The updated League of Legends European Championship (LEC) begins today, with new organizations and teams battling on the Rift for 2019. The off-season was filled with player swaps, coaching changes, and all kinds of twists, making for entertaining discussions among the esports community. With so many differences since last year, here is a primer for each LEC team heading into the 2019 Spring Split.
2019 Roster: Expect/Sendo (Top), Caedrel/Taxer (Jun), Exile/Special (Mid), Jeskla/Innaxe (Bot), Kasing/Mystiques (Sup)
2018 Roster: N/A
Excel is a new organization entering Europe’s pro league, so they have no 2018 roster to compare with. Expect, Caedrel, Exile, Jeskla, and Kasing are most likely starting, players without much experience together. Expect played for Origen last year in European Masters. Caedrel was on H2K. Exile played for Unicorns of Love, while Kasing played for Splyce. Jeskla is a rookie. This team will take time to mesh, and probably will not make playoffs. They are the first team to announce a full ten-man roster, and as long as they are better than H2K last summer, then Excel will draw fans.
2019 Roster: Bwipo (Top), Broxah (Jun), Nemesis (Mid), Rekkles (Bot), Hylissang (Sup)
2018 Roster: Bwipo/Soaz (Top), Broxah (Jun), Caps (Mid), Rekkles (Bot), Hylissang (Sup)
Fnatic lost Soaz and Caps going into the 2019 Spring Split. These are definitely strong pieces to lose, but not necessarily roster-shakingly huge. Giving power to Misfits and G2 are the greater issue. Bwipo, Broxah, Rekkles, and Hylissang all had their own share of all-star performances in 2018, culminating in the World Championship finals. Settling on one starting top and bottom laner limits Fnatic’s flexibility, but increases their odds of on-boarding Nemesis smoothly. Expect this team to continue to pressure the top of the standings and challenge every other LEC team to play their best.
2019 Roster: Wunder/Thebausffs (Top), Jankos (Jun), Caps (Mid), Perkz (Bot), Mikyx (Sup)
2018 Roster: Wunder (Top), Jankos (Jun), Perkz (Mid), Hjarnan (Bot), Wadid (Sup)
G2 made headlines with one of the most bizarre roster changes in the off-season. Perkz role-swapped to bottom lane, while Caps joined the team as mid laner. Taking one of the best European mid laners of all time and moving him to bottom lane could turn out to be genius or ludicrous with time. Bringing on Caps is the only possible upgrade possible in the mid lane. Mikyx brings a higher consistent mechanical skill to the support role. However, Hjarnan and Wadid’s synergy seemed to reach its peak at the World Championship, where G2 had phenomenal performances. 2019’s iteration may work out in the end, but the changes feel pretty forced overall.
2019 Roster: Soaz (Top), Maxlore (Jun), Febiven (Mid), Hans sama (Bot), GorillA (Sup)
2018 Roster: Alphari (Top), Maxlore (Jun), Sencux (Mid), Hans sama (Bot), Mikyx/Jesiz(Sup)
Misfits brought pretty hefty changes from 2018. Soaz, Febiven, and GorillA bring different strengths and weaknesses to the team, and ended 2018 at lower levels of their careers. Soaz saw significantly less play time on Fnatic, despite showing strong performances when starting. Febiven made a great debut in North America during Spring Split, then tanked in Summer Split. GorillA leaves the LCK following Kingzone narrowly missing the 2018 World Championship. Maxlore and Hans sama were certainly the most exciting members of Misfits’ 2018 roster, making this line-up the most unpredictable going into 2019. If Febiven finds his fire, and if Soaz and GorillA reach their highest potential, then Misfits could be one of the best in the LEC.
Roster 2019: Alphari (Top), Kold (Jun), Nukeduck (Mid), Patrik (Bot), Mithy (Sup)
Roster 2018: Expect (Top), Insec (Jun), Froggen (Mid), FORG1VEN (Bot), Jesiz (Sup)
While Origen did not participate in the LCS last year, their team did win the European Masters. The star line-up arguably had more name recognition, but 2019’s roster is much better-conditioned. Like Excel, Origen put together a hodge-podge of players from different teams. Alphari joined from Misfits. Kold last played on Unicorns of Love. Nukeduck led Schalke, while Patrik (Sheriff) had his rookie year on H2K. Mithy returns to Europe after his stint on TSM. It may take some time for this team to gel, but with so much to prove from each of its members, Origen could make a real splash.
