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2019 LEC Spring Split Preview and Predictions

Mike Plant | 

The League of Legends European Championship, or LEC, begins their 2019 Spring Split on Friday, January 18th. The league consists of ten teams that will play each other twice in best of one matches. We preview the players and teams you should be looking out for in Europe in 2019.

Breakout Player: Nemesis

Fnatic and star rookie players, name a more iconic duo. In fact, all you need to do is look at their current roster. Rekkles, Broxah, and Bwipo all had outstanding rookie seasons, not to mention their previous and current G2 Esports mid laner Caps. If you had to pick any team in the West to debut as a rookie on, you would pick Fnatic based on their history of player development and coming off the success at the 2018 World Championship.

Because of that support system, it will be almost impossible for Nemesis to look bad in mid lane. He has the best supporting cast in Europe surrounding him, and we’d argue that Broxah is the top jungler in the West. Fnatic played around Caps frequently in 2018 and we expect them to pay special attention to helping Nemesis gain his footing in the LEC. Laning against your region’s best becomes a lot easier when your teammates are better than their teammates. With the system already in place, all Nemesis needs to do is translate his mechanical skill to the stage and the world will take notice.

Most Impactful Player Transfer: Caps to G2 Esports

This is one of the great 2-for-1 deals in Western League of Legends history, right up there with Doublelift leaving Counter Logic Gaming for Team SoloMid. Not only does it help G2 Esports upgrade their mid lane — with the only possible resident player who could upgrade their mid lane — it takes that player away from their biggest regional rival. That is the most impactful move a team can make.

On the flip side, now G2 Esports has one of the world’s elite mid laners transitioning to AD Carry. Perkz obviously has the mechanics and confidence to make the role swap, and he has been performing well in solo queue on his new role. As long as G2 Esports is winning, there should be no problem. But what if things don’t come together quickly? Will Perkz and G2 become impatient and try to find a new home for one of Perkz or Caps? Probably not mid-Spring Split, but keep an eye on that dynamic as the season progresses.

Most Valuable Player: Febiven

This is a simple formula pick. Mid laners tend to be the stars, always involved around the map and on champions that make the flashy outplays. The two best European mid laners are on the same team, and are both likely to have success in their roles to cancel each other out. Everyone loves a good comeback story, especially when the player is returning home from a rival region.

Febiven checks every box of an MVP in the making. He’s an amazingly talented mid laner returning to Europe on a team that is expected to contend for the title. He has a great jungler in Maxlore who should help him wrestle mid priority in most games to show off fancy plays and rack up big score lines. Febiven is capable of much more than he showed with Clutch Gaming, and Misfits Gaming will benefit in 2019.

Dark Horse Team: FC Schalke 04

It’s hard to put FC Schalke 04 up there with the other title contenders heading into 2019. They turned over their entire roster except for Upset in the offseason. Their mid laner Abbeddage is making his debut in the LEC in the Spring Split. Memento is coming off a poor 2018, though much of that can be written off as playing on a poor Team ROCCAT lineup.

There are things to like, though. Upset and IgNar are in the discussion of best bot lane in Europe, if not the best. Odoamne is a rock in top lane that FC Schalke 04 can lean on in the top half of the map. Dylan Falco was brought on as head coach and he has had success on every stop along the way, most recently with Fnatic. It will probably take FC Schalke 04 some time to mesh, but they have the potential to make some noise in the Spring Split playoffs and into the rest of 2019.

Team That May Disappoint: Splyce

Splyce were on a downward trend in 2018, falling from a 3rd place finish in the Spring Split to 6th place in Summer. This culminated in them missing Worlds 2018. Unfortunately for them, their team doesn’t look to have improved. Bringing in Vizicsacsi and Norskeren for Odoamne and kaSing seem to be lateral moves at best while having to break in rookie mid laner Humanoid for Nisqy puts a big question mark in the middle of the map.

As things stand, we think that Splyce are comfortably behind the top five in Europe and could be in danger of missing the playoffs — depending on how well the Origen roster comes together. Peter Dun is a well-respected coach and should eventually have the team playing with a great understanding of the game, but time will tell if they have the talent to stack up with the other top teams in the LEC.

Title Favorite: G2 Esports

This is splitting hairs with Fnatic, but G2 Esports gets the early nod for LEC title favorite. Really, the departure of Caps from Fnatic is more impactful in this ranking than the addition for G2 Esports. How Perkz and Mikyx come together bot lane will be the story for G2 in the 2019 Spring Split.

With the announcement of the new playoff format, it will be even more important for teams to secure a top 2 seed for playoffs. There are only two of those to go around for the perceived top 3 of G2 Esports, Fnatic, and Misfits Gaming. The 1 and 2 seeds will play in a best-of-five match to head directly to the finals, while the loser still has an opportunity to redeem themselves against the winner of the other semifinal match. This will add extra motivation for teams to start off the season quickly, rather than work themselves into form as it goes along.

LEC Power Rankings

Teams come from out of nowhere, top teams fall apart, and that’s why they play the games. But heading into the 2019 Spring Season, these are early LEC Power Rankings with a quick thought on each team.

