Top 5 LEC Teams to Look Out for in Summer 2020
The LEC, as a region, is incredibly stacked with talent. Heck, that might even be an understatement. Still, even with such an impressive influx of up-and-coming talent, some teams deserve more attention than others. So let’s take a closer look at a couple of 2020 Summer Split rosters that deserve our undivided attention.
If the first week of play was any indication, it’s fair to say that the fight for the LEC throne will be fiercer than ever. Three games is by no means an impressive sample size, but it’s still a concrete bit of information that can further guide us and help us better understand who’s good and why. We could also title this piece as “top 5 LEC narratives” as all of the teams listed below have a storyline worthy of following. Whether anyone upsets G2 Esports and etches their name in history is less relevant at this point primarily because it’s nigh impossible. Anyone who ever doubted G2 Esports was proven wrong sooner or later, so we’ll just regard them as the de facto LEC champions.
Despite this inherent status quo that’s seemingly set in stone, there’s still a bevy of reasons why you should tune in weekly. Top-tier play and exquisite League of Legends will not be absent.
So without any further ado, let’s take a closer look at five 2020 LEC Summer Split teams you should keep an eye on going forward!
Fnatic: The “Budget” Kings of Europe
Fnatic didn’t end the most recent Spring Split on a good note. One could argue that it was about as big of a shellacking as possible. No matter their inherent strength or drive to win, they simply couldn’t hold a candle to a game with G2 Esports. They fought against an incarnation of G2 that many deemed inferior, given the (second) unexpected role swap between Rasmus “Caps” Winther and Luka “Perkz” Perković. Caps didn’t look particularly good as an AD carry throughout the regular portion of the split, and all signs were pointing towards Fnatic reclaiming their long-lost throne.
Or so we thought.
G2 did what G2 does best. Their backs were against the wall and yet they still found a way to win in emphatic, one-sided fashion much like they always do. It seems as though they decide to slack off and experiment until it’s do or die, after which they kick things into high gear and style over their opposition beyond measure.
This was a quick, seventy-minute derailing of the Fnatic hype train, and it was quite painful to watch — not because of any allegiance, but rather because everyone was hoping for a more competitive region; a LEC in which G2 is challenged across the board.
So much for that happening.
Still, even though they were on the receiving end of an absolute beatdown, Fnatic looked reinvigorated last weekend. They didn’t let that kind of showing affect their mental state or confidence. On the contrary. They came out of the gates swinging for the fences, hungrier for success than ever. We saw a more nuanced, aggressive Fnatic; they were no longer trying to “brute force” things like they did in Spring. Instead, they were a bit more calculated but reserved, but no less confident and commanding in execution.
Perhaps most importantly, we saw them experient in a way they never did before. Martin “Rekkles” Larsson, for example, played Syndra for the first time in his career on stage. It was an unexpected twist no one saw coming. We all remember the days when he famously subbed himself out of the line-up once the AP carry meta became a thing. It was a stubborn decision and it showed a lack of maturity.
Now, however, Rekkles understands that he needs to grow and develop a more layered champion pool that doesn’t just include his patented Sivir, Tristana, and the like. It seemed as though Fnatic maximized their off-season and improved in nuanced but highly important ways.
The first week of play has concluded, and for the first time in a long while, they were able to start things off on the right foot: a perfect 3W-0L record. If their level of play was any indication, we could be seeing a renaissance for the boys in black and orange.
Misfits Gaming: A Challenger on the Rise
Misfits, when compared to Fnatic, was a lot more inconsistent in execution, but that didn’t stop them from displaying about as much potential as the perennial LEC giants. Their current record notwithstanding, Misfits Gaming have all the right tools to become one of the most dangerous and exciting teams in the LEC, which is saying something given whom they’re up against and just how stacked the region currently is.
The addition of Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup improved this team in the most integral of ways and has given them an oh-so-important (and consistent) weapon they can utilize in the mid and later stages of the game. They’ve essentially fixed their biggest flaw as a team and became a whole lot more dangerous in the process. Simply saying that Misfits are a top-tier team makes one feel strange. The sights of their now-famous superteam imploding are still fresh in everyone’s minds and yet here we have an entirely different line-up that is showing so much more potential than their predecessors ever did.
Watching them in action is an absolute treat.
It’s still too early to predict anything with confidence, but if they keep improving and growing as a five-man unit, there’s no reason why they couldn’t challenge for a spot in the Top 3 once all is said and done. Everyone is focusing on the likes of Origen and MAD Lions and yet Misfits also have about as good of a shot as the rest of them.
Their coaching staff, spearheaded by the legendary Maurice “Amazing” Stückenschneider, also deserves a huge shout-out as Misfits are one of the few teams in the region that consistently improves weekly. Now, however, they have an even more complete line-up to work with and are bound to find a lot of success over the coming months.
