LEC Spring 2021 Preview
2020 was a pretty good year for the LEC. Fans of the European league saw the rise of teams like MAD Lions and Rouge, while the household names in the region like G2 and Fnatic still remained at the top. But the region wasn’t as stable as many would believe. At one point we saw Schalke go from an 0-8 team to being in the playoffs. We also saw a split where the #1 team in the LEC wasn’t G2 or Fnatic, which hasn’t happened since the Spring Split of 2015.
So what does that mean for the 2021 season? Well to be quite honest, the story of this season will be the rich get richer, while the poor remain poor. Unlike it’s North American counterpart, the LEC didn’t see many roster changes to the top teams that weaken their status or put their strength into question. To put this idea into perspective, the biggest move of the LEC offseason was Rekkles moving from Fnatic to G2, a.k.a. the best bot laner in Euroepn history moving to the strongest team in European history.
Essentially, the balance of power in this year’s LEC should be about the same as last year's. Below you’ll find each team and its starting (or predicted-to-be starting) roster for the 2021 Spring Split. Teams are listed in order of rank, and players are listed in position, from Top to Support.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Considered the best team Europe has ever produced, the main core of G2 remains intact while adding arguably the best Bot laner in LEC history in Rekkles. The trouble G2 seemed to have was that they were too good for their own good. Having two of Europe’s strongest Mid laners made for some issues, most notably that they didn’t have an established Bot laner. Perkz was a great player for G2 and put in work in the bot lane, but at the end of the day, he was a Mid laner. Now that G2 has a well-established Bot laner to pair with the LEC’s best Support in Mikyx, I believe this is the year G2 actually stands a chance of competing in the Worlds Finals once again.
The coinflip team of Europe that always lands heads when it seems to matter. Losing Nemesis in the mid lane and Rekkles in the bot lane doesn’t seem to hurt so bad when they are replaced by veterans Nisqy and Upset, both of who have played on successful teams in the past. Their season, like every season where these two have been on the team, will come down to how many coinflips they can win off of Bwipo’s and Hylissang’s engages. The two often take 2v5s that end up costing their team the game. But in many cases, their crazy-flash-forwards-onto-the-backline plays make them look like geniuses. Whatever side of these two players decide to show up this season will determine the fate of this team of powerful veterans.
#3 MAD Lions
The youngsters of the LEC return once more, this time with a veteran Top laner in Armut. Armut put on a clinic in the top lane every game during Papara Supermassive’s run at Worlds last year. His aggressive style of League fits perfectly into this roster of fearless players. Carzzy and Kaiser return to the bot lane to continue their reign. The only piece we have yet to see fit into the puzzle is Jungler Elyoya, who comes from Spain’s Movistar Riders. With a team that requires resources to be spread around the map evenly, the young Spaniard has a big task ahead of him if he wants to help this team win.
The hooded ninjas of the LEC became the first team since SK Gaming in 2015 to hold the #1 spot at the end of a split over both G2 and Fnatic. The core of Inspired, Larssen, and Hans sama stick around, while Odoamne makes the move from Schalke, and Trymbi gets the call to move up to the main roster from Rouge’s Academy team. While losing Finn (Top) and Vander (Support) are big hits for this team, they never were the deciding factor in a game. If this roster can still find a way to protect Larssen and Hans sama, then they will find success once again.
#5 FC Schalke 04
The dark horse of the LEC was created last year after Schalke went from being 0-8 to a playoff team. The team has rotated many players in and out of their starting lineup, and this year is no exception. With Odoamne leaving for Rouge, TSM’s Broken Blade was brought in to replace him. Support player Dreams left as well, so SK Gaming’s LIMIT was brought over to fill that spot. Overall, Schalke is a middle of the pack team at best on paper. With no one player being a super standout, it’s hard to confidently say this team will for sure be over .500 by the end of the season. But at the same time, don’t underestimate Abbedagge’s and Neon’s skill to put the team on their backs and carry them to victory over some of Europe’s strongest teams.
The team formally known as Origen let go of everybody but their Mid laner Nukeduck. Now was this the right move? That’s a question for another day. The fact of the matter is that Astralis has built a sub-par roster off the back of a semi-decent Mid laner. Jeskla and promisq have worked together before in the bot lane, but they aren’t anything to write home about. WhiteKnight looks like a promising young Top laner, but Europe is full of lane kingdom Top laners this year, so putting high expectations in a rookie is hard. At the end of the day, this roster shows promise, but there’s a reason why we play the game, as macro decisions made by a young team are usually not the greatest.
Dan Dan (Top) and Febiven (Mid) leaving the team really hurts if you are a Misfits fan. Agresivoo was called up from Misfits’ academy team and HiRit was picked up from the TCL’s 1907 Fenerbahce. It is unknown who will start, but I believe Misfits wants to stick with their young brought up talent. But there is a real possibility that HiRit starts, as he is the more experienced Top laner. Vetheo is young, so it will be interesting to see how he works with established players in Razork, Kobbe and denyk. Don’t expect much from this team however, as this roster will always feel like it’s just thrown together unless they stick with the same players for more than a couple of years.
#8 SK Gaming
Jenax and Treatz are the only players on this roster who have had any major region experience, making it hard to root for this team. TynX, Blue, and Jezu are all decent players in their own right, but this is a new team, which leaves concerns for how well they’ll mesh together. Macro decisions for this young team will be hard too, as the two people with the knowledge to shot call are on non-carry roles. It will be interesting to see who they target as the carry for this team. But whoever it is, getting everyone to play around them properly is the challenge this team will have to overcome.
#9 Excel Esports
The team that finished 7th last year moves down to 9th in our rankings. Even though they retain a good core of players in Kryze, Patrik, and Tore, Dan and Czekolad are both players brought up from other academy teams. Bringing in two young players from different teams poses a challenge, especially when the jungle has still proven to be the most important role in the game at the moment. If Patrik is allowed to play the game, then this team should do fine. But with new faces in some key roles, coming together as one team to make the right macro plays is the biggest challenge this team will face.
#10 Team Vitality
Team Vitality finished last year as the worst team in the LEC, and they start this year in the same position. The only player changed from this roster is Szygenda, who takes over for Cabochard in the top lane. This is a young team, even though four of the five players are returning. However, in an early game focused meta, making sure to play to your draft composition's strength is key- something that Vitality struggled with last year. On Friday, we’ll get to see if this team was able to work some stuff off during the offseason. But until we see that, this team takes the last place spot in our rankings.