Top 5 2021 LEC Spring Split Narratives
The 2021 LEC Spring Split is finally here, which means it’s time for us to go over some of its most interesting narratives! As always, we’ll focus on the biggest and most enticing storylines — the ones that’ll make us all tune in with great interest weekly. This time around, five key questions are on everyone’s mind, although it’s fair to say that, with G2 signing Martin “Rekkles” Larsson, the region as a whole didn’t get any more exciting overall.
In fact, the opposite might have happened.
How can we truly get excited for what’s to come when we already know the conclusion? No one in their right mind would expect any of the nine remaining teams to challenge G2 Esports for the LEC throne, which means the result of the Spring Split (and even Summer, for that matter) is a foregone conclusion. Things might deviate from our expectations, but the result should remain the same. Now, does this mean that the LEC is no longer worthy of your undivided attention? Of course not! The LEC is still one of the most exciting and promising leagues globally, and that won’t change any time soon.
Furthermore, an impressive influx of “rookie” talent has occurred, which should make the LEC more entertaining than ever. A passing of the guard is happening in front of our very eyes. Some of these up-and-comers will no doubt become the superstars of tomorrow. We’ve already been given a glimpse of what’s to come thanks to Rogue and MAD Lions last year, and we cannot wait to see whether anyone else will be able to reach that level of success in the future.
Still, it’ll take a bit of time before teams can synergize and carve out an identity for themselves. We’re at the very start of the 2021 season, which means fiestas and mind-boggling twists are all but guaranteed. That’s just the nature of the game. In any case, entertainment will not be absent, so make sure to tune in!
With all of that said, let’s go over the most interesting 2021 LEC Spring Split narratives, listed in no particular order!
G2 Esports — Third Time’s the Charm?
We’ve already written a bajillion words about G2 and, frankly, so have other esports outlets. When you have a team that’s as good as they are, as dominant, and as talented, it’s nigh impossible not to sing their praises every so often. And it’s a song we’ve heard a bit too often by this point. G2 could start the season off with nine losses in succession. We’d still believe in their rebound. They’re that darn good. Heck, it’s not even fair to the rest of the region. And, frankly, winning the LEC is no longer all that impressive — it’s a certainty, one that we’ve all become accustomed to.
In true G2 fashion, they’ll probably experiment a bit too often, they’ll slack off just because they can, but once the going gets rough, you can be darn certain they’ll step up and deliver in all the right ways. That’s why we all love them, and that’s why they’re the most dominant and successful team in the region’s history.
2020, however, didn’t bring a whole lot of success, at least not by G2’s standards. There was no Mid-Season Invitational, so they couldn’t defend their throne, and a Top 4 finish at the World Championship wasn’t all that impressive either. Overall, it’s a fantastic accomplishment, but it’s still somewhat “pedestrian” given the hype and momentum G2 had behind their backs. Still, they’re in some fancy company: DAMWON Gaming, Suning, and Top Esports. Not too shabby.
The biggest question regarding G2 Esports is simple: will Rekkles make enough of a difference in international competitiveness? Will this be enough to challenge an LPL titan (or LCK one, in this case) and hoist the World Championship trophy? Or is it just a little change in the grand scheme of things? Rekkles’ performance at last year’s Worlds was nothing short of a masterclass, so he’s a spectacular pick-up for G2, but whether or not he’ll make a big enough difference remains to be seen.
And that’s the agony of it all — the fact that we’ll have to wait until October to find out truly. Still, we’ll tune in with great interest whenever they’re scheduled to play on home soil, to see their patented flashes of brilliance and moments in which they seemingly bend the rules of the game. There’s no team like G2 out there in the world. We should savor their highlights for as long as they’re competing under one roof.
Fnatic — A New Generation
Next on our 2021 LEC Spring Split narratives list is Fnatic. Without Rekkles, Fnatic isn’t the team we all know and love. Will they be worse off without him? Almost certainly, but that doesn’t mean they’ll regress as much as people expect. Sometimes losing a franchise player isn’t the be-all and end-all — it can lead to a transformation of sorts, a “rebirth” if you will.
Ever since Rasmus “Caps” Winther left, Fnatic has been playing second-fiddle to G2 Esports. Of this, we are all aware. And they were trying to challenge the current “Kings of Europe” using the same means (and players) as before, which, of course, was never enough. By signing a new mid laner and AD carry — both of which are noticeably different from their predecessors’ play style-wise, Fnatic stands a chance of growing and becoming an even more dangerous challenger than before. It sounds optimistic (and it is), but it’s definitely within the realm of possibility.
Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer and Elias “Upset” Lipp will change Fnatic in nuanced and important ways. We’re talking about long-term growth here, which invariably takes time. Will Fnatic be able to challenge G2 in Spring? Probably not, at least not entirely, but by Summer that might change. They’re certainly equipped with all the right tools for the job, and now it’s only a matter of time before they synergize and hone their skills for the monumental task at hand.
