The Biggest 2021 LEC Spring Split Week 1 Overreactions
The start of any split is always packed with overreactions, and Week 1 of the 2021 LEC Spring Split is no exception. In fact, we’ve been seeing a record number of hot takes circulating online. Some of them are rooted in logic and reason. Others, however, are as ludicrous and nonsensical as possible. Still, it’s an engaging mix, and we wouldn’t have it any other way!
So, let’s go over some of the most interesting 2021 LEC Spring Split Week 1 overreactions and deduce whether they’re true or false!
Fnatic — No Longer Competitive [False]
There are two types of LEC fans right now: those who think Fnatic is doomed without Martin “Rekkles” Larsson, and those who still believe in Fnatic’s ability to persevere and find success, despite losing their franchise player.
Now, playing without a marksman of Rekkles’ stature (and ability to clutch things out when it matters most) is definitely a handicap, but it’s not the be-all and end-all, especially given how Elias “Upset” Lipp is quite talented in his own right. He might not be as capable as the Swedish legend, but he’s definitely capable enough. After all, Fnatic has more than enough “weapons” and superstars to work with. A three-man core of Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau, Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek, and Zdravets “Hylissang” Iliev Galabov is more than enough to warrant our benefit of the doubt.
Simply put: Fnatic are still exceptional in more ways than one, and they’ll no doubt remain a top-tier challenger for the foreseeable future. Now, they almost certainly won’t dethrone G2 Esports any time soon, but that was never an option anyway — with Rekkles or without him.
The most important thing that this Fnatic line-up showcased thus far is potential (and lots of it). Of course, they were far from perfect; they made egregious mistakes in nearly all of their games (regardless of the outcome) and more often than not they just stayed around for a bit too long — a decision that often cost them dearly. But they’re still experimenting, and rightfully so. They’re trying to figure out what’s best for them playstyle-wise and that’s a process invariably filled with trial and error. But when things go “according to plan” (i.e. when they don’t fumble execution-wise) they’re still as dominant and mesmerizing as ever.
So no, Fnatic did not instantly become a mid-tier gatekeeper without Rekkles. They’re still more than worthy of our undivided attention and, with time, they’ll surely give G2 a run for their money.
G2 Esports — Rekkles Isn’t a “Fit” [False]
In terms of skill, Rekkles and G2 are a match made in heaven. Personality-wise, however, things aren’t so simple. Rekkles has always been known as somewhat of a “tryhard” (and we mean that in the best possible sense here), which is the polar opposite of G2 Esports. Rekkles will go above and beyond to attain success — G2 will fool around for as long as they can before kicking things into overdrive and dominating beyond measure. We’re talking about two vastly different methodologies, and yet both of them have yielded great results over the years.
But you can’t just “plug and play” someone with a different mindset into a team of (equally talented) jesters and hope for the best. This is why so many people were afraid that Rekkles simply wouldn’t be a good enough “culture fit” for G2. Fortunately, such an unfortunate scenario — while certainly grounded in reality — did not come to fruition. Rekkles has slotted in perfectly and has been playing out of his mind throughout the first five games of the season. He’s just what G2 needed: a marksman who’s going to position perfectly in any kind of scenario and consistently dish out immense amounts of damage. G2 already has players who’ll engage and go for those ill-advised plays. What they lacked, however, was someone to anchor them and serve as a “back-up plan.”
So it’s fair to say that G2 is more dangerous and capable than ever. They’re also a bit more serious this time around. They’ll still experiment and throw caution out the window, but they’re not as reckless (pardon the pun) as in years prior. They’ve grown in more ways than one, and they’ll have their best chance yet at winning Worlds with Rekkles aboard.
Misfits & Vitality — Surging Contenders [50/50]
While it’s still too early to predict anything with confidence, it’s fair to say that both Misfits and Vitality have looked a whole lot better than most people expected. Now, neither team is going to upset the long-established LEC status quo, but they’re darn exciting to watch — especially when they set things up well and play to their strengths. That, unfortunately, isn’t all that often. You never know which variant of Misfits and Vitality will take over on the day. Sometimes they’re surprisingly cohesive and dominant. Other times, however, they look like a bunch of scrubs. And there’s very little rhyme or reason behind what’s going on. Plus, it’s not all that dependent on whom they’re up against either.
