Over the past couple of years, European League of Legends teams have shown that they’re worthy of becoming the next world champion—a title that the region hasn’t achieved since Fnatic’s win in season one.
The LEC is well known for fostering homegrown talent and a love for strategies that become meta in other regions as well after they debut in Europe. This offseason was tame compared to previous ones, however, without many significant roster changes happening for the top-tier teams.
Every LEC team has one common enemy who’s been dominating the region and challenging the best teams in the world: G2 Esports. They’re the barrier that teams must go through if they want a shot at the local title of being a European champion. Will Fnatic rise up to this task and dethrone G2 Esports or will another challenger attempt to do this instead?
Here are some of the best storylines to follow heading into the 2020 LEC Summer Split.
Perkz and Caps role swap again
After a dominant win in the Spring Split playoffs, G2’s head coach Fabian “GrabbZ” Lohmann confirmed that Perkz and Caps are swapping to their 2019 positions. Even though G2 were dominant in the Spring Split, they looked weaker compared to when Caps was sitting the mid lane and Perkz was playing ADC.
Caps stepped up in the playoffs to secure G2’s third LEC title but Perkz’s consistency when he was playing ADC was unrivaled. This lane swap could be exactly what G2 needs to find more success and finally win a Worlds title.
Schalke’s new chapter
Many eyes were on Schalke04 heading into the 2020 LEC Spring Split with ADC FORG1VEN as the central piece of their roster. But after a disastrous start, FORG1VEN announced that he was quitting the team unless changes were made. Schalke promoted academy ADC Nihat “Innaxe” Aliev to the main roster, who showed that he’s worthy of being in the LEC.
Even though Schalke’s journey ended last split without them even reaching the playoffs, they did have a Cinderella story in the second round of the regular split. They won their first game with Innaxe subbing in against the undefeated, undisputed leader, G2.
With a fresh start, Schalke should be looking to contend for at least a playoff spot this summer.
YoungBuck round two
Former Fnatic coach Joey “YoungBuck” Steltenpool left Fnatic in November 2019 for the rookies on Excel Esports to show everyone that he can develop young talents into world-class players. Excel had a mediocre Spring Split, though, finishing seventh in the regular season and missing the playoffs.
Coming into the Summer Split, the organization has replaced both Korean laners, Expect and Mickey, with Special and Kryze. YoungBuck has a second shot to prove that he still has what it takes to make a world champion out of this rookie squad.
Can Fnatic overcome their kryptonite?
Fnatic have been trailing G2 for the past few splits, finishing second in the regular season and the playoff finals. After Broxah left for NA and Selfmade became his replacement, there weren’t many expectations on the Fnatic squad considering they’d need to build synergy again. Nevertheless, the new Fnatic roster adapted to each other quickly and showed consistency over the split, winning most games convincingly.
But G2 are the only enemy that Fnatic seemingly can’t defeat right now. Every time they face G2, Fnatic seem to play much worse compared to their usual style. If they don’t overcome the mental block that’s stopping them from playing at their regular level, Fnatic will always be known as the bridesmaid and never the bride.
MAD Lions, the emerging superstars
MAD Lions had an incredible first LEC split. The Spanish organization built around Splyce mid laner Marek “Humanoid” Brázda with four rookies. They quickly created synergy, taking down veteran LEC teams with ease.
After finishing fourth in the Spring Split, the rookie squad qualified for playoffs and were chosen to face G2 because they were considered to be a weaker team than Origen. This came back to bite G2 once the playoffs started, though. MAD Lions sent the Worlds finalists to the lower bracket in their first playoff match. After losing to Fnatic, they were sent to the lower bracket as well. But G2 overcame MAD Lions in the rematch to end their split.
Even though they didn’t win the split, MAD Lions looked like a top-four European team that deserves to be praised by the community for their ludicrous performance in their first season. Their roster remains unchanged, so expectations are high and all eyes should be on them this summer. MAD Lions should be able to contest the European kings for the Summer Split and perhaps even take a shot at the crown.
The 2020 LEC Summer Split begins on June 12.