LEC All-Pro Summer 2021: Who to consider voting for
The LEC Awards are back for the Summer Split. Once again the awards for the Rookie of the Split, Coaching Staff of the Split, and MVP of the Split will be chosen by a panel of experts (teams, media, casters, and a few Riot employees) while the All-Pro team is decided by you, the fans. We won’t dwell on why we aren’t big fans of the popularity contest format for the All-Pro team—we covered that in our Spring Split edition. Instead, let’s go ahead and look at the players we think you should consider voting for based on the eight weeks of the regular Split.
It was a tumultuous Split in the LEC. Ahead of the season, five teams adjusted their roster, with changes ranging from simple replacements to nearly complete team overhauls and roster swaps. Reigning champions MAD Lions took it easy at the start to recover from their Mid-Season Invitational appearance and G2 Esports rebuilt their framework with new assistant coach Sng “Nelson” Yi-Wei. Once the action commenced, it was clear that it would be a wild ride. Misfits Gaming shot to the top, where ever-consistent Rogue welcomed them with open arms.
So, with eight weeks of action under our belt, which players stood out?
There is no need to beat around the bush: the top lane hasn’t been in the greatest shape in European League of Legends. The days where the LEC was dominated by the triple-threat of world-class top laners Wunder, Alphari, and Bwipo are gone. Though a few talented players have shown potential, they need more experience under their belt to grow into true contenders on the international stage.
Experience isn’t an issue for the prime contender for top laner of the Split: Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu, whose strong performance in the Spring Split continued to age like fine wine as he grew more familiar with his compatriots. Solid as a rock, Odoamne was nothing if not consistent in his duties. While his signature champion Kennen remained his best champion overall, the Romanian pivoted easily to rising picks such as Nocturne and Gwen. He carried on Camille and even in Rogue’s loss against MAD Lions, Odoamne showed the world how the reworked Tahm Kench should be played.
One of the talented players hinted at before is Shin “HiRit” Tae-min, top laner for Misfits Gaming. HiRit truly blossomed in the first weeks of the Summer Split, pairing up with his jungler to lead the charge for his team. Whereas HiRit showed hesitance in his games in the first part of the year, he now played his lane with confidence. That said, HiRit’s dominance faded in the second half of the Summer Split. Whether the other top laners caught up or HiRit simply wasn’t in ‘the zone’ anymore—his explosive start to the Split had a fizzling end.
We cannot talk about the top lane without mentioning one of the most beloved new additions to the LEC in 2021. French rookie Adam “Adam” Maanane slipped straight into the big shoes Fnatic’s former top laner (and now jungler) Bwipo had left behind. It is difficult to describe Adam’s playstyle with any word other than ‘bold’. No matter the matchup, Adam was in the face of his opponents. It showed in one stat more than other: Adam ends the regular Split with fifteen solo kills, almost double that of the #2 in the LEC. Adam’s aggression sometimes came back to bite him, however, as he got caught up in his team’s uncanny desire to endlessly seek fights.
Lastly, a true contender for a slot in your top three is Sergen “Broken Blade” Çelik, who follows in the footsteps of Alphari by finishing tenth in the LEC in spite of a stellar performance. The harsh truth is that Schalke 04’s roster would never amount to much in the LEC after Abbedagge left to join 100 Thieves. Rookie NuclearInt picked up the mid lane position but while having potential, couldn’t deliver consistently, as few rookies can. Virtually without a jungler and with a bot lane struggling to find its footing, Broken Blade was left to his own devices. His inclusion in this list may raise some eyebrows given Schalke 04’s run. But go back and watch Broken Blade’s performances: he was truly one of the best in the role and broke his back trying to lift his team.
It is much easier to arrive at a conclusive list for junglers. A top two, at least. Fiercely in first-place position is Kacper “Inspired” Słoma. Rogue’s jungler was of absolute world class in the LEC Summer Split and in absence of his Spring Split rival Elyoya, the Pole reigned supreme. Inspired is quite literally the whole package. He can carry if his team needs him to and can equally as effectively play more supportive styles. There were few situations where Inspired was running after the facts, as he adapted instantly to the curveballs thrown his way using knowledge he acquired from studying LPL and LCK junglers. Inspired was the glue for Rogue in Spring, and he was superglue for Rogue in Summer.
The second jungler on the shortlist is Iván “Razork” Martín Díaz. From the start of the Split, Razork secured the early game for Misfits. He showed up exactly when he needed to, helping his top lane and mid lane and setting them up for success. Razork’s performance in the Summer Split was reminiscent of his importance during his Rookie of the Split season in Spring 2020, but for different reasons. Razork has learned to control himself more and now can play far more controlling. The aggression that put him on the map is still there, but it’s much better paced.
Beyond what is a clear top two, there are a few candidates to consider. G2 Esports’ Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski remained a stable factor for his team when the squad was undergoing turbulence as they adapted to their new playstyle. Javier “Elyoya” Prades Batalla didn’t have a great Split overall, but his brilliance shone through here and there. Mark “Markoon” van Woensel joined Excel Esports mid-Split and completely revived his team with his relentless aggression. You can make a case for any of them; it just depends on whose performance context you value most.
