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When G2 Esports won MSI in May, they put the world on notice. Europe is now home to the best team, and you best not underestimate the LEC.
That G2 are an amazing team is not up for debate. But how close their regional brethren are to competing with them is a question. For much of the 2019 Spring Split, G2 toyed with other teams in the region. Maybe it’s not Europe that’s strong, it’s just this one team.
To figure out the pecking order behind G2, we asked our League analysts to assign points to each team from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).
|8)||FC Schalke 04||21|
There weren’t that many surprises in this iteration, though we’re sure to see some upsets when the LEC Summer Split starts on June 7.
Long-term greedy: Excel , Rogue
These two teams are clearly building for the future after finishing at the bottom of the table last split. In fact, they combined for just seven wins, which would have still placed them last.
Of the two, Excel made the win-now move by signing bot laner Petter “Hjarnan” Freyschuss. He’s a fine player with a wonky champion pool that can draw some target bans from opposing teams. It remains to be seen how well he plays without support partner Kim “Wadid” Bae-in, who’s now in North America, but he should bring a baseline level of competence.
But it’s Rogue that we’re more bullish on long-term. They brought in several young players between splits and if even one of them turns into a long-term starter, they can call this year a success.
The last spot: Misfits, SK, Schalke
We see three teams vying for the last playoff spot in the region. They’re the same three teams that fought over it last split, when a single win separated SK in sixth place and Misfits in eighth.
Misfits are hoping that eighth-place finish was a fluke and that they can play more coordinated as a team this split. They have the solo lane talent to keep pace in the current meta, but it’s unclear whether the bot lane can keep up.
The ironic thing is that solo lane play was the weakness of both SK and Schalke, and SK at least are doing something about it with a substitution in the top lane. Former starter Jorge “Werlyb” Moreno-Torres may be a little disheartened with the way things went down, but we’ve seen what he is at this level, and SK were probably smart to try something new.
Schalke’s change came in the jungle where former G2 jungler Kim “Trick” Gang-yun is back in the region. Jonas “Memento” Elmarghichi had a strong start for the team in the spring but could not sustain it. Ultimately, our voters thing the solo lane talent level and increased coordination from Misfits will carry the day out of these three teams, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see them combust either.
Getting closer: Vitality, Splyce
These teams are solid contenders for playoffs, but we’re not sure how much closer they’ll get to the top than that. Vitality can point to some health issues at the end of last split as a reason for their early playoff exit.
Splyce are well-coached and grew as a team in the Spring Split, but we’re not sure they have the collection of talent needed to contest for the top spots in the league.
Near the peak: Origen, Fnatic
It’s easy to forget how bad Fnatic looked in the early part of last split. We seriously wondered if playoffs were possible in the middle. Of course, they closed out the split as one of the hottest teams in Europe, but a playoff disappointment to a reeling Origen squad didn’t inspire much confidence. Are they playing with fire by bringing in a second jungler to push starter Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen? We’ll find out when the split starts.
Origen took down Fnatic in convincing fashion by abusing the latter’s inability to counter meta strategies. But Origen themselves were bamboozled by G2’s coordinated chaos, failing to win a single game off the kings of Europe across two separate best-of-five playoff series. They will be tempted to start playing like G2 given the strength of their solo laners, but can they get over the peak trying to be like G2?
The G2 tier
To be fair, trying to be like G2 is not a bad way to approach the Summer Split. G2 Esport are the best team in the world. Of course they’re the best team in their region.
All photos via Riot Games.