LEC Spring Split 2022 Power Rankings
At long last, the League of Legends European Championship returns this week, on January 14th, with its Spring Split 2022. Teams have rebuilt their lineups, ranging from minor tweaks to complete overhauls. With the cards reshuffled, it’s time to rank the LEC’s ten teams and predict how much of a splash they’ll make in the new season.
Rather than locking them into first, second, third, et cetera, we’ll be using a tier system to explain the range of possible spots teams could finish the Spring Split in. At the bottom, we find the ‘It’s looking rough’ tier. Then come the ‘Playoff hopefuls’, ‘Subtop’, and lastly, the ‘title favorites’.
It’s Looking Rough: Astralis, Misfits Gaming
For all the “10th-placed team” memes Astralis had to endure, they did commendably well. They finished ninth in the 2021 Spring Split, and in the Summer Split, almost making it to the Playoffs. Astralis has kept top laner Matti “WhiteKnight” Sormunen and upgraded their bot lane by signing Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup. However, for reasons unknown, they let go of a player instrumental to their Summer Split surge: mid laner Felix “MagiFelix” Boström. It’s hard to imagine Astralis living up to, or surpassing, their results of last year.
Seeing Misfits in this tier will raise eyebrows, given the team’s rock-solid performance during last year’s regular Summer Split, where they went on a memorable win streak. Misfits lost big in the offseason when jungler Iván “Razork” Martín Díaz, who was in Summer Split MVP contention, was acquired by Fnatic. But Misfits seems to have shot themselves in the foot by pushing veteran support Oskar “Vander” Bogdan to their academy team. Vander has, for the last years, been a consistent shotcaller and mentor to younger players. Now, Misfits will field a team of talented but young, inexperienced players. In the past, such teams struggled to adapt to their opponents in-game, and there’s little reason to assume Misfits will be a different case.
Spring Split 2022 Playoff Hopefuls: Team BDS, Excel Esports, SK Gaming
Team BDS, the new face in the LEC, has taken over two players of Schalke 04, whose slot BDS bought. Dino “LIMIT” Tot, a widely underappreciated support player, and Ilias “NUCLEARINT” Bizriken, a solid rookie last year, have transferred over. BDS’ lineup is a melting pot of talent, but the potential is clearly present. One of BDS’ strongest assets, however, is its coaching staff, with Fabian “GrabbZ” Lohmann and Christopher “Duffman” Duff, who’ll be molding their lineup with years of experience.
Excel has made the wise decision to keep four of its five Summer Split players. While the team missed out on the Playoffs for the sixth time in a row, a mid-Split infusion of Dutch duo Mark “Markoon” van Woensel and Henk “Advienne” Reijenga made the team surge. Continuing to build on that foundation is a great call. Not all decisions go unquestioned, though. Excel’s decision to replace top laner Felix “Kryze” Hellström with Finn “Finn” Wiestål, who has been struggling for two years, seems strange.
SK Gaming kicked off 2021 in a promising fashion. They then threw all their progress away in the Summer Split by making some of the strangest roster decisions in LEC history by role-swapping Erik “Treatz” Wessén from support to jungle, and fielding coach Jesse “Jesiz” Le as support. SK paid a hefty price for their nonsense and has learned from their mistakes since. Treatz is back to the support role in which he so beautifully played last year, ready to lead his team through his play. Janik “Jenax” Bartels flew under the radar last year but will be an important pillar for SK Gaming yet again, as the squad finds its groove with their new mid/jungle duo.
Subtop: MAD Lions, Rogue, G2 Esports
Reigning champions MAD Lions lost two key assets in the offseason. Mid laner Marek “Humanoid” Brázda, the best European player in 2021 and MAD Lions hard-carry at the start of the Summer Split, has left for Fnatic. Bot laner Matyáš “Carzzy” Orság has donned Vitality’s colors for 2022. MAD Lions rightfully prides itself in scouting and training the best next generation of players and there is no doubt that they’ll find a way to let Steven “Reeker” Chen and William “UNF0RGIVEN” Nieminen flourish. Until that time, though, the team will take a clear step back.
Rogue too has been dealt a significant blow in the offseason. The team’s two best players of 2021, Summer Split MVP Kacper “Inspired” Słoma and Steven “Hans sama” Liv, have crossed the Atlantic to play in the LCS. These voids are not filled easily. Rogue is attempting to stem the bleeding with former DWG KIA substitute jungler Kim “Malrang” Geun-seong and Markos “Comp” Stamkopoulos. Individually, those two should clearly be capable of holding their own in the LEC. But as a team, Rogue will have a hard time flying as high as they did in the Spring Split last year, when they were one game away of claiming the title.
Once the kings of the LEC, G2 Esports has overhauled its team drastically after a disappointing year. From players to the coaching staff, everyone had to make way except for mid laner Rasmus “caPs” Winther and jungler Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski. It’s one of the best duos to build a team around, and G2 has gone for an interesting mix. Their new bot lane duo experiments with Victor “Flakked” Lirola and Raphaël “Targamas” Crabbé after extensive tryouts. In the top lane, G2 is going for a more proven quality. Sergen “Broken Blade” Çelik played fantastically in 2021 despite Schalke 04’s eventual demise. On G2, Broken Blade has a chance to rise to the superstar potential he has had for years.
Title Favorites for Spring Split 2022: Team Vitality, Fnatic
The LEC offseason revolved around the creation of two superteams who, on paper, should form an uncontested top two. Team Vitality kept support Labros “Labrov” Papoutsakis and jungler Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek from last year, but changed everyone else. Barney “Alphari” Morris and Luka “Perkz” Perković, the best player Europe has ever seen, both came back from a one-year stunt in the LCS. With bot laner Carzzy, Vitality completed their lineup. The amount of experience and success of the lineup speaks for itself, and anything but winning the LEC should be considered a failure.
Fnatic, however, is hell-bent on making Vitality taste that failure. Of its players, the strong bot lane duo of Elias “Upset” Lipp and Zdravets “Hylissang” Galabov survived the offseason. Fnatic then added Razork and Humanoid, two MVP candidates in the LEC’s 2021 Summer Split and the strongest players on their respective teams. Lastly, Martin “Wunder” Hansen was bought from arch-nemesis G2. Wunder is Fnatic’s biggest gamble. The top laner suffered a relatively dreadful 2021 where, despite his efforts, he floundered. If he finds his 2020 shape again, he’ll be everything Fnatic needs to win the title. If he finds his 2019 shape again, he’ll personally lead them to the trophy.
Vitality and Fnatic have the title for the taking, but it’s not all roses. Their monstrous potential power is an amalgamation of strong personalities from various backgrounds. They might need time to live up to the expectations. And, as has been highlighted repeatedly in discussions of the rosters, it remains to be seen how well the superstars get along when the pressure is on. For now, though, Vitality and Fnatic have all eyes on them.