As we approach the start of the 2019 Summer Split in Europe, we must take a look at the pack of wolves, hungry to take home the LEC championship. There are plenty of familiar faces searching for success while some newer names are gracing the scene for the first time as well.
From veterans like Martin “Rekkles” Larssen to newcomers like Emil “Larssen” Larsson, many players are looking to make their mark on European League of Legends—especially with a spot at Worlds 2019 up for grabs. Which one of them will be the catalyst for their team? Let us examine the top five players to watch this upcoming split.
Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro – Team Vitality
We have come a long way from Team Vitality’s run at Worlds 2018, where they barely missed a playoff berth out of that year’s Group of Death. One loss against Cloud9 was all that separated them from a quarterfinals appearance against Afreeca Freecs.
Their efforts, however, helped inspire a new age of aggressive European playstyles that has come to dominate the League of Legends world today. As their coach Jakob “YamatoCannon” Mebdi said, “Do not try to chase anyone, don’t try to copy anyone, just be confident.”
Unfortunately, last split was a tough one for Vitality. The team was swept in the first round of the 2019 Spring Playoffs. For this Summer Split, Team Vitality and their fiery mid laner Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro must channel the same energy they had during that Worlds run in order to find success.
Jiizuke isn’t one to shy away from aggressive play—we’ve seen this throughout his short career in the LEC, whether it was on LeBlanc, Ekko, or Irelia. This new, fast-paced meta could be incredible for Jiizuke and Team Vitality, but they have to stay true to themselves and remain confident in their abilities, even when trying out new compositions and strategies.
Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen – Fnatic
Last season, Fnatic had their dominant run to the LEC Spring Finals cut short by Origen in the third round of the playoffs. It was a disappointing end to a split full of ups and downs—because of this, the team decided to bring up Daniel “Dan” Hockley from the Fnatic Academy team in order to “increase [their] depth and strength in the jungle position.”
Broxah had plenty to say about this move, though. He didn’t agree with the decision to bring up Dan and thought that “[his] individual performance in Spring Split was solid overall, and that [he has] always been an important asset to the team as a whole.”
It will be interesting to see how this new move will affect how Broxah plays, both with his team and individually. Although it doesn’t seem like he has any problems with his teammates, this could cause some unneeded friction between the 21-year-old jungler and the coaching staff.
On the other hand, this could be the spark that Broxah needed to elevate his game to another level. With his talents in question, Broxah could use this situation as motivation for a dominant 2019 Summer Split. Alongside a cast of experienced stars like Rekkles and Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau, look for Broxah to prove his worth among the best junglers in the league.
Emil “Larssen” Larsson – Rogue
Simply put, Rogue was horrible last split. The team finished with an abysmal 2-16 record and couldn’t find any success with the roster it had built. With a lack of true firepower across every position, Rogue needed a completely fresh start with their Summer Split lineup.
In the offseason, Rogue promoted every player from their Academy team, Rogue Esports Club. That team was coming off of a dominant split in the Ultraliga, where it won the season one championship. Now, Rogue is hoping to find the same kind of success with the same roster in the LEC.
At the core of this young squad lies Emil “Larssen” Larsson, who has been touted by many analysts and fans as the next up and coming European mid lane prospect. The 19-year-old Swede hasn’t had played much at the LEC level—he only played two games for the disbanded H2K Gaming back in the 2018 Summer Split.
Larssen has shown plenty of promise in the tournaments he’s taken part in, however, like the Ultraliga and the 2018 Summer European Masters. There is plenty of room to learn this split, alongside young talents like 20-year-old top laner Finn Wiestål and 17-year-old jungler Kacper “Inspired” Słoma. The Summer Split should be bright for Rogue’s budding new roster.
Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten – Misfits
Misfits Gaming was called a superteam by many analysts and fans last season, so it was a pretty big shock to see them so far down the standings at the end of the 2019 Spring Split. The team simply took a nosedive after two good weeks and could never find a way back to the top. Now, Misfits has decided to run it back with the same roster, hoping for different results.
For that to happen, we will have to see a lot more production from people not named Steven “Hans Sama” Liv. This could be Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten’s chance to rise back to stardom after a couple of failed seasons in North America. He still is talented enough to handle his own in lane, as shown with his decent early game stats. If he can find his form to help Hans Sama this split, Misfits could push for a playoff run this time around.
In fact, the entire team has plenty of talent, but the only problem lies in their lack of synergy in the mid-game. Misfits’ shotcalling and decision making cost them many games in the Spring Split and unless they figured out those problems out with new coach Hussain “Moose” Moosvi, this roster might not find much success this season either.
Martin “Wunder” Hansen – G2 Esports
G2 Esports might be the best team Europe has ever created, and it all came from Luka “Perkz” Perković and his willingness to move over to the AD carry position for superstar Rasmus “Caps” Winther. Ever since the two best mid laners in the LEC joined forces, they have been an unstoppable force that has won them an MSI championship.
This European juggernaut has revolutionized the way League of Legends is played in the West—teams are now experimenting with creative compositions and are playing with aggression that we have not seen before. People are rushing to find the next unique strategy before G2 Esports gets their hands on it.
Although Caps and Perkz are usually under the spotlight for this superteam, one man who has shown up for them time and time again is top laner Martin “Wunder” Hansen. Wunder has been arguably the second most important player on this team, with his ability to carry with a multitude of champions.
For example, Wunder’s now-iconic Pyke top is undefeated at international events, and shows how flexible the player can be. This coming season could open Pandora’s Box for the rest of the LEC as G2 Esports unleashes more unique picks for their talented top laner.