The 2019 LEC Regional Qualifier begins tomorrow. Four teams will be fighting for the region’s last two spots in the 2019 League of Legends World Championship. But who will be chasing an international title and who will be left at home watching from the sidelines?
As the final boss of the qualifier, Fnatic have already guaranteed either Europe’s second or third seed. So this qualifier is really a battle between Splyce, Origen, and FC Schalke 04 to see who will take the final seed and join Fnatic and G2 as Europe’s representatives at Worlds.
The winner of the regional qualifier will take the LEC’s second seed at Worlds and move on to the group stage beginning Oct. 12. The team that comes in second at the qualifier will begin their Worlds journey in the play-in stage, which starts on Oct. 2.
Here’s a quick look at the teams that will be competing in the LEC Regional Qualifier this weekend.
Origen have been in a massive slump since their second-place finish in the Spring Split. Origen’s failure to adapt to the meta and inability to close out games have, in part, led to their downfall this summer. Additionally, they maintained the same controlled playstyle from the spring, but without any changes, Origen became too predictable. And their LEC counterparts were able to easily take advantage of this. By the end of the split, they fell to eighth place with a 7-11 record.
If Origen want to make an upset happen, their top laner Barney “Alphari” Morris will need to be a key contributor. He’s been the team’s most consistent players this season. And while the chances of Origen making it through the first stage of the qualifier are meek, they do have the scouting advantage.
The last time they were on stage was in week nine of the regular split, which means they’ve been able to study the other teams without being scouted themselves. And perhaps during this time they’ve been able to redefine their style. They might have something new to show by the time their first-round match starts.
Just like Origen, Splyce will be running the gauntlet from the bottom. Coming into the Summer Split, Splyce were expected to be a top contender—and they were during the regular split. They finished third and were ready to face their fifth-place opponent, Rogue, in the quarterfinals. But Rogue crushed Splyce in a shocking 3-0 victory.
Splyce play a slow, controlled game and they’re adept at stalling games so they can scale later. But against Rogue, who have a better early game, Splyce couldn’t keep up and were out-rotated at every turn.
The biggest determining factor in Splyce’s gauntlet run will be whether they can adapt to teams with a strong early game. This, at least, shouldn’t be a problem against their first opponent, Origen. Origen’s early game has faltered this summer, so Splyce’s scale-for-late style should give them an advantage.
FC Schalke 04
Last year, Schalke were one series away from making it to Worlds. And then every player on that starting roster except Elias “Upset” Lipp left to pursue other opportunities. Now, with an almost completely different team, Schalke have found themselves in the same position as last year.
Their new jungler, Kim “Trick” Gang-yun, and mid laner, Felix “Abbedagge” Braun, have added a boost to the team’s overall strength. Together, they’ve been able to provide support to their already strong bot lane duo of Upset and Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun. Additionally, Trick has done a fantastic job at making plays for the rest of his team. And in a best-of-five scenario, he should have no problem swinging the series in Schalke’s favor.
Schalke are favored against both Splyce and Origen due to their stronger early game and there’s potential for them to steal the second seed from Fnatic. But this seems unlikely, especially considering Fnatic beat them 3-0 last week in the semifinals.
Fnatic have spent the entire Summer Split in G2’s shadow. They brought G2 to five games twice in the playoffs but failed to defeat them either time. Additionally, throughout the regular split, Fnatic were uncontested for second place in the standings. Without G2 to stop them, they’re the clear favorite to finish first in the qualifier and secure Europe’s second seed at Worlds.
Since Fnatic have already locked in a spot at Worlds, they’re simply trying to avoid going through the play-in stage at this point. Since they have an undefeated record against Schalke and Origen and an even record against Splyce over the course of the Summer Split, Fnatic should have no problem tearing through whoever meets them in the final stage.
The first match of the LEC Regional Qualifier begins tomorrow, Sept. 13 at 10am CT.