The 4 Biggest Losers of the 2019 LEC Summer Split
The majority of the season finally behind us. Let’s take a closer look at the four most prominent 2019 LEC Summer Split losers, and what they did to warrant a spot on such an underwhelming list. We already went over a couple of teams we deem as winners. It’s safe to say that — even though the LEC as a whole reached new heights throughout 2019 — a lot of teams lost momentum, hype, or something else entirely. In other words, we have more losers than winners.
The thing is, while the region as a whole prospered in ways we never thought were possible, many competitors (permanent partners, rather) couldn’t keep up. They couldn’t step up when it mattered the most, which meant they didn’t leave much of a mark once all was said and done.
And, right off the bat, it’s important to highlight that we all lost as a result. The fans were disappointed, the region wasn’t as competitive as it could have been, and many narratives put to rest. As an example, if a team is unable to be competitive for one season, we can still trust in their ability to correct course and improve in a couple of months. If that happens two years in a row, then there’s a reason for concern; then it’s time for us to re-evaluate what we think of these challengers and why.
There aren’t many LEC teams that deserve our full benefit of the doubt. Just two — G2 Esports and Fnatic. Two organizations that have been playing hot potato with the LEC trophy for years. No matter the meta or line-up, these two organizations always found a way to persevere, even when we thought they were done for.
Everyone else, however, has to prove their worth. In the end, it seems like Europe didn’t change much as a region — it’s still as top-heavy as in years prior. Perhaps that’s visible now more than ever because only two teams can thrive in such a ludicrous meta. Everyone else is just taking wild stabs in the dark and hoping for the best. Sometimes they make it work, but these flashes of brilliance rarely last long enough actually to warrant long-term success.
Three of the teams below failed much more than we can somewhat elaborate in this format. They lost more than just a competitive season. They lost our trust and momentum (if they even had any in the first place), along with more than just a couple of fans. Watching your team lose doesn’t make you want to abandon ship per se. But watching them fumble with even the most essential things — without making any concrete improvement over lengthy periods — does. If you’re a fan of their history, you start realizing that you’re chained to nostalgia, which is always a cunning beast.
You realize that you’re carrying the memories of your team’s successes within you; you feel like it happened so recently, and yet years have passed.
If, on the other hand, you’re a fan of the players, then you’re no less frustrated. You want to see them don a different jersey, to wear a brand-new logo, and to stand a chance of once again attaining success. And the sooner they sign with a different team, the sooner they can make that a reality, rather than just wishful thinking.
The remaining two didn’t lose as much, but still, deserve a spot on the list nonetheless.
So without any further ado, let’s take a closer look at the four biggest 2019 LEC Summer Split losers, listed in no particular order!
The biggest loser this time around has to be Origen. The reason why is relatively simple — they were set up for success and yet still failed to capitalize. On paper, everything was going in their favor. They had the experience, the mechanical prowess, the in-game shot-callers, and leaders, along with a stacked coaching staff filled with analysts, psychologists, coaches, the whole nine yards.
And to their credit, they found a way to make it work back in Spring. While others struggled to maintain a respectable level of play, Origen found their groove and stuck to it. They weren’t exactly blowing anyone’s mind, but they were solid. They won through stellar team cohesion and fantastic shot-calling, which meant they weren’t exactly the flashiest of teams, but they didn’t need to be. Their style worked, and it got the job done, which was the only thing that mattered.
As a result, they finished the split in second place — a spectacular achievement. While they did get outclassed by G2 Esports in just 72 minutes, there was still a lot to like about this Origen line-up. Many felt their initial success was just the beginning.
Boy was everyone wrong.
Once Summer came along, Origen was as inconsistent and average as they were in Spring. They struggled with even the most basic things, but we all knew what they were capable of, so no one sounded the alarms. But the weeks went by, and they didn’t get any better. Fortunately, the players themselves were no less confident — they had full faith in their preparation and convinced that this was just a small bump in the road. But it wasn’t meant to be.
That resurgence, that upswing never came; Origen never improved. They still had fantastic games here and there, but they were too few and far between. Despite this, they would still retain their chance of reaching the World Championship because of their Spring Split ranking — they just had to go through the regional qualifier. That, in and of itself isn’t the hardest of journeys, although it does require ample endurance and grit. You have to play three Best of 5s to win the whole thing (in Origen’s case, that is), but if there was ever a team that had enough experience and veteran presence necessary to pull it off, it had to be Origen.
On paper, that is. Without their starting jungler by their side, they were bested by Splyce in relatively close 2-3 fashion, which meant their 2019 season was officially over.
