LEC power rankings: 2021 Summer Split week 5

Just three weeks remain on the LEC schedule.

Photo via Riot Games

Just three weeks remain on the 2021 LEC Summer Split schedule and the playoff field is starting to formulate. Apart from some unlikely races shaping up in the middle of the standings, the LEC is looking pretty familiar to fans of the league. 

But the next three weeks of the regular season will determine which League of Legends squads advance to the postseason and who goes home early. With just three games separating the top seven teams in the league, we could realistically see the entire LEC shift between now and the end of the split. There’s still time for teams like G2 Esports and Astralis—what an unlikely couple—to climb up through the standings and make a push for one of Europe’s top seeds at Worlds.

With five weeks in the books and three left to play in the Summer Split, here are our LEC power rankings. 

RankTeamRank change
2)MAD Lions
4)G2 Esports+1
7)Excel Esports-1
8)Team Vitality-1
9)Schalke 04
10)SK Gaming

Playing out the string: Schalke 04, SK Gaming

Photo via Riot Games

A little over halfway through the Summer Split, Schalke and SK have essentially bowed out of the playoff race. Even teams slightly above them in our rankings, such as Astralis and Vitality, look somewhat competitive and have something to look forward to in the future—whether it be near or distant. In the case of SK and Schalke, though, it appears as though their seasons are emphatically over. The two teams dug themselves into far too deep of holes early in the Summer Split, winning a combined five games between the two of them through the split’s first five weeks. 

Schalke have only managed to win one of their last seven games, while SK have only won one game in the month of July. It’s not that these teams are bad, it’s that they’ve been consistently bad over an extended period of time. All things considered, it would be shocking to see either one of these squads make a late-season run to the finish line, considering how much turbulence they’ve inflicted upon themselves since taking off. 

Signs of inconsistency: Astralis, Excel Esports, Team Vitality

Photo via Riot Games

Astralis have won three of their last four games. And while they did the classic gatekeeper thing of beating bad teams and losing to good ones, that does (rightfully) paint Astralis in a more consistent light than maybe this heading would have you think. The LEC settled down a bit this past week, but the occasional upset still loomed and none was bigger than Astralis taking down Misfits on July 10. Fans of the latter likely woke up in cold sweats all week as the voices whispered “Mistifs are collapsing again” and “Razork is overrated.” But those are the voices’ opinions, not this power ranker’s.

On a more serious note, Astralis played well from behind after a disastrous bottom lane fight saw them go down five kills to one. They focused on stacking early dragons and passing the baton to MagiFelix’s Sylas to carry the day—no small task against Vetheo’s Akali, who was starting to run away with the game. If you can beat the teams you’re supposed to, play well from behind, and pull off the occasional upset, you deserve a shot at the playoffs. Check, check, and check, Astralis.

Excel came crashing down to Earth a bit this week with tough losses to two of the best teams on the continent in MAD Lions and Fnatic. They played both games well and Markoon and Advienne continue to show signs of potential. It’s not the Year of the Duck by any means, but let’s call a spade a spade and give one of the most memed-on players in the LEC his due. He’s providing veteran stability (everyone’s favorite cliché) and undoubtedly doing more off the Rift as well for a team that looks so close to taking that next step in an exciting way. Excel fans should hold their heads up despite the two losses last week.

Vitality are quickly sprinting away with the “disappointment of the split” award. Like Excel, when it was evident that things weren’t working, it turned to roster swaps. And like Excel, it didn’t do the boring thing and go for known commodities. Instead, Vitality swapped out one rookie for another (granted, that’s its own can of worms) and brought former AGO Rogue standout Szygenda back into the fold to replace SLT, who had been struggling mightily as of late. For a roster that made no bones about its plans to contend at the top of the LEC, Vitality will need more than just an extremely devastating early mid-jungle duo, nice as that is, to do so.

Fighting for contention: Fnatic, G2 Esports, Misfits

Photo via Riot Games

The fight for the top of the LEC is fiercer than ever, with multiple teams vying for position before the start of playoffs in three weeks. Every team in the top five has shown sparks of brilliance, which should make for an exciting race heading into next month.

Fnatic, for example, have risen up from the ashes of last season and the risky decisions of the team have paid off—for now. They’re sitting on top of the standings with an 8-3 record, with Bwipo being able to play at his own pace as the roster’s jungler. He’s quickly found his own style of play, and with Adam also performing admirably in his LEC debut, the perennial European champs have found new life with its revamped lineup.

G2, on the other hand, haven’t been nearly as convincing with their play. From Caps’ performance issues to team cohesion and macro problems, we haven’t really gotten to see the kings of old return. They did beat Rogue last weekend in convincing fashion, but they’ve yet to show any consistency. The previous weekend, they lost to both a bottom-three team in Excel, as well as Misfits.

Speaking of which, Misfits have fallen back down to Earth a bit after their blazing start through the Summer Split. After winning six of their first seven matches, they ended up losing three of their four series in weeks four and five. They aren’t out of the picture, but they’ll now have to show their resiliency in the face of adversity. Luckily, they’re facing off against two bottom-three squads in Excel and Schalke this week, which should help them get back on track.

A definitive pairing: Rogue, MAD Lions

Photo via Riot Games

There used to be three inevitabilities in life: death, taxes, and Fnatic and G2 occupying the top two spots in the LEC. But 2020 was the breakout year for a new era of LEC talent and we’re finally seeing that breakout solidified in 2021. MAD and Rogue are looking better than ever and it’s highly likely that they’ll be the two teams fighting for LEC supremacy in the Summer Split finals. 

Rogue’s playstyle has been both lauded and loathed by fans and commentators alike. Ranging from “risk averse” to “boring,” the general consensus is that Rogue aren’t the team to risk it all on coinflip smites and base races. Their early game is frighteningly dominant and they’ve been the first team to secure three towers in over 80 percent of their LEC games this summer. Their kill count in the early game is comparatively low at a 55-percent first blood rate, but they make up for that lack of aggression with pixel-perfect objective control. They’re not the LEC’s flashiest team, but they’re undoubtedly one of its deadliest.

MAD used to be one of the LEC’s most aggressive teams. They’d fight anywhere and everywhere, and although that was sometimes beneficial, it was a tactic that got them sucked into the madness of scrappy games against G2 and Fnatic. But with experience has come a tempering of that aggression. They’re still brawl happy in the early game, with the second-highest first blood percentage in the league at 64 percent, but they’ve also worked on their objective control. They’re not coin flipping every Baron anymore, which is a development made largely thanks to superstar jungler Elyoya. His playstyle is wise beyond his years and he’s proved to be an absolutely invaluable asset to MAD. 

If the finals were to take place tomorrow between these two teams, results would suggest that Rogue would be crowned the Summer Split champions. But nothing is ever quite that simple. MAD hold the mental advantage after reverse sweeping Rogue in the Spring Split finals and they’ve now finally got some real international experience under their belts. Their next matchup will be on July 24 and it could well be the practice run for the last match of the summer. 

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