Top 5 Players of the 2020 LEC Spring Split
Let’s take a closer look at the best players from the 2020 LEC Spring Split and further analyze what they did over the last three months to warrant a spot on such a prestigious list! This was a fairly unique start to the season primarily because it gave us a first look at many highly talented rookies. You could argue that we’ve gotten a glimpse at the superstars of tomorrow. That’s no small thing, and it made the split endlessly fascinating from a viewership standpoint.
Europe is, in general, a fertile ground for up-and-coming talent, and this split, in particular, had over ten young rookies who have never stepped foot on the LEC stage before. That’s two full teams worth of rookies. For comparison, the LCS had just one (along with a couple of imports, but they don’t count).
Many individuals stood out throughout the regular season. Still, we have to pick and choose, and while no list can ever be fully objective (or definitive), the names listed below all blew our minds on more than one occasion and are, therefore, worthy of being mentioned. Some of these players have been competing for quite a while, and yet they were still able to correct course after a couple of underwhelming seasons and once again prove their worth with thousands watching.
So, without any further ado, let’s focus on the best 2020 LEC Spring Split players, listed in no particular order!
Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten
Febi is a man who needs no introduction. Then again, if you didn’t follow competitive League back in 2015, you probably only know him as an underwhelming (albeit strangely hyped) mid laner, a player who’s been relatively mediocre for years. But there was a point in time when Febiven not only dominated over Europe with one of the most successful European line-ups in history, but was also given the moniker “The Boy who Killed Faker” after his incredible performance at the 2015 Mid-Season Invitational.
“Killing” Faker, however, hurt his career (it was a form of hubris, after all). After that moment, things went downhill pretty fast, almost as a sentence for doing what was deemed nigh impossible.
It took many years of absolute mediocrity for Febiven to return to form, but the important thing is that it happened. His 2020 run has been nothing short of amazing. Along with his jungler (who also got the Rookie of the Split nod), Febiven was the driving force behind Misfits’ success. You could argue that he was their biggest (and only) catalyst. His statistics aren’t overly spectacular, but his in-game impact certainly was.
Misfits did regress as time went on, but the return of Febiven was a welcome sight. Hopefully he’ll continue building on this resurgence and once again dominate in Summer.
Barney “Alphari” Morris
Unlike Febiven, Alphari dominated from start to finish and was considered by many as the best performing top laner last split. That included both his laning but also team fight impact. In short, Alphari’s play was sublime.
He leads in KDA (4.3), Gold, Experience and Creep Score Difference at 10 Minutes (302, 208, 10.1, respectively), and is second in Damage Per Minute, behind only G2’s Martin “Wunder” Hansen. Alphari dominated game after game, regardless of the outcome, and his play often pushed Origen over the finish line. Along with Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir, the Origen top side of the map was a force to be reckoned with.
Now, we all knew of Alphari’s inherent talent. After all, he’s often highlighted by casters and analysts alike, but he never quite broke through, for whatever reason. Perhaps he needed more time to refine his play or he didn’t have the right backing. Either way, the most recent split allowed him to solidify his spot as one of the best top laners in Europe, standing shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Bwipo and Wunder. He’s arguably not as aggressive or impactful, but that’s primarily because of Origen’s different, more macro-oriented style of play. If you slotted him into Fnatic or G2 Esports, he’d be every bit as strong and successful.
Alphari is living proof that if you give the right player infrastructure, guidance, and good teammates, he’ll naturally prosper beyond belief. Talent plays a key part as well, but without the right surroundings it simply cannot blossom.
Iván “Razork” Martín
Misfits’ 2020 success hinged around two catalysts: Their mid laner Febiven and his rookie jungler Razork. When these two came to play and were able to impose their will, they could tango with the very best the LEC had to offer. When that wasn’t the case, however, Misfits couldn’t compete. As a team they lack in many different areas of play, but if we look at their jungle/mid duo specifically, it’s hard not to be amazed at how well they were able to perform mere weeks into the split.
They see the same play, they think similarly, and they always find an avenue for success. The rest of the team isn’t particularly bad, but they’re much more exploitable and have distinct strengths and weaknesses. Razork, however, seemed very confident in his abilities and was able to prove his worth on a wide variety of different champions.
His stats aren’t all that mind-blowing, but much like Febiven, he was almost always at the right place at the right time, doing what was necessary to get his laners ahead and impact the map. For a player who was just starting his LEC career, that was about as much as you could ask for.
Nihat “Innaxe” Aliev
The story of Innaxe is a truly fascinating one. If you’ve heard of him, that’s probably because he was the player who replaced Konstantinos-Napoleon “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou after the legendary marksman decided to abandon Schalke 04 six losses into the split. Filling the void left by a man many deemed a legend is not exactly how you want to start your LEC career. The fact that you’re entering a team without a win on the board — with confidence in shambles and team cohesion being science fiction — is even worse. It’s like a sentence no one should ever endure, and yet each split there’s a player or two who’s dealt these cards by a seemingly cruel twist of fate.
