League of Legends fans might not be screaming in the LEC studio in Berlin, but the hype is still palpable as we approach the final week of the 2020 Summer Split.
Many teams are tied in the standings, with some squads’ hopes and dreams separated by only one or two games. Some former champions have fallen to the wayside while new, younger powerhouses have risen up to take their place in the hierarchy of the European League scene.
Every team still has a chance to make the playoffs and qualify for Worlds, but only six of the region’s best will move forward after this weekend. Here are some of the biggest storylines to watch out for when the final LEC super week begins.
The crown can only belong to one
MAD Lions and Rogue have both been battling for the No. 1 spot in Europe since the start of the summer—and their race to the finish line hasn’t slowed down since then. Each team has looked strong throughout the split, sporting their own unique flair that hasn’t been figured out by the rest of the pack.
The last time these two top teams faced each other, the MAD Lions’ hungry pride feasted. Creativity is one of their biggest strong suits and their expert teamfighting was on display in their week three matchup. But both teams will have one more chance to best each other on Saturday, Aug. 8.
Although both teams have already locked in a postseason spot, these matches will be huge for their confidence and for momentum heading into the playoffs. Rogue and MAD Lions are actually coming off a couple of off weeks where the former lost to SK Gaming and the latter fell to a struggling Team Vitality.
It’ll be fun to see if MAD Lions decide to experiment a bit with their drafts—like a Sona-Lux bottom lane—or if they’ll keep some of their secret picks hidden for the playoffs. Rogue, on the other hand, will need to lock in and hone their great early-game focused playstyle to tear away the game from their opponents quickly.
“Heavy is the head that wears the crown.”
If we look back throughout Europe’s competitive League history, there have only been two consistent names that have shown up in the finals every single season. G2 Esports vs. Fnatic has always been the marquee matchup that pundits look forward to watching. But this season, both teams have disappointed fans over and over again.
G2, for example, haven’t looked nearly as dominant as they did in 2019. They’re tied for third place alongside SK Gaming with an 8-7 record. In comparison, G2 only lost 12 games throughout the entire 2019 LEC Spring and Summer Splits, including the playoffs.
The defending LEC and MSI champions have shown quick flashes of brilliance and multiple teams still believe they’ll be difficult to beat in a best-of-five setting. But G2 must first reach the playoffs to get a chance to prove themselves.
Meanwhile, Fnatic have stumbled throughout the season and fallen into fifth place, which is only one win behind SK and G2. Their season has been even more up and down, with problems stemming from miscommunication and individual underperformances. In fact, they’ve finished with three 0-2 weeks this season, which is unacceptable for a roster of their caliber.
Both teams have looked like shadows of their past selves, which has made the rest of the league a mishmash of squads that are now scrambling for a spot in the playoffs. It’d be the story of the season if one of these teams failed to reach the postseason or Worlds, so every game is a must-win now.
Schalke 04 have struggled immensely this summer, falling to last place after only winning five games this split. But over the past two weeks, the stumbling squad finally found their footing and are now poised to play spoiler for some of the teams looking up toward the summit.
Schalke are on a four-game winning streak heading into the last week of the split, with wins against G2, Misfits Gaming, Excel Esports, and Origen. It feels like this roster is playing with the pressure off their shoulders since not many people expect them to win. This means they’re able to play with freedom and fluidity. They’re willing to make big plays and risky moves that can ultimately win them huge games.
In fact, they could still make the playoffs if the cards fall in their favor. They do have two rough matchups against Fnatic and MAD Lions during the LEC super week, but there are a ton of expectations that could weigh heavily on Fnatic and MAD Lions’ play.
The LEC is so unpredictable and that’s why this is one of the most exciting leagues to watch at the moment. There isn’t a true favorite to win it all and anyone can place their bet on any horse in the race. This is peak League and you can watch it all unfold starting Friday, Aug. 7.
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