We've picked 3 teams that could bring the fight to G2 next season!
Last season was a spectacular one for G2 Esports as the team won every trophy available to them apart from the League of Legends World Championship which narrowly escaped their clutches following an astonishing performance by FunPlus Phoenix in the final.
As a region, Europe has never been stronger but there are very few reasons to doubt G2’s ability to retain their LEC title for the third consecutive split. However, competition is fierce and the rest of the league’s team have rebuilt with a number big-name signings.
There are a lot of strong rosters going into next year of but the early signs are suggesting it will be these three teams who stand the best chance of dethroning G2.
G2 and Fnatic are Europe’s most successful LoL organisations ever. The latter still holds the record for the most EU splits won with seven in total though if G2 win Spring 2020 they will be tied. That is something Fnatic will want to avoid at all costs as their tense rivalry with G2 only grows stronger.
Last season, Fnatic was the European team that came closest to challenging G2 as the two clashed in one of the greatest European finals ever in which G2 managed to narrowly win the fifth and final game to be crowned Summer champions.
Looking to gain an edge next season, Fnatic has enlisted the help of former G2 support Alfonso "Mithy" Aguirre Rodriguez who will go into the season as a coach for the first time in his career. Mithy has always been known as an extremely intelligent player and fantastic leader but moving into coaching will be a completely different role. Fnatic was plagued with internal issues last season which will be something Mithy has to help tackle, even if he only gets the players aligned during games.
Someone who might be able to help with that is the team’s new signing Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek. The jungler previously played with mid-laner Tim “Nemesis” Lipovšek and remain very close friends. In LoL’s current state, having a strong mid and jungle combination is absolutely crucial if you want to compete on an international stage and Fnatic now has that firmly in place.
Those two together will be Fnatic’s major weapon over the next couple of years, they are the future of the organisation. No matter who G2 decides to play in the mid-lane, Selfmade and Nemesis will make sure it’s not easy for them.
Origen is historically an organisation that has always been hot on the tails of Fnatic and G2 though it is still waiting for its first European trophy. The team, created by Fnatic legend Enrique "xPeke" Cedeño Martínez, returned to competitive play for Season Nine and came close to ending its wait for a piece of silverware in the Spring Spring finals.
The team dominated Fnatic in Rotterdam but couldn’t handle G2 in their next series. Origen then completely collapsed in the Summer Split and rather than try to put the pieces together, the organisation has bought a couple of huge upgrades in hopes of creating a title-winning machine.
Andrei "Xerxe" Dragomir was one of the best performing players in the league last season as he played a tremendous part in Splyce’s success last season. The jungler has a gigantic champion pool and was able to keep his teammates safe or even get them ahead in the early game before his teammates exploded into action during the late-game.
And then there’s Origen’s new ADC Elias “Upset” Lipp who has been one of the best carries in Europe for a number of years despite the fact that Schalke has had to constantly rebuild its line-ups. The German had another fine season as he recorded more kills (104) than any other player during the Summer Split and then helped Schalke to a top-three finish in the Playoffs though he’s still waiting for his World Championship debut.
Trying to help Upset reach his full potential will be Mitchell "Destiny" Shaw, the first Australian player to ever compete in Europe. The support could prove to be a shrewd signing but for now, is the biggest question mark over this team as the LEC will surely be a large step-up in competition for the import. However, that could be to Origen’s advantage as Destiny will undoubtedly be driven and hungry to make the most of his unique opportunity and that determination will be crucial if the squad is to step up a level.
What’s important for Origen’s squad now is to find an in-game identity, a play-style it can work towards perfecting so that it stands out from the crowd. With the adaptability of players like Xerxe and veteran mid-laner Erlend "Nukeduck" Våtevik Holm, anything is possible.
Now for perhaps the more surprising addition to this list but Rogue has all the tools to become an established top team in the league. As expected with any organisation within its first year in the LEC, Rogue went through some growing pains and had to settle with a last-place finish in Spring.
But like a classic anime arc or video game story, that was simply a bump in the road to becoming stronger. With a few additions from its highly-rated academy roster in the Summer Split, Rogue was a much more convincing outfit that seemed to get stronger and stronger as the weeks went on.
Rogue marched on into the Playoffs and, in perhaps one of the most surprising results of the European season, decimated a Splyce side that had almost pipped Fnatic to second in the standings just a couple of weeks prior.
The young squad eventually ran out of steam and fell out in the next round to Schalke after a couple of mistakes in which lack of experience probably caught up to them. The players, who are no longer rookies, will have learnt from those games and have had a few months to dwell on them.
All four returning players have a point to prove as does new signee Steven “Hans Sama” Liv who is competing away from the comfort of Misfits for the first time in his pro career. There is immense talent in this roster with the likes of Emil "Larssen" Larsson, Kacper "Inspired" Słoma and Fin “Fin” Wiestål - the latter of who managed to make the top-lane spot his own after just a few substitution appearances. It will take a team of immensely talented pros with a strong bond and tough resilience to take down G2 and that could just be Rogue.
Images via Riot Games / LOLEsports | Flickr