Moments like these often break a career and we don’t even know it. The expectations are too immense, both consciously and subconsciously. Other times, however, on the rarest of occasions, it molds a player into a superstar. There are individuals out there in the world who thrive under pressure; players with unwavering dedication and resilience. They manage to defy the odds and shine bright despite anyone’s expectations.
Innaxe is one such success story.
Not only did he slot right in without skipping a beat, but he outperformed a former LEC legend to boot. He brought a fresh pair of eyes and maximized his hype and momentum to the fullest. Schalke, as a whole, improved tenfold — the team was in a much better place psychologically and they used this sudden roster change as a means for rejuvenation.
All of a sudden, they looked like a fairly solid mid-tier gatekeeper. Now, granted, that isn’t much overall but you have to factor in that they lacked even the most basic synergy mere weeks prior. All signs were pointing towards an absolute catastrophe, so the fact that they managed to correct course and be even remotely competitive is worthy of the highest praise.
Innaxe is by no means a mind-blowing prodigy, but by the end of the regular season he was definitely one of Schalke’s best performers and hopefully we’ll see him return in Summer — without the weight and pressure that comes with replacing a former legend.
The MAD Lions Posse
This might be cheating (it is), but singling anyone from the MAD Lions squad out would be heresy. Matyáš “Carzzy” Orság, Norman “Kaiser” Kaiser, Zhiqiang “Shadow” Zhao, and Andrei “Orome” Popa all deserve to be mentioned. Now sure, they weren’t all equally as consistent or instrumental to MAD’s success, but they fought as a unit and they triumphed like one as well. Shadow had pretty wild highs and lows but on his good days he could compete with the best junglers in the region.
Orome, on the other hand, didn’t get that much praise but he’s a fantastic weak side player — just what MAD Lions need. There is only so much gold that’s at their disposal, and by having a low-econ kind of top laner, MAD can funnel the rest of their resources into their mid and bottom lanes. Orome wasn’t exactly winning them games, but he found ways to be impactful even without much assistance.
It’s just impossible to single anyone out as they’ve found so much success as a unit in which everyone played their part. Now sure, some of them shined consistently, but the point still stands. Carzzy was immediately hyped up as the second coming of Martin “Rekkles” Larsson, and while he didn’t exactly deliver (just yet), he’s a highly talented prospect and his willingness to engage and fight his heart out made him stand out. He’s also insanely versatile and mechanically talented, so there’s no doubt he’ll shine even brighter once the Summer Split comes along.
MAD’s support, Kaiser, is particularly impressive primarily because no one saw him coming. Everyone was boarding the Carzzy hype train, and yet this towering German native seemingly came out of nowhere. His play is downright staggering. He’s aggressive, always prepared to engage (think of him as a mixture between Zdravets “Hylissang” Iliev Galabov and Cloud9’s Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme), and his champion pool? Kaiser can play whatever is necessary: Bard, Leona, Nautilus, Taric, Thresh, Braum, Rakan, Tahm Kench, Yuumi, Pyke, Janna, and even picks like Sett and Zilean.
One could argue that his Sett play (teamfighting and engages) eclipses even a good chunk of LEC’s top laners. That’s Kaiser in a nutshell. He flew under the radar for the longest time until everyone and their mother realized he was a standout performer and one of MAD’s biggest catalysts and engage tools.
MAD Lions are the real deal, and they’ve already accomplished more in a single split than most of their peers did in years. The Summer Split can’t come soon enough!
Honorable Mention: Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau
Bwipo was always a coin flip kind of player. Sometimes he’ll go for an insane play and pull off what seemed nigh impossible. Other times he’ll just run it down. In that regard, he’s kind of a more consistent (and less tiltable) Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon. That last part is incredibly important as it makes him stand out unexpectedly: you can camp his lane all you want, but he’s not going to tilt whatever you throw at him.
You also never know which shade of Bwipo will show up and play. That was especially true in late 2018 and throughout 2019 as well. 2020, however, gave us a look at a much more mature Bwipo, a player who’s in control of his urges and is fully cognizant of his strengths and weaknesses. As a result, Bwipo was a standout performer on a line-up packed with standout performers. He was solid as a rock, dominating his opponents in lane regardless of match-up and always willing to teleport bottom lane and impact the map.
In short, Bwipo was an absolute beast. Well, at least up to the finals. That’s when we saw the grand return of the “int master” himself. No one on Fnatic played well that day, but Bwipo takes the cake regardless. To say that he was abysmal in all three games would truly be an understatement.
Still, Bwipo was consistently a Top 2 player in his role throughout the split and has displayed admirable growth as an individual. A shoddy performance in the photo finish against G2 Esports shouldn’t lower his stock after an otherwise perfect split.