Origen is the only LEC team that attained both tremendous success and crushing failure all in one season. They did just enough to get us hyped, before ultimately failing to repeat their performance. In the end, however, it felt like they flew too close to the Sun.
Origen’s failure meant Europe lost one of its capable contenders. Their regular-season run was a tumultuous ride, but even though it ended on an underwhelming note, they still have a lot to go over and learn from. If they take it the right way, this can be an invaluable opportunity for growth. And who knows, maybe they’ll step up and attain redemption once the 2020 Spring Split comes around? The odds are stacked in their favor.
This is a tough one. Saying that Misfits Gaming disappointed would be like beating a dead horse — we all know it, we’re all fully aware, and yet we’re still baffled and irritated that a team with so much talent couldn’t get off the ground and compete at the highest of levels. One has to wonder: what was missing? They had everything in spades. Experience, shot-calling, mechanical prowess, you name it. One quick look at the starting line-up was all you needed to start watering at the mouth.
It was a bona fide super team, and it should have taken Europe by storm. “Should” being the keyword here. The thing is, the fans, the analysts, the media, everyone wants to see a hyper-competitive region. It’s in everyone’s best interest. Iron sharpens iron, and a region in which many different teams trade heavy blows in an attempt to conquer the throne is a region that will undoubtedly possess immense strength and potential.
Everyone expected a ton from Misfits, and with good reason. To say that they disappointed just doesn’t cut it — the phrasing is too mild for what the majority of fans feel. First, we were confused, then we laughed, mocked, and eventually cried. The final stage of this whole journey is indifference. To have this much potential on paper and yet to realize none of it is blasphemous.
Finally, a lot of time has passed since Misfits were last competitive. Two full years, in fact. And so a key question rises — what have they done to deserve our benefit of the doubt? Two years of absolute mediocrity is more than enough to be considered a middle-of-the-pack team at best. We need to adjust our expectations and accept the fact that this is not the Misfits of yesteryear. Not even close.
If anything, their Academy line-up showed a lot of promise whenever they got the opportunity to play on the LEC stage. Maybe that’s the right way going forward? Who knows. What is for sure, however, is the fact that Misfits should no longer be considered as a top-tier team, challenger, or organization. They’re mediocre at best and will have a lot of proving to do once 2020 comes around.
Misfits Gaming isn’t the only team that managed to disappoint us far beyond what we expected. Vitality’s incredible rise back in 2018 — highlighted by them almost getting out of groups — told us one thing very explicitly: Europe had a brand-new contender; a team of awe-inspiring potential and flexibility.
Vitality is a team unafraid of throwing down with anyone in the world, regardless of pedigree or presumed strength. When Vitality played to the best of their ability and got on the same page and imposed their will, they were an absolute marvel to watch. Such bravado and style were rarely seen in the world of competitive League.
But it didn’t last for long. Once the meta shifted, it was as if they became far less dangerous. In a way, they pioneered the crazy, chaotic meta. They were the ones who opted to throw caution out the window and skirmish from the very get-go. But once that became the go-to way of playing the game, Vitality didn’t have an answer. When everyone’s doing the same thing, they couldn’t stand out.
Their biggest asset, their biggest strength, was once all of a sudden neutralized. And Vitality couldn’t adapt, nor did they find an alternate path towards success. They did qualify for the Summer Split playoffs (by the skin of their teeth). However, they didn’t do much afterward. In fact, they didn’t do anything at all.
This team needs to change sooner rather than later if they want to get back near the top of the region.
Finally, we have Schalke 04. Unlike the three teams above, Schalke never even attained any great success over the years, barring that one finals appearance in 2018 Summer. They were always just “solid.” And year after year it feels like they’re moments from breaking through, from finally doing something worth mentioning — and yet it never happens. 2019 was much of the same, and that’s exactly what’s most depressing. Even with a legendary Korean jungler (who made his name in Europe) in their line-up, they were unable to leave a mark.
At this point, they’re the definition of a gatekeeper. Success always eludes them regardless of any external factor or starting line-up. They’re the Tantalus of Europe — still within proximity to the LEC pantheon, and yet never close enough to become a part of it.
That’s it for our list of four biggest 2019 LEC Summer Split losers! But more importantly, this is a list of four teams that didn’t manage to sync up in time; four teams who couldn’t compete when it mattered the most. And they lost a ton, but so did we. The playoffs were uneventful, and the same goes for the regional qualifier. In the end, only two teams stood above the rest. Everyone below G2 Esports and Fnatic, however, struggled mightily to find an identity and maintain a respectable level of play.
We can only hope that 2020 brings more stability to all these competitors, along with a chance to further grow and develop.