We take a look back at the upsets and comebacks of the first week of the LEC Summer Split.
The first LEC superweek of the regular Summer split has been full of brilliant macro and edge of your seat comebacks. Many of the previously bottom teams have made clever roster changes and really improved their gameplay, resulting in some completely unexpected upsets. With so much new and promising talent in the region, Europe’s prospects for Worlds are looking better than ever this year. Here is a roundup of the best bits, and what to expect in the future.
Fnatic breaks the curse
Fnatic, against all tradition, have managed to go 3-0 at the start of the split by beating Misfits, Vitality and Excel.
Their Day 1 Game 5 match against Misfits was a highlight from the week, with an absolutely nail-biting comeback after Rekkles’ miracle Baron steal with an Ezreal Q. Despite Misfits’ victory being all but certain after taking down three inhibitors, their unfortunate Baron throw cost them the win. Although Hylissang and Nemesis made some questionable mistakes early on, the team was kept afloat long enough by Rekkles and Selfmade to turn it around in classic Fnatic fashion.
Throughout all three of his matches, Rekkles has looked very solid, even in his second game where he flex picked Syndra botlane for the first time against Vitality. In fact, Rekkles hasn’t died a single time so far. There’s a reason he’s lauded as the best western ADC player and it’s great to see him on form at the start of a split and expanding his champion pool. In the past Rekkles has been criticised for his seemingly limited champion pool, and he has been vocal about improving his versatility in the draft phase.
In a PGL interview on Sunday, Rekkles expressed his optimism for the current roster. Fresh off a 0-3 loss in the Spring Split Finals to G2, the team has managed to stay positive and hit the ground running. He credits Mithy and Selfmade for the team’s improvements, as their methods are much more direct than previous Fnatic teams. Rather than making band-aid fixes, mistakes and problems are called out immediately and resolved, resulting in improvements across the board. Since Spring Split began, it seems Fnatic has also been scrimming better than in previous years. Unlike many other players who have been playing as long as Rekkles, he still seems motivated to beat G2 for the European title, and even take it all at Worlds.
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Disregarding his performance against Misfits, Hylissang had an amazing game as Blitzcrank alongside Rekkles’ Syndra, earning himself MVP and reminding everyone why he is among the best. Hylissang’s play-making potential is second to none in the LEC, even if it doesn’t always go according to plan like it did here. With Selfmade looking extremely impactful in the jungle too, nothing is impossible for Fnatic now.
Crownshot bares his fangs
SK Gaming has been the biggest surprise of this week, defying expectations by cleanly beating Origen on Day 1. After another win on Day 2 against Schalke 04, there was real hope that SK could turn the league on its head by going undefeated against Mad Lions. Unfortunately MAD was the better team on the day, and their Wukong support pick allowed so much hard engage that SK had little chance to fight back. Still, SK Gaming looked like a team transformed when compared to last split, where they went 4-14.
It seems like their new head coach Jesiz, who recently won European Masters, has made some great changes behind the scenes. Janex has moved from mid to top, allowing him to continue playing bruisers like Aatrox, while also giving up his spot for their new midlaner Zazee. This positive change, combined with the meta swinging into Trick’s favour, has allowed SK to show us a level of coordination that we have yet to see from them. Most importantly, SK Gaming’s botlane now has the breathing room to shine. Crownshot has been overshadowed in the past, but with promising support in LIMIT and a very ADC-centric meta, he’s showing us that he can go toe-to-toe with the best. Even in such a stacked ADC region with players like Rekkles, Perkz, Kobbe and Hans sama, Crownshot is a talent that can’t be ignored. So far he has been awarded two Player of the Game awards, more than any other player.
This team is showing a lot of promise and it will be exciting to see how far they can go. Were their decisive wins this week a fluke, or is this team here to stay?
Rogue are on the prowl
Rogue also managed to go undefeated this week, racking up wins against Excel, Misfits and Schalke 04. Hans sama has been showcasing aggression that we haven’t seen before, flashing forward for kills in lane and consistently outperforming other botlanes. Hans sama, Inspired, and Larssen have all been MVPs, each having stand-out performances in this opening week. Finn, although not the flashiest toplaner, has been consistent and reliable so far. Vander has also done a brilliant job supporting Hans sama’s more aggressive play, not dying a single time in all three games.
Rogue have not found a lot of success in previous years, only just making it into the playoffs last split before losing to Origen to come in fifth place. They are still a young team though, and through hard work have built a loyal fanbase. Although they haven’t played against the top dogs so far this split, this is as good a start as Rogue could hope for. It looks like this might be the split where they shine, and they are definitely a contender for top 4.
After spending a disappointing split in NA with TSM, Kobbe is back in the LEC with Misfits. This anticipated move was hyped up endlessly, but it’s too early to say whether it will be a success. The first impressions however, are encouraging for Misfits fans.
Although they did end up losing, their first game against Fnatic was very dominant for the most part. Kobbe had a great showing on Kalista for his first game back, while FEBIVEN used Zoe to bully Nemesis and the rest of Fnatic for thirty minutes. Razork admittedly made some mistakes, as did Doss, but overall there were plenty of good signs for the future of the team.
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Unfortunately, it seemed like the tilt from their frustrating loss on Day 1 carried over into Day 2, resulting in a crushing defeat to Rogue with seventeen kills to two. Though this is understandable, it’s not what you want to see so soon after your hyped-up ADC’s debut. Luckily, Misfits managed to regroup for Day 3, facing off against Origen for a thrillingly close game. After a number of back and forths, Misfits managed to close out the game with a second Baron and secured their first win of the Summer Split. Kobbe ended up receiving Player of the Game for his strong Kai’sa gameplay, but FEBIVEN also had another good game on Azir.
Although FEBIVEN isn’t the same powerhouse as he was in 2015 when his Fnatic roster went 18-0 in Summer and made it to Worlds semi-finals, there’s no doubt that he’s still one of the best midlaners in Europe. Given more time for the team to synergise and gain experience, it’s feasible for Misfits to become one of the best teams in the LEC.
Ultimately, what we’ve seen so far in this first superweek is just the tip of the iceberg. G2 is still G2, despite losing two games already. Until proven otherwise, there is no doubt that they are still the best western team. With Perkz and Caps role-swapping once again, many fans are anticipating a long-overdue World Championship title for G2.
There are plenty of other teams who are also contenders; Mad Lions were the breakout stars of the last split, and it looks like they’re only going to get better. Now that Vitality has no more VISA issues, they can finally field the team they want, and it’s certainly looking good. They managed a huge upset by beating G2, and all of their individual players have great potential.
Origen, despite losing two games, also managed to beat G2. Their individual players are top-tier; Alphari is almost unanimously agreed to be the best western toplaner. Their only weaknesses right now seem to be playing too passively and making some decision-making errors. If they can iron out the bumps, Origen is still a real contender for the third place that many experts originally predicted.
What we can say is that the standard in Europe has improved significantly. It feels like almost all of the teams have a good shot at playoffs, and with 4 Worlds tickets up for grabs, the competition will be fiercer than ever. We can all look forward to an action-packed Summer Split and have high hopes for Worlds.
Images via LoL esports