Top 5 Players to Watch in the 2020 LEC Summer Split
The LEC, as a region, is stacked with talent and potential. Europe was always very competitive internationally, but it wasn’t until the meta shifted towards skillful skirmishing and a more action-packed early game-focused style of play that the region managed to overtake Korea and become a force to be reckoned with. At the very heart of this incredible success are the players — both young and old — who’ve been spearheading this “revolution” of sorts. Let’s take a closer look at five noteworthy players competing in the 2020 LEC Summer Split.
Some of these 2020 LEC Summer Split players are already legends; others have only taken their first step towards such a status. Regardless, they all stand a chance of leaving a mark in the grand scheme of things and are carrying their own highly unique narratives into the second half of the 2020 season. We’re talking about insanely entertaining storylines either sprung out of nowhere or have been building up for years.
Either way, there’s a reason to tune whenever they’re scheduled to compete. Each listed below has something to prove or accomplish over the coming months and even though they’re all proven quantities, there’s still a lot at stake. Many fans and analysts expect them to push the needle and make their 2020 season count. Whether that’ll happen or not (in the way most of us expect) still remains to be seen. Still, their individual stories and attempts at reaching/maintaining greatness make this split incredibly exciting.
So without any further ado, let’s start our list of five 2020 LEC Summer Split players you should keep an eye on over the next couple of weeks!
Rasmus “Caps” Winther — G2 Esports, Mid
Caps has already solidified his spot as the best and most talented Western mid laner of all time. He was able to reach the finals of the World Championship two years in a row with entirely different line-ups. What an astonishing feat, an accomplishment that, for the longest time, seemed reserved for only the biggest LPL and LCK behemoths. Caps was the difference-maker, the one player who almost pushed Europe over the finish line.
And he did all of this in just a couple of years. It wasn’t that long ago that he broke onto the scene and dominated Luka “Perkz” Perković in lane with mind-blowing outplays that made him look like a deity. Once you saw Caps play, things became immediately clear: here is a player graced with supreme talent, a titan of competitive League camouflaged as a cheerful Danish teenager.
After dominating for two years, Caps decided to switch things up a bit and move over to the bottom lane. It was a decision that didn’t make much sense but was nonetheless in tune with G2’s modus operandi. For the first time in his LEC career, however, he looked vulnerable without any peel, protection, or avenue for displaying his innate mechanical talent and mind-boggling ability to bend the rules of the game.
It took him many weeks to fully grasp his new role, and it seemed as though he never quite “got the hang of it.” He always wanted more power and agency, all at an earlier point in the game. He tried to force his playstyle in a role that didn’t allow it, and his results suffered.
Now, Caps’ worth and stock value didn’t exactly diminish last split, but they did take a strange turn. Some of his games were so darn abysmal that people — at least in the moment — forgot what he’s truly capable of when given the right resources (and lane). G2 Esports, as a whole, looked a lot worse; they looked beatable, human, and at risk.
This Summer Split, however, will give Caps a chance to show the world yet again what he’s truly capable of. We’ve all been dying to see him back in mid and while G2 is still at the very top of the LEC, we could use a bit of his magic and bravado. There’s no one like him out there in the West and forcing him into a much more limited role isn’t the way to go.
Fortunately, G2 realized the same as well.
Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup — Misfits Gaming, ADC
The veteran marksman, perhaps best known for his Splyce tenure, certainly had a strange couple of months. After moving across the Atlantic to compete in North America, he was replaced and left teamless, just a single split into his LCS career. Fortunately, Misfits Gaming were on the lookout for a more seasoned presence in the bottom lane and could sign this widely respected veteran in the nick of time.
To say that Kobbe is motivated after being “two-timed” by Team SoloMid would be an understatement. He went to Worlds with the best line-up Splyce ever fielded and then decided to risk it all and move to an entirely different region, a move that backfired in more ways than one. Fortunately, his career and stock value didn’t take a hit. He was able to return home and jump straight into Misfits Gaming. Was there a bit of luck involved? Certainly, but Kobbe deserved a chance regardless, especially because he’s one of the most consistent and respected performers the LEC has to offer.
He’s also an absolute late game behemoth, known for his ability to thread the needle and dish out insane amounts of damage, all while being out of harm’s way. It’s a rare talent, present in only the best and most capable players out there. He’s not the kind of individual who’ll dominate straight out of the gates or blow his opposition out of lane. Instead, he’ll do things by the book, build his lead, and capitalize when he sees a window of opportunity.
Fortunately, he doesn’t have to carry early on as he has Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten and Iván “Razork” Martín to do the heavy lifting once the team spawns on the Rift. Kobbe will then take care of the rest. Misfits are, without a doubt, one of the biggest winners of the off-season. They fixed their most debilitating weakness with just a single signing and are currently looking like one of the best teams in the region.
Kobbe is at the heart of that, and he’ll only get better and better as he synergizes with his new (and deceptively talented) teammates. Misfits won’t be able to dethrone G2 Esports, but they certainly have a puncher’s chance of reaching Top 4 and locking down a ticket for the World Championship.