MAD Lions: The Next Breed of LEC Talent
Everyone’s keeping an eye on MAD Lions and there’s a very good reason why that’s the case. This ragtag group of rookies made the world take notice last split by taking down G2 Esports in a Best of 5 for the ages. Perhaps most importantly, it wasn’t a fluke or a triumph achieved through any cheesy team comp or strategy. Instead, they bested G2 fair and square by playing better League of Legends. Many tried and about as many failed in their attempt to take down the biggest LEC giants in a Best of 5, and yet this underappreciated and undervalued line-up went where only FunPlus Phoenix got before them.
A top-tier challenger was seemingly born overnight.
This Summer Split, therefore, will be a continuation of their growth and overarching narrative. We’re all dying to see where they’ll end up and how high they can soar after being given a bit more time to gel as a five-man unit. They’re well-rounded, mechanically gifted, and highly flexible no matter the meta or opponent. As any freshly-assembled line-up before them, they’re still a bit rough around the edges, but that’s nothing that a couple of months of training and intelligent guidance can’t fix. Fortunately for MAD Lions, they have one of the most stacked and capable coaching staff in the entire region which is, no doubt, one of the main reasons why they were able to achieve so much in such a staggeringly short amount of time.
The sky’s the limit for this young roster and no one should be overly surprised if they end up taking names at the World Championship in China. They’re one of the biggest dark horses in the history of the LEC and they’re reveling in their status.
Keep an eye on them as they’re bound to grow beyond our wildest dreams.
Rogue: A Contender With a Puncher’s Chance
No one’s quite sure what to think of Rogue, for better and worse. That’s kind of been the leitmotif of their last two splits: a lot of uncertainty combined with a metric ton of potential. And, sure enough, that’s the case now in Summer as well. First of all, they currently have a perfect 3-0 record after last week’s slew of games, so they’re riding quite a big momentum wave.
Still, this isn’t the first time they’ve managed to accomplish such a feat. With Rogue, the good and the bad always go hand in hand, and you’re never quite sure when they’ll regress or why. It feels as though they have a fixed skill ceiling but are often capable of punching way above their weight class.
They’ll go on these winning sprees, they’ll take down LEC giants when you least expect them to, and then they’ll just implode without any apparent reason and end up in fifth or sixth place, followed by a fairly unimpressive run in the playoffs. That’s Rogue, pretty much.
But despite their inherent flaws and debilitating idiosyncrasies, they’re one of the most exciting teams in the region and when they get into their zone they’re a force to be reckoned with. They’ve just taken down Excel Esports, Misfits Gaming, and Schalke 04 — not the toughest of opponents, granted, but a good list of names nonetheless. They looked good and at ease in the current meta. They’re also a flexible team and can win through multiple different avenues so the only thing they lack right now is a bit of refinement.
One could argue that, at their best, they’re every bit as good as MAD Lions, and yet they were never able to accomplish quite as much. It’s probably the difference in coaching and the way they approach problem-solving, but the potential is certainly there.
Origen: The Gatekeepers
It’s always hard gauging Origen’s true potential and power level. There’s always a twist just waiting to happen. Are they good? Certainly. Can they be great? If things pan out well, for sure. Will they always disappoint when it matters the most? Definitely. As a team, their potential is undeniable. After all, they have one of the best top lakers, junglers, and AD carries in the entire region. Three members of their team are championship-worthy material, but it simply isn’t enough.
Stylistically, they’re way too slow and focused on macro — in a meta that favors craziness and bravado. They’re not willing to take any risks and trade heavy blows regardless of the odds. They’re that kind of team, and it’s infuriating, really, given how much they have to work with.
Their first three games pretty much tell the same tale. They lost to SK Gaming in a game that was nowhere near as close as it should’ve been, then outclassed G2 Esports, and lost to Misfits Gaming on Sunday. What a strange, perplexing list of events. It boggles the mind. It’s like they can’t agree on how they want to play the game out, as if there are too many cooks in the kitchen and so then when the going gets rough, they all perform on different levels and with different goals in mind.
Erlend Våtevik “Nukeduck” Holm and Mitchell “Destiny” Shaw, in particular, failed to impress overall, much like Spring (for entirely different reasons). They’re rarely on the same page. When it happens they can tango with the best of them, but when this kind of synergy is absent, they’re scattered across the board without any game plan in sight.
Still, they deserve our benefit of the doubt. They’re not the team that’s going to dethrone G2 Esports any time soon, if ever. What they are, however, is a very solid, well-rounded top-tier gatekeeper and a potential representative at the upcoming World Championship. Nothing more, nothing else.
This team was never assembled to achieve greatness, no matter what their coach might tell you. Instead, they’re supposed to stay afloat and deliver acceptable results in a region that’s stacked with talent.
That’s it for our list of five 2020 LEC Summer Split teams you need to follow going forward! Make sure to tune in this Friday and Saturday as we’re bound to see a lot more top-tier League of Legends!