Regardless, their highs are quite impressive, even though they aren’t always on display. There’s ample potential within both line-ups, and it’ll be interesting to see whether or not they can realize it over the coming weeks and months. In any case, they’re not to be trifled with. Both Misfits and Vitality can pack a serious punch and they’re surely looking for a bit of redemption after failing to leave a mark back in 2020.
SK Gaming — The Next Breed of LEC Talent [True]
What SK Gaming has been able to accomplish over the last two weeks is nothing short of exemplary. They don’t have even a single household name nor a superstar who’s going to hardcarry like there’s no tomorrow. So, on paper, there’s not a whole lot to like. In actuality, however, this five-man SK Gaming line-up has been playing like their lives depend on it. And watching them perform has been quite an exciting ride.
Of course, these are all seasoned ERL players and standout performers, so you can’t exactly label them as “rookies.” Still, competing on the LEC stage against the very best players Europe has to offer is a completely different ballgame. One day you’re facing an up-and-coming Polish mid laner who’s barely of drinking age, and then you’re supposed to face none other than Rasmus “Caps” Winther.
Not exactly an easy transition, you’ll probably agree.
But these young prospects are more than ready to take on such a monumental challenge. They echo much of what made MAD Lions so great last year — they’re fearless and quick to learn and adapt. They also have two somewhat seasoned players to help out with in-game shotcalling duties (Janik “Jenax” Bartels and Erik “Treatz” Wessén) along with a head coach (and former pro player) with a proven track record (Jesse “Jesiz” Le). There’s a lot to like with SK Gaming, and they’ve already done more than enough to earn everyone’s respect.
Whether they’ll be able to leave much of a mark going forward still remains to be seen, but no one should be overly surprised if they end up qualifying for the playoffs. They might not be as experienced as Misfits and Vitality, but what they lack in veterancy they more than make up for in sheer grit and vigor.
In any case, this is what the next breed of LEC talent looks like, and they’ve already made the region take notice with surprisingly stellar play.
Rogue — A Bona Fide Contender [True]
As far as 2021 LEC Spring Split Week 1 overreactions go, this is quite an alluring one. All of us expected Rogue to look pretty darn good coming into 2021. After all, by signing Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu, they’ve literally fixed their biggest weakness from 2020: top lane. But now that we’re five games into the regular season, one thing has become incredibly clear: they’re exceeding all expectations.
Each and every single member of the team has been performing exceptionally well, and they’ve displayed a surprising amount of cohesion as well. Their flexibility, however, is their defining characteristic right now, and they have it in spades. They can truly go for nearly any kind of team comp and execute without breaking a sweat. Perhaps the biggest reason why Rogue has been doing so well is because of their exceptional three-man core: Kacper “Inspired” Słoma, Emil “Larssen” Larsson, and Steven “Hans Sama” Liv have peaked in all the right ways and are currently at the top of their game. Watching them compete has been nothing short of mesmerizing and their stats tell the same tale as well.
Are they good enough to take down G2 Esports? Well, we’re inclined to say “no” on this one simply because G2 has so much clout (not to mention experience and talent). Heck, they could lose ten games in a row in the most horrendous fashion and we’d still believe in their rebound. They’ve earned such respect and reverence after running circles around their opposition over the years. But even though they’re probably not going to dethrone the “Kings of Europe,” Rogue are still more than worthy of our undivided attention.
For the longest time, the LEC has been a region dominated by just two organizations — G2 and Fnatic. No one else has managed to keep up for longer than a split. But Rogue seems to have done it; they can truly be considered as a Top 3 team, and a challenger who’s worthy enough to be mentioned in the same sentence as the “Kings of Europe.” And that’s quite praise-worthy, to say the least. We can only hope that they’ll continue growing in the same positive direction. In any case, the fight at the top will be fiercer and more entertaining than ever!
Rogue is scheduled to face SK Gaming and Astralis this week, so they’re all but guaranteed to keep sole possession of first place for at least a little longer.
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