By Petar Vukobrat
June 11, 2019
Let’s do a somewhat quick 2019 LEC Summer Split week 1 recap in order to go over last week’s games, and how well they aligned with our expectations coming into the split. If there’s one thing that became evident after just a handful of games, it is the fact that everyone entered the split with a single goal in mind — domination. There isn’t a single team that looked weak (other than perhaps Vitality). Everyone made the right improvements coming into summer, and they’re all looking to leave their mark. Needless to say, the fight for the playoffs has never been this intense. Teams are separated by the slimmest of margins, and the skill gap between the top of the region and everyone below is at an all-time low.
Everyone has a puncher’s chance, and they know it. Sure, G2 Esports is favored to dominate and win the whole thing yet again, but anything below that first spot is completely up in the air.
So without any further ado, let’s jump right into our 2019 LEC Summer Split week 1 recap!
At the very top of the region, we have a two-way tie between G2 Esports and Fnatic. This sight alone makes us feel like everything is right with the world once again. The level of play displayed by both teams was downright spectacular, and it left no one indifferent. Most importantly, both European giants faced tough opposition in their first week. Perhaps that’s even an understatement.
Regardless of the challenges which were presented before them, both former and current “kings of Europe” excelled in almost every single area of play. They weren’t perfect, but they didn’t need to be. They’re currently at the top of the region and they’re both looking like extremely capable contenders. G2 Esports are definitely as strong as everyone expected coming into the split, whereas Fnatic improved leaps and bounds in their execution and team play. They’re not as competent in the current meta, but they’re making it work regardless. They’re adapting to the best of their ability and even though they’re not as dangerous across the board as G2, they’re still a highly capable adversary.
It’s no coincidence that so many teams ended up with a neutral win-loss record after week one. Each and every team listed below has shown a lot of promise, but were simply unable to maintain a certain level of play for two days in a row. As a result, they’ve been both hot and cold, and we’ll need more time before fully assessing their potential and current power level.
After an abysmal Spring Split, Misfits Gaming have entered the Summer Split with a lot to prove, and fortunately for everyone involved, they improved far beyond what anyone expected. They’re actually looking like a bona fide contender this time around, and while it’s still too early to give them any benefit of the doubt, it seems like they made the right changes during the off-season and have corrected course.
Going forward, they should not be underestimated because it seems like they’re finally starting to play like a cohesive five-man unit, instead of a group of solo queue randoms. If they continue building on their most recent success they should be able to leapfrog a good portion of the opposition just based off of their innate mechanical skill, experience, and game knowledge. Then again, this is Misfits were talking about — take everything with a grain of salt.
While SK’s first game against Fnatic did leave a lot to be desired, their second showing against Schalke 04 proved many doubters wrong. They were resilient and willing to fight for every inch of the Summoner’s Rift which eventually allowed them to turn the tides even though they were fighting from a serious deficit.
They never surrendered even though everything was stacked against them. It was a rough early game for the SK boys, but thanks to their incredible mental fortitude, they were able to weather the storm and completely outclass Schalke in the team fighting department. It was a great sign of things to come, and while they’re still a bit rough around the edges, they definitely have a lot of potential. They’re a playoff contender for sure, but how high they’ll eventually soar still remains to be seen.
The Spring Split finalists looked absolutely stunning in both of their outings. They were aggressive, proactive, and willing to throw down in any stage of the game — and that’s a huge improvement. They were no longer the strategic, subdued, macro-oriented behemoth. Instead, they realized their innate mechanical potential, and Patrik “Sheriff” Jírů was the one who spearheaded the charge. Their one loss to G2 Esports didn’t hurt their stock — in fact, the opposite. They’re looking like an incredibly sound contender that’s almost surely going to challenge for the title once again. And this time, they might even stand a better chance, if their recent level of play is any indication.
Judging Splyce right now is basically impossible, especially with such a small sample size at our disposal. They were absolutely annihilated by G2 Esports on Friday, which was somewhat expected. That said, everyone thought they would put up a bigger fight. Instead, they were blown out of the water from the very get-go. Their second game against Team Vitality was much better, but seeing how Vitality basically imploded right before the split began, their one victory doesn’t really mean much, if anything at all.
They’re good, that’s for sure, but it’s hard treating them as a top team right now. They need to prove their worth once again, especially seeing how the fight for the top has never been this intense. They have Schalke 04 and Excel Esports lined up next — two clashes that will give us a much better read into their current strength.
The one team whose momentous decline left no one indifferent back in Spring. They went from second place to absolute mediocrity in a matter of weeks. Their incredible potential just wasn’t enough. But they’ve entered the Summer Split with renewed vigor, and they’re playing like a completely different team. The fact that they brought over Kim “Trick” Gang-yun and made him their starting jungler bared fruit immediately.
While it’s still a bit too early to get hyped, it feels like Schalke 04 will finally be able to realize their innate potential and challenge for the LEC throne. They might need a couple of weeks before fully synergizing, but once that happens, they’re bound to be a top tier contender.
Lastly, we have none other than Rogue. A couple of key changes to their starting five-man line-up improved this team and their overall potential by a considerable margin. With two new up-and-coming players in the jungle and mid positions (and one old school veteran AD carry), Rogue are playing like a completely different beast. They’re not exactly stellar, but they’re fearless, which is perhaps even more important, especially in a Best of 1 format. Going forward, they should not be underestimated. While they’re not predicted to reach the playoffs, they could create quite a bit of chaos if left unchecked.
And finally, we have a two-way tie for ninth place between Team Vitality and Excel Esports. Seeing Excel laid low isn’t exactly a surprise, but they at least put up a very solid fight in both of their outings. They looked far more cohesive and dangerous than ever before, and one actually has to consider them as a solid dark horse going forward. They have a chip on their shoulder, and they want to make this Summer Split count.
That, in a way, is not something that can be said for Team Vitality, at least not after their first two games. Vitality members were slow, meek, scared, out of sync and just downright out of form in both of their games. They looked nothing like their former selves, and perhaps the biggest problem was the fact that they played incredibly bad on an individual level. It wasn’t just a matter of cohesion — they were bad across the board. And you could see their despair in every call they made, every ill-advised engage they went for, and every misstep that followed suit.
This was far from a top tier team in action, and one simply has to be at least a little bit worried for the Vitality boys. They’re known for their inconsistency, but this was pushing things a bit too far. They could, in theory, bounce back in spectacular fashion, but then again, this might be a sign of their momentous decline.
That’s it for our 2019 LEC Summer Split week 1 recap! Tune in this Friday and Saturday for the second week of play! While every match-up looks interesting, we simply have to highlight the Fnatic vs. Origen one on Friday. That said, every game matters as it will give us more insight when it comes to judging these teams and their overall potential.