicked, there was no stopping Nemesis’ rapid improvement.
In his very first Playoffs series, Nemesis secured Fnatic’s place in the next round with a fantastic penta-kill on Kayle against Team Vitality. That was an early sign of things to come, as Nemesis would take his dominant performances to the Worlds stage later in the year, where he was arguably Fnatic’s best player. His solo-kill on SK Telecom T1’s Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok is a highlight that European fans will remember for some time, but there’s sure to be more memorable moments from the Slovenian in the coming years.
Selfmade – SK Gaming
Selfmade had an excellent start to the season as he made SK Gaming a force to be reckoned with in the Spring Split. The Polish jungler picked up more “Player of the Game” awards than any other player, earning the title seven times.
He lead the team into the Playoffs and as a result was awarded Rookie of the Split with an overwhelming majority of the votes. The jungler has all the talent in the world, and as he becomes a more refined player, you can expect to see big things from him next season.
LIDER – Misfits Gaming
As Misfits’ super-team roster fell apart, the organisation called on its young academy team that had won EU Masters earlier in the year to try and salvage their season.
One of the most talked-about players on that line-up was Adam “LIDER” Ilyasov who fully embraces his glass cannon play-style. As the young players took to the LEC stage for the first time, it was always going to be difficult for them to adjust, but the Norweigen showed absolutely no fear. He repeatedly locked in assassins in the midlane and would look for kills, even when it was to his detriment.
However, when LIDER gets rolling, there’s no stopping him as we saw when he decimated Fnatic as Akali, ending with a KDA of 12/3/7. With some experience under his belt, the midlaner is one to watch out for next season.
Inspired – Rogue
Moving onto one of the youngest players in the league, 17-year-old Kacper "Inspired" Słoma made a fantastic start to his career as he was crowned Rookie of the Split in the Summer.
He was one of the major reasons that Rogue were able to go from 10th in the Spring Split to making the Summer Playoffs and even played a major role in the team’s shock 3-0 win over Splyce in the first round, as he starred on Elise, Sejuani and his signature pick Olaf.
Inspired has a long career ahead of him and could very well be destined for great things. Rogue were not far away from qualifying for Worlds this season and could go that one step further in the upcoming year.
Larssen – Rogue
Another Rogue player, after finishing his education, Emil “Larssen” Larsson stepped up onto the org’s Summer Split line-up and lived up to the hype.
The 19-year-old was pivotal in the team’s success as he and Inspired proved to be one of the most fearsome mid-jungle duos in the league. Only Caps had more kills as a midlaner in the Summer Split as the Rogue star picked 73 kills during the regular season.
The Swede is a consistent player with the ability to step up and carry games. Going into 2020 he will once again be pivotal to Rogue’s success.
Humanoid – Splyce
Adding yet another mid-laner to this list, Marek “Humanoid” Brázda also celebrated a very successful debut season. The Czech superstar was phenomenal in the Summer Split as he stepped up for Splyce and began to takeover games on aggressive picks like Akali and Qiyana. He was crucial in the team’s qualification for Worlds and also held his own in his four games against Faker in the quarterfinals.
Humanoid showed a tremendous amount of growth over the last season and he will no doubt want to be shining bright again next year.
Jenax – SK Gaming
A lot has been said over the years about the incredible amount of world-class European midlaners and the region hasn’t stopped producing them either, as Janik "Jenax" Bartels emerged towards the end of the Summer Split as yet another phenomenal solo lane talent.
SK Gaming hit a real slump in the Summer Split, and by Week 6, the players found themselves rooted to the bottom of the standings. Something needed to change, so Jenax was brought in following his strong performances at EU Masters in which SK Prime finished as runners-up.
It was a move that heavily paid off, as the team won four of their six remaining regular season games with the German midlaner, pushing them into a tiebreaker for the final Playoffs spot which they eventually lost to Team Vitality.
Jenax impressed massively in just a handful of games, with his 8/2/3 game as Aatrox against Origen being a particularly memorable performance. Now that he’s proved himself on the LEC stage, the German will face a fair shot of proving himself amongst Europe’s best.