Norman “Kaiser” Kaiser — MAD Lions, Support
Once the 2020 Spring Split began, everyone was laser-focused on Matyáš “Carzzy” Orság. He was touted as the best and most shining representative of the next breed of LEC talent. And sure enough, he didn’t need a lot of time to impress everyone with his confidence and innate potential. But as time went on, the conversation steered more towards the man he shared lane with, rather than the Czech “Rookie of the Split” candidate.
Kaiser made the world take notice in equal measure through insane engages, pristine positioning, and monstrous team fighting. This towering German native can play it all: Zilean, Leona, Bard, Blitzcrank, Nautilus, Yuumi, Taric, Braum, Trundle, Rakan, Sett, etc. Heck, he even locked in Wukong support last week against SK Gaming, an ingenious pairing with the fasting Senna from Carzzy. His flexibility and champion ocean give MAD Lions that extra bit of oomph both in the pick and ban phase as well as in-game.
In many ways, he’s like the European Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme. He rarely makes mistakes, is always looking to engage, push the pace of the game, and set things up for the rest of his team. He’s also strangely confident and gifted for someone who has never played on the LEC stage before. This fascinating MAD Lions bunch share much of the same DNA and watching them compete as a five-man unit has been nothing short of mesmerizing. Kaiser’s teammates also deserve a shoutout, but in a region that has been somewhat slow in producing top-tier native support talent (at least recently), he stands out as a discovery no one saw coming.
Barney “Alphari” Morris — Origen, Top
Much has been said and written about Alphari over the years. He’s a grizzled veteran by this point, and yet it doesn’t feel like it was that long ago when he first burst onto the scene with Misfits Gaming. Let’s not beat around the bush: Alphari is currently a world-class top laner. He wasn’t always this good, but the potential was certainly there. Still, young rookies with ample talent don’t always blossom in time to show the world what they’re made of. In fact, these stories of failure are far more frequent than those of success.
Alphari, however, is a special kind of beast at least in 2020.
Those who consider him a laning behemoth have every right to do so. Alphari has been so good throughout 2020 that it has become downright impossible to deny him any longer. He ranks first in almost all top lane-related statistics in Spring, and has started off Summer with equal enthusiasm and determination. Alphari is playing like he has a gun pointed at his head. There’s no other way of putting it. No matter whom he’s up against, he’ll generate massive leads and pressure non-stop regardless of match-up or context.
Naturally, such incredible prowess drew the attention of both fans and analysts alike. Many believe Alphari is currently stuck in competitive hell, a championship-worthy player with sub-par allies. Now, make no mistake: his teammates aren’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, but when you compare them to someone who’s currently peaking as hard as Alphari, it’s hard not to be underwhelmed.
This Wales native was always good in most facets of play, but he never shone this bright. Now, however, he’s sticking out like a sore thumb (in all the right ways). He’s Origen’s biggest and most dangerous catalyst, and they’re certainly utilizing him to the best of their ability. One simply has to wonder whether or not he’ll maintain such an impressive level of play and switch teams during the post-Worlds off-season.
Imagine someone like Alphari on MAD Lions. Wouldn’t that be a rollercoaster!
Tim “Nemesis” Lipovšek — Fnatic, Mid
Finally, to round out our list of five 2020 LEC Summer Split players who deserve your undivided attention, we have none other than Fnatic’s own mid laner: Nemesis. The days when he struggled to perform are long gone. Nemesis is now one of the best mid laners the West has to offer and has been a consistent (albeit somewhat flawed) performer.
He’s a jack of all trades and while he doesn’t always get the recognition he deserves, it’s important to remember just how much he has improved ever since he donned the legendary black and orange jersey. Those colors come with a lot of pressure and yet this Slovenian talent always seemed rather unphased by what the community thought or wanted from him. He treats this as a job, and he knows that good and bad days go hand-in-hand in any profession, let alone in one that’s as volatile as esports.
Still, it became evident that if Fnatic plans on challenging for the LEC throne, they need to be more proactive, more dangerous, and more impactful starting from the mid lane. His champion pool issues need to be rectified and his tendency to roam on picks like Twisted Fate won’t always work against the best teams out there. Nemesis needs to grow further and evolve, much like he did in 2019 after taking over from Caps.
Fnatic is a layered, multi-threat team, but they don’t always play like one. Their recent Spring Split finals show that as well. It was an abysmal string of games from everyone involved; Nemesis received a ton of criticism for his performance and most of it was warranted. They’re sick and tired of getting smacked around by G2 Esports, but if they were to challenge for their long-lost throne, they need to step up in more ways than one. Otherwise, G2 will simply employ the same strategy as before and outclass them in record time.
That’s it for our list of five 2020 LEC Summer Split players you need to follow going forward! The LEC is back in action this Friday. Mark your calendars because we should be in for one heck of a ride!