Their best days are still ahead of them, and while things might be a bit rough early on, Fnatic will no doubt remain a Top 2 team (and a respectable challenger) once all is said and done. That might not sound all that impressive for an organization that’s as revered and respected worldwide. However, it’s still a spectacular result, especially given how they lost their poster child mere months ago.
For the boys in black and orange, 2021 will be the year of transformation. We cannot wait to see their inevitable growth.
Rogue is a strange team to talk about. On the one hand, they did incredibly well last year. So much so that most of us are already treating them as a dangerous challenger — a flawed one, sure, but dangerous nonetheless. On the other hand, there are still a couple of question marks regarding their long-term potential and whether they have what it takes to tango with G2 and Fnatic’s likes.
For Rogue, this will be a significant year defined by growth, and that’s exciting for both Rogue fans and LEC faithfuls. They still haven’t peaked skill-wise, so it’ll be interesting to see how high they’ll eventually soar. Of course, that is tied to the main question at hand. Will they dethrone Fnatic, or are they destined to hover near the very top without ever truly becoming anything more than a dangerous contender? History isn’t incredibly kind to teams that nearly got the job done. Rogue has shown many flashes of brilliance, so it’s only natural that we’re all wondering whether there’s anything else left in the tank.
MAD Lions — Is It Enough?
Much like Rogue, MAD Lions have entered 2021 with a slightly different but still potent lineup. Their incredibly impressive three-man core (mid, marksman, and support) has remained the same, based on empirical evidence, one can expect MAD Lions to still hover near the very top of the region. There’s more than enough talent present within their five-man lineup, and if they continue building on their foundation from 2020, who knows how high they’ll eventually be able to climb.
That said, the jury’s still out on their long-term potential. They’re pretty much in the same boat as Rogue: incredibly talented, but with lots left to prove. Their dreadful run at Worlds last year left a sour taste in everyone’s mouth, and there wasn’t much to commend them for either. They became the first team from a major region not to make it out of Play-Ins and, even worse; they looked like they didn’t even belong there in the first place. Now, of course, they were (mostly) a rookie squad without much experience, but still — their talent should’ve been enough to warrant a better showing.
Now that we’re a couple of months removed from that whole ordeal, no one’s quite sure how high to rank them. Again, Marek “Humanoid” Brázda, Matyáš “Carzzy” Orság, and Norman “Kaiser” Kaiser are reason enough to believe in their long-term potential. Still, the way they’ve regressed throughout the second half of 2020 made many people wonder: has their success been a flash in the pan, or are they truly the next breed of LEC talent? In that regard, Rogue has looked a lot more consistent. Their highs weren’t quite as impressive, but they never looked quite as bad either.
Either way, we can’t wait to see whether MAD Lions will continue growing in such a positive direction or if they’ll plateau at a certain point. The changes they’ve made during the off-season are undoubtedly positive. Still, until we see both İrfan “Armut” Berk Tükek and Javier “Elyoya” Prades integrated into the team, we’ll have to reserve judgment.
Finally, it feels as though that both Rogue and MAD Lions are fighting to become what Fnatic and G2 have been for years — respectable, top-tier organizations and contenders who can truly (and consistently) challenge for the LEC throne. It’s a prestigious role, no doubt, but it’s a hard one to attain. Furthermore, Rogue and MAD are trying to reach Top 2 and, in doing so, overtake a “wounded” Fnatic. G2 is at the top — of this, we are all aware — but any spot below them is ripe for the taking, and these “rookies” know it.
They know they’re not good enough to trade blows with G2, but Fnatic is a lot less intimidating, especially in their current state. Will these burgeoning lineups be up to the task? It’s impossible to know at this point, but we’re bound to find out sooner or later.
Schalke 04 — Another Shot
Finally, we have Schalke 04, the biggest enigma in the LEC. Their historic miracle run left no one indifferent, but it also raised an important question: was it a one-off occurrence or a sign of the things to come? And, frankly, you could make a case either way. Their players flourished upon switching to an online-only environment, but the jump in performance was still mind-blowing and cannot be attributed to that change alone.
Furthermore, we’re dying to find out which of their players (current and former) played the most significant role in such a resurgence. Erberk “Gilius” Demir and Felix “Abbedagge” Braun, of course, stood out the most. Still, one could argue that they couldn’t have done it without LEC veteran Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu and Han “Dreams” Min-kook. The latter of which was low-key, one of the best performing supports in the region at the time. Neither of the two is currently with Schalke. While both vacant spots were filled with suitable replacements, it’s impossible not to wonder whether Schalke’s potential has been dampened as a result.
It’s an interesting question, and it’ll take a couple of weeks (if not months) before it can be fully answered. In any case, Schalke 04 looked so darn good by the end of last year that we cannot wait to see how well they’ll perform going forward!
That’s it for our list of 2021 LEC Spring Split narratives! You can catch all of the action on Twitch, YouTube, and the official LoL Esports website! If things pan out as expected, we should be in for quite a ride!