The LEC Spring Split has reached its triumphant end.
This spring was full of surprises. League of Legends fans witnessed Europe make history with its first final in which Fnatic and G2 Esports did not make an appearance. The final also became one of the most-watched LEC series of all time, and it culminated in a nail-biting reverse sweep from the MAD Lions, who became LEC champions and earned a ticket to Iceland to represent Europe at the Mid-Season Invitational.
With all the excitement of the playoffs, the beginning of the split seems like ancient history. The meta evolved drastically throughout the course of the split, but there are some picks that have consistently been the region’s strongest, securing win after win for the teams that managed to sneak them through the ban phase.
It remains to be seen how much the European meta will define what’s played at MSI, but we’ve already seen that Europe’s picks are having an influence on the global meta. In an interview with Korizon Esports, DWG Kia support Beryl explained how Rogue’s drafting influenced him to run the Senna/Cho’Gath bottom lane in DWK’s game against Hanhwa Life.
We broke down some of Europe’s most iconic picks from the Spring Split—and no, we don’t mean Karma AD carry.
Kai’Sa: Most picked champion in the LEC
Kai’Sa has stealthily made her way into over 70 games across the LEC in spring. She’s been a consistent presence in pro play since her release in 2018 and has transcended numerous metas to become one of the most successful ADCs. Her kit has a little bit of everything: mobility, mixed damage, a safe laning phase, and incredibly powerful wave clear.
She received only one major patch change this split. Her Icathian Rain (Q) damage was decreased at all ranks to try and control her ability to clear a wave of minions with a press of a button. That change came in on Patch 11.4, which was enacted for week six of the regular season. Afterward, Kai’Sa continued to be picked consistently right up until the finals.
Kai’Sa will most likely continue to make her presence felt on the international stage at MSI. As one of the few ADCs with any kind of mobility, her ability to reset her positioning in teamfights to optimize her damage output makes her one of the safest picks in the game. Despite this safety, she also has some of the strongest one-vs-one and pick potential of any ADC, with her ultimate’s ability to quickly transport her to any fight.
Udyr: The star of the playoffs
While Kai’Sa was the most picked across the entirety of spring, we need to give credit where it’s due to everyone’s favorite bearskin-wearing jungler, Udyr. Although reasonably popular in the regular season, his priority shot up in the playoffs. Schalke 04’s Gilius logged eight games on the champion throughout S04’s playoff run. He was picked three times in the finals, twice by Elyoya and once by Inspired, but actually doesn’t hold a particularly impressive win rate throughout the playoffs overall at only 38 percent.
Udyr’s strength comes almost entirely from the viability of Turbo Chemtank, which received a hefty price reduction in Patch 11.2. This reduction in price made it one of the more cost-effective items in the game, and a few minor nerfs since that patch have done little to decrease its viability. It’s a strong item for Hecarim and Udyr, both of whom require some kind of movement speed boost for their engage to achieve maximum effectiveness.
It’s hardly a coincidence that these three junglers were among the most-picked junglers throughout the playoffs. Chemtank is one of the strongest jungle items currently in the game, and a jungler’s viability often hinges on whether they can successfully build it.
Gragas and Seraphine: Bringing out the flex picks
Not normally two champions grouped together, Seraphine and Gragas had the privilege of being the only two champions to be played in three roles in the LEC. Flexibility in drafting was always an accolade reserved for G2 at international events, and it appears the rest of the LEC is catching up in terms of lane swapping champions.
Seraphine has been incredibly strong in all roles in the LEC, with games in mid, support and AD carry. Her highest win rate is in the ADC role, with a 100-percent win rate in three games. She’s been most popular in mid lane, with seven games across spring. Her popularity came from her ability to abuse the Moonstone Renewer/Staff of Flowing Water item combination, one that enabled her to put out ridiculous healing numbers to sustain her team through even the most hopeless of fights.
Gragas, on the other hand, has found his place in top, jungle, and support. He’s always been a staunch favorite in the meta for his reliable crowd control and ability to build either tank or damage. His most successful role in the regular season was undoubtedly the top lane, with 25 games and a 56-percent win rate. In the top lane, he was the preferred pocket pick for G2’s Wunder, who held a 100-percent win rate on the champion throughout the regular season, according to Games of Legends.
His priority flipped heading into the playoffs, and he became more commonly picked as a support. He was the firm favorite of both G2’s Mikyx and Schalke 04’s Limit, each holding a 75-percent win rate on the champ.
Twisted Fate: The king of the mid lane
Twisted Fate is quickly becoming one of Europe’s most iconic champions. He had the highest pick and ban presence throughout the regular season of the LEC at 96.7 percent, and the best KDA of any mid lane champion in the regular season at 7.3, according to Oracle’s Elixir.
In an interview with Dot Esports at the beginning of the split, Twisted Fate enthusiast Larssen revealed his inspiration for the pick came from its strength against European teams in the hands of Damwon at the 2020 World Championships.
Part of Twisted Fate’s popularity has come about from a fundamental shift in European playstyles. For years, Europe’s mid laners were renowned and feared as some of the best mechanical players in the West, and their junglers were there to enable that playstyle. Nowadays, though, the job of the mid laner often is to make their jungler look good. The carry jungle meta that’s been present since 2020 shows no signs of going away, and with that meta comes cross-map fighting—and lots of it.
Mid laners need to be able to drop everything and back up their jungler in any fight, and there’s no better champion for that than Twisted Fate. With his ultimate and the Teleport summoner spell, he can make it to any fight on the map quicker than you can say “bot missing.”
Europe’s meta read this split has been incredibly solid, with the region championing Chemtank junglers, in particular, that have enabled some of their greatest players to truly shine. The true test of Europe’s, and more specifically MAD Lions’, champion pool, will come at the Mid-Season Invitational. Drafting at international events is like playing 5D chess with both hands tied behind your back, and a consistent meta read heading into the tournament can often make or break a team’s performance on stage.
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