The Biggest Losers of the 2020 LEC Spring Split
We’ve already covered the biggest winners of the 2020 LEC Spring Split, which means there’s another list left — one that is nowhere near as prestigious. Frankly speaking, there aren’t many losers in the LEC this time around. Most teams played above expectations but that doesn’t mean we don’t have anything to talk about.
First of all, it never feels good to call someone a “loser.” These teams and players worked tirelessly to leave a mark over the regular season and the fact that they’ve failed in their attempts in no way diminishes their efforts. Still, they all fumbled when it mattered the most and have failed to deliver in one way or another.
Listed below are four teams that have disappointed in fairly distinct ways. Some of them even reached the playoffs. Others, however, could barely keep up as the weeks went along. Regardless, there’s a lot to go over and dissect, so let’s start!
They had hype, they had momentum, but none of it mattered in the end. Rogue failed to adapt when it mattered the most which is why they are on our biggest 2020 LEC Spring Split losers list. They failed to understand their biggest strengths and most exploitable weaknesses.
If a team isn’t fully cognizant of what they do well and when they do it, then they won’t always be able to replicate the set-up and find success. League of Legends is, in many ways, a playground of infinite possibilities. It’s also a game of rules and set-ups. You know what needs to happen before going for a play or an objective, and by thinking in advance, you can anticipate any series of events and set the stage for a potential triumph.
If you’re not aware of these intricate layers and nuances, then you’re winging it; you’re improvising and hoping for the best. A team that doesn’t have a good grasp on their virtues and strengths is bound to make egregious mistakes and get overrun by their competition. That’s true in many walks of life much like it’s true in competitive League.
Rogue is one such team. They often blow our minds when they pull off a sick play, but then at a different time, they fail to produce the same result, even though nothing changed. They’re not entirely sure what they’re doing correctly when things are going right, nor are they fully cognizant of their mistakes when things go awry.
As a result, they’re painfully inconsistent and hard to read. On a good day, they’ll step foot on stage and blow a team like Fnatic or Origen out of the water. On a bad one, they could lose to a bunch of solo queue scrubs. Flash of brilliance, followed by an abysmal streak of baffling losses, followed by yet another swift triumph.
They win more often than not, but it feels like they cannot control the outcome of the game whatsoever. Sometimes they need to get the win against a weaker team and yet they fumble. Other times they pull off an insane upset, seemingly out of the blue. There’s very little rhyme or reason behind Rogue.
Their most recent split was a cocktail of great and abysmal, with both ends of the spectrum often being represented on the same weekend. Another whole split has gone by and we’re no more certain of Rogue’s potential than we were back when in the summer of 2019 when they first truly “popped off.” There’s a lot to like about their line-up, and while they are the next breed of LEC talent, it feels like they need more time and, perhaps, better guidance.
Many words were written about Origen and their inherent status in the LEC. Once the dust settled, this veteran-led roster finished fourth in the standings. That, by all means, is far from bad. It is, however — given the amount of depth, talent, and experience present within their roster — a bit underwhelming. Then again, perhaps “a bit” is putting it mildly.
It feels like we’re always being spoon-fed a couple of Origen-specific narratives and yet they never deliver. It’s frustrating seeing these familiar faces compete split after split, succeeding in the same ways and failing at the same challenges and obstacles. You want them to succeed, and that’s not out of any allegiance but because they’ve earned their esteemed status in the LEC. The thing is, no one’s competing week after week to be a solid gatekeeper. That’s not the dream of any player regardless of region or esport.
And yet it feels like that’s the best Origen — and these players specifically — will be able to accomplish. It’s also slightly crushing to see a brand-new team of rookies (MAD Lions) accomplish so much more in their first split, with Origen often being (rightfully) characterized as “one-dimensional” and “limited in playstyle.”
Hopefully they’ll be able to correct course and improve in time for the upcoming Summer Split. Then again, there’s a lot of doubt lingering in the air. A team simply cannot gain an immense amount of depth or potential over a short time, nor can they synthesize it out of thin air.
Next up on our biggest 2020 LEC Spring Split losers list is Excel Esports. They certainly had their moments, but they were too few and far between to warrant a spot higher up the standings. They were in the running for playoffs for the longest time, before eventually succumbing to their biggest flaw: baffling inconsistency.
They can only be deemed a “loser” because they’ve shown a lot of potential. Some of their plays — most of which came from Son “Mickey” Young-min — blew our minds.
Outplays of this kind are a rarity these days, primarily because players are afraid of pulling the proverbial trigger while playing on stage. Sure, it’ll look amazing if they pull it off, but if they fail — and that’s always a possibility — they could heavily affect their chances of getting the win. Players are seldom willing to be the “hero” because they’re a part of a much larger whole: a team.
Still, even at their best, Excel’s play left a lot to be desired. Sloppy mid and late-game shot-calling, inconsistent individual play, and a relatively underwhelming top side of the map were often exploited by their opponents. You never really knew what to expect from them as they were prone to overperforming, but once all was said and done, they were not strong enough to compete for a spot in the Top 6.
They’ve already announced their plans to switch things up for summer, but whether or not that’ll be enough to compete with the best teams Europe has to offer (consistently) remains to be seen. In any case, it’s disappointing that they couldn’t get on the same page and double down on their strengths as they had a fair bit of potential, especially when they drafted to their strong suits.
Finally, in our list of the biggest 2020 LEC Spring Split losers, we have Team Vitality — arguably the only true “loser” of the split. To lose is one thing; to get demolished (weekly) is an entirely different thing. Vitality had many problems, and you could argue that absolutely none of them were solved by the time the regular season came to a close.
They were bad early, mid, and late. Their drafts were dreadful and there was no cohesion or synergy to speak of. Everything that could go wrong for Vitality eventually did. The weeks went by, and yet they never improved — at least not to a noticeable degree. You could argue that their early games were slightly more competitive by the end of the split, but that can, at best, be categorized under “negligible growth.”
There was no saving grace, nor any standout performer. To be fair, Vitality had to scramble and adapt after their starting mid laner Aljoša “Milica” Kovandžić couldn’t get his visa approved in time, but still, seeing them play this badly was inexcusable. They had multiple veterans along with a seasoned head coach to lead the charge, but that’s just potential on paper. In actuality, they looked like one of the worst LEC teams in history.
For Vitality to get back on track and stand even the slightest chance of becoming a solid, middle-of-the-pack team, they need to dissolve this line-up, keep one or two players, and recruit promising talent from the EU Masters. Such an approach worked wonders for both MAD Lions and Misfits Gaming, and there’s no reason why Vitality shouldn’t do the same. The talent pool in Europe is staggeringly deep, but even the most promising rookies need the right guidance.
Fortunately, seeing how Vitality hit rock bottom, they can only improve and go up from here.