The mid lane has seen quite a big shakeup in the regular Summer Split. Previous top contenders Rasmus “Caps” Winther and Emil “Larssen” Larsson had disappointing starts to the season and only picked up the pace in the second half of the Split. The player who seized the opportunity to take a jab at the crown was Fnatic mid laner Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer. When Nisqy re-joined the LEC at the start of the year, he was followed by a stigma that he only played to enable his junglers. This Split, Nisqy completely unshackled himself from that image. Ryze, Akali, Sylas, or Irelia: it didn’t matter. Nisqy could carry with the champion. Though the final two weeks were disappointing for Fnatic as a whole, Nisqy took the spotlight in the vast majority of the Split.
Another player followed by a stigma but absolutely a contender for the Mid Laner of the Split Award is Marek “Humanoid” Brázda. Yes, Humanoid had a game or two where he died a lot to dumb mistakes. But in no way should that overshadow the importance he had for MAD Lions. When the team took it easy with practice early in the Split and all other teammates were unreliable, Humanoid stepped up. Without his incredible play in the first half of the Split, MAD Lions wouldn’t have been close to ending in shared second place. He carried games and dragged his teammates through fights. If MAD Lions’ first weeks were a drought, desert of the glamour we saw from MAD Lions at MSI, Humanoid was an oasis.
Looking at full-Split performances, there is one other mid laner that deserves to be pondered on when submitting your votes. Similar to HiRit, Misfits’ Vincent “Vetheo” Berrié put his growth on display in the Summer Split. Once again he popped off in the early weeks. While his average performance subsided a bit as the weeks progressed, he never hit the slump he hit in Spring.
Of all the roles, the bot lane is the easiest to narrow down to a top three, although opinions may vary on the exact order. Only three players performed at a consistently good level all Split long. The first name on this list is Elias “Upset” Lipp. Heading into the year, people questioned if Upset would be able to step up to match his support’s aggressiveness, or if he would stay behind to play safely. Thankfully for Fnatic, Upset has become more than confident to jump forward to secure the kill. Win or lose, you can bet that Upset walks away with a good KDA (Kills/Deaths/Assists) score and though that can come with the image that a player only plays safely, in Upset’s case it was due to his reliability.
Speaking of playing aggressively, there is no player who can match the relentless assault that Steven “Hans sama” Liv puts on in the laning phase. As has been discussed throughout the year, Hans sama is playing better than he ever has. Switching effortlessly between Draven, Ziggs, Kalista, Varus, and many other champions, the French bot laner was ahead of his enemy by the time the mid-game was reached in almost every battle. From there, he simply snowballed that advantage even further. His lane partner Trymbi, who we’ll talk about in a bit, did of course help a lot. But it often was Hans sama who was leading the charge in the lane.
The third and final player running for the bot laner of the Split is Martin “Rekkles” Larsson. We’ll start off with the negative for a change: When G2 hit a slump and went on a four-game loss streak, Rekkles did not look good. In the past he had often stood out even if his team lost, but in these four games he was nearly invisible. That said, the positives are oh so good for him. As soon as he got a taste for blood in a game and the teamfights started occurring, he simply went off. This Summer Split Rekkles was an absolute killing machine. Where Jankos steered the G2 ship in-game during the team’s rebuild phase, Rekkles manned the cannons and blasted the opponents to pieces to clear the way.
The support pool felt weaker in the Summer Split and it wasn’t just because SK Gaming’s Treatz swapped to the jungle position. In general, it didn’t feel like the support players had the same impact they had in the Spring Split, despite many of the same champions being viable. One player who did crawl out of his shell considerably more during the Summer Split is Adrian “Trymbi” Trybus. The progress Trymbi made during the Spring Split didn’t wear off and Trymbi played smart and proactively. His roams were a key factor in Rogue’s macro strategy which helped them acquire gold leads by playing around the map cleverly.
Labros “Labrov” Papoutsakis’ inclusion on this list is perhaps unexpected. Vitality barely made it to the Summer Playoffs while having a lineup that should have easily made it to the top six, and probably contest for the top three. But where Vitality’s mid/jungle duo was volatile, Labrov remained consistent. He reliably set up teamfights and wore the enemies down so that his carries could seize the moment. Go back and watch Vitality’s games, and this time don’t focus on the spotlight-hungry Selfmade, LIDER, or Crownshot. Focus on Labrov’s contribution, and you’ll find a solid support performance.
Fnatic’s support player Zdravets “Hylissang” Galabov had an odd Summer Split because, well, he just didn’t die as much as he normally does. Hylissang is known to take every single opportunity he can to jump into the enemies and set up a kill for his carries. This Summer Split he did not shy away from leaping in at all but he just didn’t die as much. Mind you, he still has the most deaths of any player in the league, sitting at 74, but that’s just a few kills ahead of the rest. To compare: in the regular Spring Split he died 99 times, 24 more than the next player in line. Hylissang played far more refined in the Summer Split. He was aggressive but not overzealous. Hylissang provided the perfect setups.
Other names to consider are Oskar “Vander” Bogdan and Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle. Vander found his form after a few weeks and kept a consistent level of play throughout. When Misfits’ focus started shifting away from the top lane and more to overall teamplay, Vander was the backbone. Mikyx didn’t have a great Split—he played worse than he did in Spring—but by no means averaged a bad level of play. After overcoming the hurdles that came with the playstyle adjustment, he settled as a fine support player for G2.
You can cast your vote for the LEC Summer Split All-Pro team on this site.