Biggest 2021 LEC Spring Split Takeaways
The 2021 LEC Spring Split is officially over and there are many conclusions and takeaways we have to go over! Before we delve any deeper, one thing needs to be said: this most recent split was undeniably one of the most exciting ones in the region’s history. Heck, we’re putting it mildly here! Everyone played their part. For the first time in what feels like an eternity, we saw huge sweeping changes in the status quo!
MAD Lions are the current LEC champions. Right behind them are Rogue — yet another young, potent line-up that has shown immense growth and potential. G2 Esports and Fnatic, on the other hand, are currently ranked third and fifth, respectively. Now, there’s nothing overly wrong or shameful with their current position, but it is indicative of the tectonic shifts that are currently taking place. For the first time in a while, they’re the ones playing second-fiddle. And, frankly, it’s a strange sight to behold.
Whether the “Kings of Europe” will eventually bounce back is anyone’s guess at this point, but one thing is for certain: fireworks are all but guaranteed! So, with that little introduction out of the way, let’s start with our biggest 2021 LEC Spring Split takeaways!
Complacency Comes At a Cost
As they say, reaching the top is “easy” — staying there is what’s hard. Sooner or later, we all become complacent. It’s human nature, after all. In the case of G2 Esports, though, one could argue that they endured and persevered as champions much longer than expected.
First of all, consider this: G2 had won four splits in a row. They had a couple of stellar showings on the World Championship stage and even became the first Western team in history to hoist the Mid-Season Invitational trophy back in 2019. They were universally praised, loved, admired, and revered for their immense creativity and mechanical prowess. They could, by all means, “bend” the rules of the game at will and were capable of pulling off the most mind-blowing sweeps and reversals most of us ever had the luxury of witnessing.
Why would they try their hardest day in and day out? They were already more accomplished than any team that came before them and will probably go down in history as the best and most successful Western team of all time. Would you try your hardest if you were in their position? Of course not! They were so darn better than most of their peers and had won the vast majority of their titles without breaking a sweat. The buffer between them and the next team “in line” was far too great, so it’s easy to understand why they became complacent.
At a certain point, G2 started resting on their laurels. They didn’t play as much solo queue as they needed to. Their mechanics deteriorated. Their preparation became less thorough, and eventually, they ended up with a bad read on the meta.
By the time they decided to put in the hours and potentially correct course, it was far too late — MAD Lions and Rogue had too big of a head start. Moreover, they grew and developed in hugely important ways, which eventually allowed them to trade blows with a titan like G2 and — despite all odds — emerge victoriously.
If G2 takes their “fall from grace” in stride, the upcoming Summer Split will be one to remember.
There Are Some New Kids on the Block
MAD Lions and Rogue have finally done it; they’ve etched their names in LEC history — a region that was for so long dominated by only two “kings.” Doing so is worthy of the utmost praise and commendation. Heck, we’re putting it mildly here — their success (MAD Lions’ especially) cannot be overstated enough.
And, even better, we have watched their growth with open eyes. We know darn well of the many times they failed, both regionally and, as of late, internationally. Their triumphs did not come easy, and they deserve all the hype and praise they’ve been getting. To compete on even footing with the likes of G2 and Fnatic and actually win out is simply mind-blowing. For the longest time, such a thing seemed nigh impossible, and yet here we are — on the brink of a new LEC status quo, one that is no longer dominated by just a handful of players.
And boy, is it an exciting time to be a LEC fan! Hopefully, they’ll be able to ride this momentum into the Summer Split and continue blowing our minds in all the right ways. We know for a fact that G2 and Fnatic are motivated — perhaps now more than ever — to avenge their losses. Will these “younglings” deliver now that they’re the ones being preyed upon, or was their recent surge just a flash in the pan?
There’s no definitive answer in sight just yet, but we’re all dying to find out.
