2021 League of Legends European Championship (LEC) Weekend Preview

by Gabriel Ionica

Spring is upon us once again, signaling the start of the League of Legends European Championship (LEC) 2021 Spring Split. The first split of the year is a good indicator of recent roster changes that have changed the teams’ performance, so let’s see how the participating teams did.

Event details

The LEC 2021 Spring Split, which began on January 22, will last until March 14. Ten teams participate in a double round-robin format with best of one matches. The top six teams qualify for the Playoffs later this year, with the top four teams playing in the winners’ bracket.

5th and 6th place teams will play in the losers’ bracket.

Riot streams all of the matches on the official LEC Twitch channel. The official League of Legends website offers the official match schedule and the season standings.

The teams participating are:

  • Astralis
  • Excel Esports
  • FC Schalke 04
  • Fnatic
  • G2 Esports
  • MAD Lions
  • Misfits Gaming
  • Rogue
  • SK Gaming
  • Team Vitality

Key teams to watch for

We can’t talk about top teams right now without mentioning Rogue; they are on fire. As it stands, they are the only undefeated team in the LEC season, with a solid 5-0 start in this year’s Spring Split. They made short work of Misfits Gaming and Vitality, sitting at fifth and ninth place, respectively.

As WIN.gg put it, Rogue’s large champion pool made it hard for teams to draft against them and develop a counter-strategy. For comparison, they started the last season with a 3-1 record and ended it at 9-9 so their strong 5-0 start this time around shows they are not messing around anymore. Even so, they will have to continue this winning streak to make it into the playoffs and with all of the best-of-five matches, that is easier said than done.

G2 Esports is currently in second place, with a 4-1 record that is not too shabby either. They dropped the ball with a relatively unexpected loss against FC Schalke 04, who reside in third place alongside MAD Lions. This is the opposite of the strong start G2 had last season which put them at the top of some people’s power rankings.

At the bottom of the pack in last place are Astralis and Team Vitality, both with a 1-4 record. The former ended last season with a 13-5 record, so while it’s not over for them yet, it is a much weaker start than they were expecting. Team Vitality, on the other hand, is pretty much in the same place as last season, where they ended with two wins and 16 losses.

The remaining teams, SK gaming, EXCEL and Fnatic are in fifth place next to Misfit Gaming, all with a 2-3 record. Not terrible, but nothing impressive either.

Key players to watch for

Since Rogue is in first, let’s talk about their support Adrian “Trymbi” Trybus. Trymbi was originally promoted from the team’s academy roster after Finn “Finn” Wiestål and Oskar “Vander” Bogdan left back in November. During the team’s dominant 5-0 record, Trymbi got the chance to prove himself as LEC material, and if their streak continues, he might find himself a permanent spot on the roster.

On the G2 side, we have the team’s newest addition, Martin “Rekkles” Larsson. Rekkles joined in November to fill Luka “Perkz” Perković’s shoes. The Croatian superstar was G2’s long-time captain until he left in November to play for Cloud9 overseas. Rekkles has a lot to prove but so far, it seems he has what it takes to propel G2 into a good placement.

Astralis is in a bit of a weird spot as the team rebranded from Origen and lost four of their all-star players. Who was left? Veteran player Erlend “nukeduck” Våtevik Holm. While his teammates are by no means new to the game, they do not have the same amount of experience in the pro scene as nukeduck. The Reddit community has criticized the roster as being unambitious, unlikely to do well, and likely the result of Astralis not having any money to spend on a “good roster.”

Given their lackluster results in this first week of the Spring Split, it seems the community might have been right but they still have plenty of opportunities to prove them wrong.

Since we mentioned Rekkles, let’s mention who took his place on Fnatic: Elias “Upset” Lipp. In the past, Upset’s teams would always fall to Fnatic and Rekkles so, in a way, the tables might turn here. Upset might finally overstep that obstacle now that he is a part of the team that denied him success before while Rekkles could be stuck in Upset’s place.

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