Making Breakthroughs In The Battleground Lanes
Surprise! I’ve been tempted away from the other League by the Spring season of the LEC, and I can’t wait to share my analysis once games get going. First though, here are my thoughts on how and where the big games are going to be won and lost.
TAKING CONTROL OF THE TOP LANE
A terrifyingly messy shuffle has resulted in seven of the ten LEC teams using a new top laner this split. Of the seven, only Rogue’s Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu has previous LEC experience, and yet I still see this lane as a key battleground among the best teams. Let’s dive top lane and determine who’s coming out on top.
OLD FAITHFUL - MARTIN “WUNDER” HANSEN - G2 ESPORTS
Wunder, the most experienced top laner in the LEC with five years under his belt, has had a tough time establishing his dominance lately. Barney “Alphari” Morris, who just made the leap to the LCS, robbed Wunder of a spot on the first All-Pro Team in Summer 2020 and Fnatic’s Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau was consistently performing on the same or a higher level than Wunder from his debut in 2018 to the end of Spring 2020.
The Dane seems to have a nice champion pool for the current meta, favouring Renekton (three wins and one loss), Gnar (one win and one loss) and Akali (one win) in his Season 11 placement matches, all of which have featured in the drafts of LPL matches so far (in fact, Akali has been either banned or picked in every LPL match up to the time of writing due to her flex potential and overall strength as a champion).
THE JOKER - GABRIËL “BWIPO” RAU - FNATIC
The most charismatic top laner in the LEC has not been having such a great time with Akali - his only recorded match with the assassin was a botched mid lane game, where despite going 5/3/1 he couldn’t carry his team to the victory. He also suffered a humiliating defeat both in lane and in the late game as Sett against Odoamne’s Camille on the same day (4/12/2 against Odoamne’s 11/4/8).
That’s not to say Bwipo’s had an awful start to the season, though; he recorded a terrifying 8/1/5 game as Renekton just yesterday, and has been popping off as Wukong, with an overall KDA of 6. Rectifying a nightmarish Summer split starts on January 22 for Bwipo and Fnatic.
MISTER WORLDWIDE - SERGEN “BROKEN BLADE” ÇELIK - FC SCHALKE 04 ESPORTS
From the TCL, to the LCS, and now the LEC, Broken Blade has been lighting up the Rift. The German-Turkish player was the second most decorated player for TSM in the Summer 2020 split with two group stage MVP awards (the most decorated was Bjergsen with seven, plus the mathematical maximum of five playoffs MVP awards).
He currently sits in the top 0.2% of players in ranked, with 20 games under his belt already. Broken Blade’s most played champion so far is Gragas (four wins and three losses), closely followed by Kennen (four wins and three losses) and Gnar (one win and three losses - it seems like The Missing Link of the Yordle race isn’t solo queue viable for these pros). In a week and a half, we will see if this practice leads to perfection for Broken Blade as he takes on Team Vitality’s Mathias “Szygenda” Jensen.
MAKING THE MOST OF THE ROAM
Okay, I get it, the jungle isn’t a lane, but zoning the opposition away from neutral objectives comes largely down to the roaming players in the early game, and, as we all know: “win lane, win game.” Let’s see who’s hiding in the brush this split.
CONSUMING EVERYTHING - MARCIN “JANKOS” JANKOWSKI - G2 ESPORTS
Heading into his eighth season in the highest tier of European League of Legends, Jankos is a force to be reckoned with, collecting one of the most coveted awards in the LEC last Summer - winning an MVP award over Rasmus “Caps” Winther.
In the 2021 ranked season, Jankos is within a hair’s breadth of the top 0.2% of players after just 15 games. He’s claimed wins on eight different champions, and two on each of Kayn (two wins and one loss), Lee Sin (two wins, no losses with a KDA of 6.25) and Gragas (two wins, no losses with a KDA of 5.56).
NEW BLOOD - OSKAR “SELFMADE” BODEREK - FNATIC
Fnatic’s only addition in 2020 made a name for himself by claiming the MVP award in Fnatic’s first best of five win against G2 Esports for almost two and a half years, and acquiring the most MVPs for Fnatic in the group stage. He’s been especially quiet the last few days, with just a single game in the 2021 ranked season from what I can find - a 5/6/10 loss as Volibear in the top lane. I’m sure he’ll be raring to go come next Friday though
KING OF LEE SIN - ERBERK “GILIUS” DEMIR - FC SCHALKE 04 ESPORTS
Ascend to godhood and grant us this win! The miracle run may be over, but Schalke now have a fearsome lineup on paper, and Gilius will without a doubt be leading the charge, but he too has not been playing much in Season 11, and ended the 2020 post-season with a five-game loss-streak on a plethora of popular jungle champions like Nidalee (2/4/3), Pantheon (12/12/10 and 2/5/2) and Graves (7/6/4).
There are only ten sleeps to go until the first night of the LEC, and like you, I can’t wait for the season to get underway. My next article on the League of Legends European Championship comes out on Friday, so I hope you’ll return for that, but feel free to check out other features here at GGRecon about the LCS, LPL, and LCK in the meantime!
Images via Riot Games | lolesports