Rogue Are the Real Deal
Everyone’s talking about just how incredible MAD Lions are, but a lot of praise needs to go Rogue’s way as well, which is one of the biggest 2021 LEC Spring Split takeaways. Most folks thought they would be the ones getting their hands raised, but it seems as though it just wasn’t meant to be. They had a 2-0 lead in the series and let it slip away tells us two important things. They need to work on their mental to preclude these throws from happening in the future and have the tools to become LEC champions, but they still need a bit more time to gestate before reaching their full potential.
Now, one thing needs to be said: MAD Lions beat them fair and square. The boys in white and gold adapted. They found an avenue for success and delivered when it mattered most. But had Rogue been just a bit more resilient, had they had more presence of mind at the moment, they would’ve gotten away with the win. We’d be singing their praises instead of MAD Lions’.
It was truly a game of inches. Had it been a Best of 7, things might have turned out differently. That’s the thing with Best of 5s that go the distance — it doesn’t necessarily mean the best team overall emerged victoriously. That’s why so many folks love the double-elimination format: it’s slightly more forgiving and allows for the most mind-blowing twists and redemption arcs to happen.
Now, whether MAD Lions really are better than Rogue is a debate for another time and place. They got the “W,” so any discussion seems rather redundant, but the gap between these two fledgling teams isn’t nearly as big as some folks would lead you to believe.
… And So Are MAD Lions
No one has the right to take anything away from MAD Lions. Their backs were against the wall, and yet they still found the strength and resilience to persevere. Whenever a seasoned line-up manages to pull off a reverse sweep, no one’s overly surprised — veteran players have been through it all. They are often equipped with ample mental fortitude and a solid enough psyche not to crumble under pressure. But to see MAD Lions, a team that is still so young, traverse the treacherous (and for them somewhat unexplored) realm of Best of 5s with such ease and vigor is simply astonishing.
It is, by all means, indicative of their immense talent and long-term potential.
Most of their players were in a jovial mood between games two and three, despite being 0-2 on the scorecards. They were on the brink of defeat, yet they stayed composed and came up with an unexpected avenue for success: İrfan Berk “Armut” Tükek’s Wukong. Such incredible twists and reversals of fate have mostly been reserved for G2 Esports. It only fits, then, that MAD were the ones who ultimately ascended the throne.
Now comes the hard part: defending it against a slew of highly motivated challengers.
Change Is Happening
As far as the LEC is concerned, 2021 will long be remembered with these Spring Split takeaways. First of all, the G2 dynasty finally came to an end. That alone is worthy of the history books. But that isn’t the only thing worth mentioning — a slew of young, promising challengers finally matured enough to give the “old guard” a run for their money. MAD Lions and Rogue — two of their most prominent representatives — went a step further and dethroned the “Kings of Europe.” Still, Schalke 04, Misfits Gaming, and SK Gaming all deserve a shoutout as well.
We finally see the fruits of their labor. Some of them, of course, are better than others, but they’ve all grown and developed, which is the only thing that truly matters. This is an exciting time for the LEC as we’re witnessing a changing of the guard. For some odd reason, perhaps subconsciously, we thought such an occurrence would be accompanied by a lot of noise (i.e., a spectacle), probably in the form of a seismic upset, but that’s not the case. As with so many other things in life, change happens gradually. We go from one era to another without ever really noticing it. Only in hindsight can we analyze and draw our conclusions.
With each new split, these underdogs and perennially undervalued contenders grow in the most nuanced ways. At first, their incremental improvements don’t amount to much until they eventually stack up. These players are always adding new tools to their arsenal and eventually, on some distant day in the future. They’ll put their best foot forward and leave a mark, much like MAD Lions and Rogue. And, frankly, we can’t wait to see it happen.
The seasoned veterans need to step up — complacency will no longer be tolerated. Europe has no shortage of talented young players. By the looks of it, they couldn’t care less for the multi-year-long narratives and larger-than-life personas which are so abundantly present in the LEC; they want a piece of the spotlight. They’ll fight their hearts out to get it.