2020 LEC Summer Split Week 4 Upsets & Mid-Split Takeaways
The fourth week of the 2020 LEC Summer Split was one to remember, if for all the wrong reasons. We didn’t see a ton of top-tier play, but rather many mind-boggling upsets that seemingly came out of nowhere. As a whole, the region is also in a strange place right now, so let’s do a quick summary of what happened so far in the 2020 LEC Summer Split and focus on some interesting mid-split takeaways that might explain what’s going on and how this will affect things going forward.
Coming into the split, there was a very clear Top 4: G2 Esports, Fnatic, MAD Lions and Origen. This list was always open for interpretation and discussion, but it was, in many ways, as sound and logical as possible. Seeing how we’re currently at the halfway point of the split, it’s fair to say that things didn’t exactly pan out as expected. Now, make no mistake: Europe is still as top-heavy a region as they come and, like always, G2 and Fnatic will once again rise through the ranks and solidify their spots at the top. It’s never a matter of “if” but “when.” That’s just how the script is written, and history has proven that there’s very little variation to this age-old formula.
The fact that Origen lost to Vitality, Fnatic to Schalke 04, G2 Esports to Excel, and MAD Lions to Misfits Gaming tells us one thing: there’s very little rhyme or reason behind what’s going on. Some teams didn’t draft that well and were left without a coherent and potent win condition. Others just made a couple of early blunders and failed to regain control in time. There’s also Origen who sort of fall under both categories — not to mention that they’ve regressed far beyond what anyone expected coming into Summer.
It’s like everyone’s inherent flaws are catching up with them as if they’re becoming more visible and exploitable. There’s very little uncertainty these days: you know full well who’s good at what and how each team wants to play things out. This means that preparing for a team is much easier than it was in Spring, making things a lot more competitive.
Still, the fact that teams that were previously bottom-tier dwellers (Vitality and SK Gaming, particularly) are now finding some success doesn’t mean they’re instantly contenders. They’re not, nor will they reach such a coveted status any time soon. They improved, that’s a fact, but others also deteriorated performance-wise, which means the gap between the two shrunk seemingly overnight.
However, there is an endlessly interesting thing that’s happening: these new kids on the block are not only hungry for the spotlight, but they’ve also gained enough experience to actually challenge and change the LEC status quo ever so slightly. In other words, no one should be overly surprised if MAD Lions and Rogue end up representing Europe at this year’s Worlds — at the expense of Origen, a team many thought would have the edge. Both rookie-filled squads are honing their skills and are doubling down on their biggest strengths. Origen might have more experience (and the best top laner in the region), but they lack the creativity, tenacity, and layered arsenal of weapons compared to the two greenhorns. They’re also somewhat timid in playstyle, which is out of sync with the current meta.
The difference between these teams is becoming less and less noticeable as time goes on and that should, in turn, make the coming weeks that much more interesting and volatile. The playoffs are also up in the air, with multiple teams separated by the slimmest of mnargins.
The old cliché “every game counts” might be trite and banal in 2020, but it is by no means incorrect, especially at this point. Keep an eye on MAD and Rogue going forward as their youth and inexperience have become their biggest assets.
Four weeks have gone by, and there’s very little rationale behind what’s going on in the LEC. Now, granted, Europe is always chaotic during the first few weeks of the split, so this is by no means a strange state. Regardless, a bit of consistency wouldn’t hurt anyone, especially given that most teams didn’t change all that much, if at all.
G2 Esports are far less consistent than expected, Fnatic are experimenting a bit too much (and aren’t finding any success in the process), Origen have imploded beyond reason, and Misfits Gaming have exceptional highs and mind-boggling, abysmal lows. It’s absolute chaos in every sense of the word. Depending on your allegiance, you’re either a) reveling in the uncertainty or b) pulling your hair out trying to understand what’s going on and why.
As a result, we have a five-way tie for fifth. Five teams have four wins and five losses on the board, which is strange for lack of a better word. No one expected SK Gaming, Excel Esports, or Team Vitality to have so many wins by the Summer Split’s the halfway point. A .500 record is nothing to scoff at, regardless of how it was attained. Above this gatekeeper-like kerfuffle, we have G2 Esports and Misfits Gaming with just a slightly better record and a two-way tie for first between MAD Lions and Rogue.
The next breed of LEC talent has certainly benefited from this chaos primarily because MAD and Rogue are the only two teams that aren’t making egregious mistakes. They are by no means perfect, but they played well in Spring. Once the Summer Split came along, they continued where they left off. This makes all the sense in the world, but they’re the only ones who didn’t have a dip in performance for some strange reason. Instead, they’re building on their recent success and are becoming stronger and stronger as time goes on.
Are they truly the two best teams in the LEC? Not really, although it’s hard to fault them seeing just how bad and inconsistent G2 Esports and Fnatic looked over the last couple of weeks. Granted, the current and former “kings of Europe” are experimenting a bit too much (the main reason why they’re ranked so “low”), but it’s still a surprise to see them lose to the likes of Excel Esports and Schalke 04, respectively.
Both LEC titans should’ve been able to get the win even on a bad day, but they didn’t. Now we’re left to wonder why that’s the case. Did they find themselves in too big of a deficit? Or is this a sign of the things to come? No one’s quite sure, but there’s a lot at stake seeing how the World Championship is mere months away. Things aren’t dire by any stretch of the imagination, but we’ve seen situations in the past where just a single win or loss ends up being the difference between going to Worlds and waiting things out on the sidelines.
The LEC is now on a break until next week, so everyone will have a bit of time to recuperate and fix their most egregious flaws. There are still many games left to be played and nothing is set in stone at this point. Everyone has a puncher’s chance, but with the clock ticking and the playoffs being right around the corner, we can expect all 10 permanent partners to be on their best behavior. Tune in on July 17 as Origen takes on Misfits, followed by the Match of the Week: G2 Esports vs. MAD Lions, a barnburner in every sense of the word!