In a league where seven teams are deadlocked for a share of fourth place, it’s hard to define any team’s place in the LEC just yet. Aside from the two teams at the top of the league—who clearly stood out as top-tier contenders after one week of play—much of the league is fiercely locked in a game of chicken that persists up and down the standings.
Week one of the 2021 LEC Spring Split didn’t give away too much in terms of flexibility, but at the very least, the LEC at large will have plenty of opportunities this week to clear up its murky leaderboard. The teams involved in the seven-way tie in the middle of the league with a record of 1-2 each should disperse themselves among the pack this week, while those at the top should be expected to continue their early-season runs of dominance.
Regardless, one win or loss could make all the difference between fourth place and dead last in the LEC right now here in the early portion of the Spring Split – that’s how competitive the LEC is. With that in mind, we asked our League experts to break down what could just be the most competitive region in the entire professional scene. Here are the power rankings for the 2021 LEC Spring Split after one week of play.
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A lot to prove: Team Vitality, Astralis
Relatively solid week one performances where both of these teams won one game apiece is enough to allot them a share of the seven-way tie for fourth. But even as the LEC develops during the early stages of the year, these teams are going to have to make some serious power moves to climb up the rankings.
Vitality’s week one win against Misfits, one of the only teams in the LEC with a positive record, was a good omen for the team’s early-season chances. Additionally, Astralis’ ability to escape preseason expectations surrounding a potentially winless week one was another positive result that could pay dividends down the road.
But, with much of the league at a standstill in terms of win-loss record, it’s still too early to give any props to Vitality and Astralis, who came into the season near the bottom of the table, and continue to do so after an uneventful start to the season. Still, there’s plenty of room for teams near the bottom of the standings to boost their position as time goes on. A clean 2-0 week two from a team like Astralis or Vitality could easily place one of them near the top of the LEC standings.
But don’t count on it. It’s still recommended to exercise caution surrounding these squads’ chances this week considering both of them will have to face off against at least one of the undefeated teams at the top of the LEC this weekend. Astralis goes head-to-head against G2 on Friday, while Vitality meets with Rogue come Saturday. But, if they can walk out of their respective uphill battles without taking too many punches, there might be hope for a gradual climb just yet.
The cusp of contention: Excel Esports, FC Schalke 04, SK Gaming
This group has perhaps been the most surprising of all the LEC competitors- and for varying reasons. Nobody could have expected Excel to take G2 to a 37-minute game, and absolutely nobody could have expected just how close that game would be. The only organization yet to reach playoffs in the LEC, expectations for Excel were at rock bottom heading into 2021, yet somehow the organization has managed to surprise even the most sceptical of viewers.
AD carry Patrik has put the responsibility for carrying the team firmly on his shoulders, and rookie mid laner Czekolad managed to go reasonably even with Caps- the yardstick of success for mid laners in the LEC. Excel have been a surprisingly strong squad in the first week of the LEC, and if they can continue this form they may see themselves creeping up the standings.
The presence of MAD Lions and Schalke 04 in this section of the power rankings, however, is a little less positive. Schalke, after coming off the almost-perfect miracle run that ended their 2020, have suffered greatly from the loss of Odoamne in the top lane. The team’s gameplay has looked shaky, and jungler Gilius has been underperforming in a meta that relies on the power of a carry jungler. MAD’s issues are elsewhere, but their underperformance has been similarly pronounced- the roster went from one of the most exciting in the LEC to a team whose decision making has looked uncharacteristically shaky. Although they possibly got the closest to beating G2 of any team in the super weekend, their game against Misfits exposed the weaknesses of a bot lane who were considered to be one of the best in the league last split.
All of these teams have their individual issues to address, but Excel is currently the only one of the three who is performing above expectations. All have the potential to break into the higher echelons of the LEC, but they’ll need to make some changes before that becomes a realistic possibility.
Steady safe bets: Misfits, MAD Lions, Fnatic
Our power rankings changed quite a bit after Week 1, with a lot of the shuffling coming within our “tiers.” A small sample size makes things tough, but power rankings are about who the best teams are at the moment of writing, and if nothing else, Misfits were our unanimous third-best team because, despite the loss to Vitality, they beat the two other teams in this tier, and outright dominated Fnatic.
In the era of the Goredrinker, HiRit looked the part on Renekton and worked well with Razork on Taliyah. Yes, it’s arguably the strongest top/jungle duo in the game, but it’s one thing to recognize its strength, it’s another to actually perform on it, and yet another to dominate how HiRit and Razork did in their first game ever together on stage. Video stole the spotlight as far as rookies go, and there are concerns about what will happen to him when Zoe is banned out, but, as a wise woman once said, you don’t get to the top by being a one-trick. So far, he might be a one-trick, but he’s also the front-runner for Rookie of the Split.
If it’s not Vetheo, the rookie with the most promising showing in Week 1 was MAD Lions rookie Elyoya (yes, everyone else is a veteran now). The Lions had a brutal schedule this week, and are probably the strongest 1-2 team in the LEC. After the G2 loss, Elyoya went 4/0/8 on Nidalee against Astralis, and 5/5/2 on Graves in the loss to Misfits. Armut also played well in his MAD Lions debut. The worries should have been about these two and how they would integrate into such a tightly-knit group. But the glaring problem has been Humanoid, who went a combined 2/14/20 this week, picking up both of his kills against G2 on Tristana. That cannot continue. On the bright side, odds are it won’t, and if this team starts firing on all cylinders, they’ll reach higher highs than they did in 2020.
For a Fnatic squad who played their first two games without their franchise cornerstone in Rekkles, as well as a new mid laner, losing to Misfits and Rogue doesn’t look horrific. It’s not where they want to be, but all will be forgotten if (and only if) they keep the best jungler in the league in Selfmade on carries, and harness the confidence they played with against FC Schalke 04 and keep taking their frustrations out on an even worse Team Vitality in their first game of Week 2. That one is a must-win.
The undefeated: G2 Esports, Rogue
At the peak of the league sits two teams who have yet to lose a game through the first week of the season: G2 Esports and Rogue.
For G2 fans, this past week gave a taste into the outright firepower of this lineup, especially in the later stages of their matches. The first 10 minutes of their three games weren’t exceptionally dominant, but their teamfighting and macro skills in the mid to late game looked like the best in the league.
According to Oracle’s Elixir, G2 has the fifth-best early game rating, having only secured first blood and first tower in one of their games. They also only had the fifth-highest average gold difference at 15 minutes, behind teams like Rogue, MAD Lions, Misfits, and Team Vitality.
Their game stats past the 15-minute mark, on the other hand, are far and away the best in the LEC. Not only do they lead the league with 62 kills, but they also have the highest mid-late rating of any team. They dominate teamfights, are quicker to the punch, and are decisive with almost every skirmish. If this is G2’s form while getting used to a new AD carry, then they’ll look even scarier once they’ve gotten used to each other’s playstyle.
Meanwhile, Rogue has looked very stable across all three of their first matches, even in the early game. They have the highest early game rating in the league, according to Oracle’s Elixir, and have a skyhigh average gold difference at 15 minutes of 3573.
They might not have the same amount of kills as G2, but they do have the highest KDA of any team in the league. Their objective control has been almost perfect so far, with a 100 percent in Baron control rate, first tower rate, and Rift Herald control rate.
Both teams are thriving right now, with G2 opting for more dominant teamfights, while Rogue is controlling the game with great early game decision making. Ultimately, these two teams have already set the bar high for the rest of the pack to reach in the coming weeks.
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