Roster 2019: Profit (Top), Kikis (Jun), Sencux (Mid), HeaQ (Bot), Wadid (Sup)
Roster 2018: N/A
Rogue is the other first time organization joining the LEC this year, and they put together a roster of underdogs. Although Kikis got some credit for boosting Vitality last year, the rest are not really considered close to best in their role. Profit has played in Europe for two full years now without truly standing out. Sencux has felt stagnant since 2017. HeaQ hasn’t quite gotten over the hump of being a “young” player, despite joining the LCS in 2017. Wadid has had his high moments, but he is losing his bottom lane partner of two years. This roster will probably be reminiscent of ROCCAT last year.
Roster 2019: Odoamne (Top), Memento (Jun), Abbedagge (Mid), Upset (Bot), IgNar (Sup)
Roster 2018: Vizicsacsi (Top), Amazing (Jun), Nukeduck (Mid), Upset (Bot), Vander (Sup)
Nukeduck acted as Schalke’s anchor for most of last year, with Vizicsacsi and Upset having their ups and downs. Amazing and Vander were basically role players, so Memento and IgNar should bring more dynamics to those roles. Odoamne remains a top three player in his role, but Abbedagge is new to the top level European league. He helped Royal Bandits reach second in Turkey’s Summer Split. Like 2018, most of Schalke’s success will come down to Upset. This is the second time the organization rebuilt around him, and he needs to come through. Schalke made it to finals in the Summer Split and Regional Qualifier, so fans have higher expectations.
Roster 2019: Werlyb (Top), Selfmade (Jun), Pirean (Mid), Crownshot (Bot), Dreams (Sup)
Roster 2018: N/A
While SK Gaming used to be a household name for professional League of Legends, the organization has not been part of the LCS since 2015. They re-enter the LEC with a mostly underwhelming line-up. Werlyb was one of the worst top laners last year. Pirean may have improved with SKT last year, but never really “wowed” in North America. Selfmade and Crownshot are promising players from MAD Lions, a team out of the Spanish LVP that finished third-fourth in EU Masters. Dreams played for Vitality and Mysterious Monkeys, but has yet to really stand out. Unless something really clicks with these guys, they probably will not accomplish much. SK Gaming feels like Giants Gaming from last year.
Roster 2019: Vizicsacsi (Top), Xerxe (Jun), Humanoid (Mid), Kobbe (Bot), Norskeren (Sup)
Roster 2018: Odoamne (Top), Xerxe (Jun), Nisqy (Mid), Kobbe (Bot), Kasing (Sup)
Splyce keep their jungler and AD carry moving into 2019, while bringing on Vizicsacsi, Humanoid, and Norskeren. Xerxe and Vizicsacsi played together to decent success on Unicorns of Love throughout 2017. Kobbe is consistently improving year over year, and Norskeren has been a stronger European support. Humanoid has played in Challenger Series and the TCL for a few years now, but makes his first major league debut this year. Splyce’s 2019 roster will probably be similar to 2018: some upsets and some tough losses. Overall, they should be a playoff contender, but not really feared by top teams.
Roster 2019: Cabochard (Top), Mowgli (Jun), Jiizuke (Mid), Attila (Bot), Jactroll (Sup)
Roster 2018: Cabochard (Top), Kikis/Gilius (Jun), Jiizuke (Mid), Attila (Bot), Jactroll (Sup)
Vitality only swapped one player, making them the team with the least changes. 2018 was a successful year for the organization, making it to Worlds and making a serious splash. Every member of the team showed growth over the season, and bringing in Mowgli should not disrupt that too much. Last year he jungled for Afreeca Freecs in the LCK, making it to Worlds, as well. Honestly, Mowgli probably fits Vitality’s style better than Kikis, and could make them stronger if he meshes right.
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