10) Excel Esports

2018 Spring Record: N/A

2018 Summer Record: N/A

Top: Ki “Expect” Dae-han

Top: Rosendo “Send0o” Fuentes

Jungle: Marc “Caedrel” Robert Lamont

Jungle: Christian “Taxer” Vendelbo

Mid: Fabian “Exile” Schubert

Mid: Joran “Special” Scheffer

Bot: Nihat “Innaxe” Dzhelal Aliev

Bot: Jesper “Jeskla” Klarin Strömberg

Support: Raymond “kaSing” Tsang

Support: Patryk “Mystiques” Piórkowski

Expect and kaSing are familiar names, but there isn’t enough firepower from Excel Esports’ first lineup to compete in the LEC.

9) SK Gaming

2018 Spring Record: N/A

2018 Summer Record: N/A

Top: Jorge “Werlyb” Casanovas

Jungle: Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek

Jungle: Gerrit “Phrenic” Stukemeier

Mid: Choi “Pirean” Jun-sik

Bot: Juš “Crownshot” Marušič

Bot: Tim “Keduii” Willers

Support: Han “Dreams” Min-kook

Support: Mads “Doss” Schwartz

Pirean should be a good fit to help Selfmade get settled in for his LEC debut. Three of the five starters for SK Gaming —  Werlyb, Selfmade, and Crownshot — come from the Spanish team Mad Lions, so they have some familiarity playing together.

8) Rogue

2018 Spring Record: N/A

2018 Summer Record: N/A

Top: Kim “Profit” Jun-hyung

Jungle: Mateusz “Kikis” Szkudlarek

Mid: Chres “Sencux” Laursen

Bot: Martin “HeaQ” Kordmaa

Support: Kim “Wadid” Bae-in

It would be a surprise if Rogue were able to sneak into the playoffs in their first split. They lack hard carries in their lineup and will likely be reliant on Kikis to make aggressive plays early.

7) Origen

2018 Spring Record: N/A

2018 Summer Record: N/A

Top: Barney “Alphari” Morris

Jungle: Jonas “Kold” Andersen

Mid: Erlend “Nukeduck” Våtevik Holm

Bot: Patrik “Patrik” Jírů

Support: Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre Rodríguez

Origen have a number of experienced players and should have good in-game direction coming from Mithy and Kold. If Alphari has a bounce-back season and they get good play from Patrik, Origen are a playoff threat.

6) Splyce

2018 Spring Record: 11-7

2018 Summer Record: 9-9

Top: Tamás “Vizicsacsi” Kiss

Jungle: Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir

Mid: Marek “Humanoid” Brázda

Bot: Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup

Support: Tore “Norskeren” Hoel Eilertsen

Anything less than playoffs would be a disappointment for Splyce, but they are no lock to make it there. A lot will hinge on Humanoid making a successful transition to LEC, though you can say that with several LEC teams and their mid laners.

5) FC Schalke 04

2018 Spring Record: 7-11

2018 Summer Record: 12-6

Top: Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu

Jungle: Jonas “Memento” Elmarghichi

Mid: Felix “Abbedagge” Braun

Bot: Elias “Upset” Lipp

Support: Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun

FC Schalke 04 would rise even higher in a different meta, but for now, their strength is unfortunately in bot lane during a skirmish heavy meta. They might be the most bot focused team in the LEC heading into 2019.

4) Team Vitality

2018 Spring Record: 10-8

2018 Summer Record: 12-6

Top: Lucas “Cabochard” Simon-Meslet

Jungle: Lee “Mowgli” Jae-ha

Mid: Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro

Bot: Amadeu “Attila” Carvalho

Support: Jakub “Jactroll” Skurzyński

Team Vitality had to replace Kikis, and Mowgli is a very strong player to grab. The question will be team synergy, as Team Vitality displayed its importance when they turned their season around after swapping from Gilius to Kikis late in 2018.

3) Misfits Gaming

2018 Spring Record: 8-10

2018 Summer Record: 11-7

Top: Paul “sOAZ” Boyer

Jungle: Nubar “Maxlore” Sarafian

Mid: Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten

Bot: Steven “Hans Sama” Liv

Support: Kang “GorillA” Beom-hyeon

Misfits Gaming are in the conversation for title favorites with Fnatic and G2 Esports but lack the player history together that the other two teams have. Febiven will be counted on to return to form after a rough 2018 Summer Split with Clutch Gaming.

2) Fnatic

2018 Spring Record: 14-4

2018 Summer Record: 13-5

Top: Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau

Jungle: Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen

Mid: Tim “Nemesis” Lipovšek

Bot: Martin “Rekkles” Larsson

Support: Zdravets “Hylissang” Iliev Galabov

They could arguably still be the favorite, but losing Caps for any Western player, especially a rookie, will make it tougher on the rest of the squad. Fnatic also lost sOAZ, which while expected, is nonetheless another tool that they won’t have at their disposal in 2019.

1) G2 Esports

2018 Spring Record: 11-7

2018 Summer Record: 12-6

Top: Martin “Wunder” Hansen

Jungle: Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski

Mid: Rasmus “Caps” Winther

Bot: Luka “Perkz” Perković

Support: Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle

If Perkz and Mikyx are even a top half of the LEC bot lane duo in Spring Split, G2 Esports should be the favorite. We’re betting they will be.

Mike Plant
Michael Plant has been playing League of Legends since 2010 and analyzing it nearly as long. More recently, he's been interested in the developing PUBG and Fortnite scenes. When he's not playing or watching video games, he's more than likely following one of his Houston sports teams.
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