The wait is almost over. The start of the 2021 LEC Spring Split is less than one hour away.
After an offseason full of historic changes, such as Rekkles moving to G2 and the departure of Perkz and other great LEC players like Alphari to the LCS, the LEC has some fresh rosters and narratives this year.
As usual, there are a number of interesting storylines surrounding every team in the league. To create some more hype and liven up the wait before the season begins, here are 10 of our favorite stories heading into the start of the season for the top European League of Legends competition.
Rekkles, a new rooster on G2 Esports’ farmyard
One of the biggest storylines heading into this upcoming LEC split is the new G2 Esports. This offseason marked the beginning of a new era for the organization. Following the departure of Perkz, who spent more than five years with G2, Rekkles arrived as his replacement in one of the biggest roster changes in the history of European League.
So far, G2 as an organization has done a great job of keeping a roster full of superstars and strong personalities together, making it work with great success the last two years. But now, a piece has changed and G2 is back to the same point from two years ago where some people in the community doubted whether this team could stay together and work correctly. On paper, G2 has been greatly strengthened by the arrival of the Swedish marksman, undoubtedly the best ADC in the entire league at the moment because of his good champion pool and consistency. But until we see the quintet for a couple of weeks, we won’t be able to completely dispel doubts about how this team will work.
If the team operates as it’s supposed to, G2 should be even more dominant in the LEC than they were last year (even taking into account that they won every single split recently). Their objective will then become winning Worlds and taking home the MSI title once again.
A new Fnatic without its centerpiece
This offseason doesn’t only mark a new era for G2, though. Fnatic also lost one of its best and most historic pieces, Rekkles. In addition, the British team made changes in the mid lane. Upset and Nisqy are in charge of building a new Fnatic, maintaining the success that the organization has achieved throughout its history in competitive League.
In this case, the doubts don’t fall on egos or strong personalities. Fans are curious to see if Fnatic can stay near the top with these major changes—at least in second place, which is where they’ve been since the G2 dynasty began two years ago.
Nisqy fits perfectly with Fnatic’s “jungle enabler” style with Selfmade, who will have even more prominence than last year. It won’t be easy for the new Fnatic ADC to try to fill in Rekkles’ shoes, though. Upset joins the team with many doubts from the LEC and Fnatic fans due to his poor individual performance and Origen’s play as a team last season.
Rogue: Trading seniority for young talent for 2021
Rogue made one of the strangest changes of the entire offseason, specifically in the support position. While the change in the top lane is reasonable considering Finn’s poor performance throughout 2020, the bet on Trymbi is undoubtedly risky—especially considering that he has to replace such a good support and someone with a profile as different as Vander, who has seniority and experience as two of his main characteristics.
You have to give Trymbi the benefit of the doubt, especially if you saw the performance of Rogue’s new rookie support in the European Masters tournament where he was one of the main reasons why Rogue Academy ended up winning the tournament.
The change in the top lane, on the other hand, isn’t surprising at all. In fact, it seems like a natural fit. Odoamne, one of the players involved in the impressive “miracle run” of S04 last split, remained solid even in the worst moments of the German team, while Finn was often the weak link on Rogue last season, especially due to his poor ability to adapt to goals outside of the carry role.
MAD Lions renews its bet on rookies by adding two new cubs to its pride
MAD Lions were the revelation of the LEC last year. The project born from the ashes of Splyce and with a strong commitment to rookies as its main identity surprised fans across the world. They were on the heels of G2 and Fnatic and even beat the reigning champion in a fast-paced best-of-five in the spring playoffs. But MAD’s season finale was lousy, in comparison, especially in the summer playoffs and at Worlds. That’s why MAD Lions made several changes to its lineup while also maintaining its commitment to young European talent.
While Shad0w and Orome have left the team, Elyoya and Armut have arrived. Elyoya is one of the most promising junglers in Europe, coming from the Spanish amateur scene to the top European competition in just one year. And that matches what MAD Lions was looking for while trying to replace Shad0w.
The story of Armut and MAD Lions, on the other hand, is quite ironic. He was previously the top laner of Supermassive, the Turkish team that eliminated MAD Lions from Worlds—and Armut individually outclassed MAD’s former top laner Orome, too.
Armut will try to give MAD Lions more flexibility in the top lane since he played all kinds of styles with great reliability in Turkey.
Astralis and their fight against the ghosts of the past
Astralis was born from the now-defunct Origen and will try to seek their redemption after a horrendous end to the 2020 season where they finished at the bottom of the standings with a roster that looked good on paper. Heading into this season, Astralis has a new identity, coaching staff, directive, and a completely new roster.
Astralis is the most-changed team from the offseason. Deficio, the roster’s general manager, left the organization for Misfits. Former head coach Guilhoto also parted ways with the team and only mid laner Nukeduck remains from last year’s six-man roster.
For this new lineup, Astralis opted to sign old acquaintances who will try to prove their worth again. WhiteKnight, Zanzarah, Jesklaa, and Promisq will join Nukeduck with a more realistic and humble goal: the playoffs.
Zanzarah is one of the rookies to watch out for this season due to his fearless and aggressive style. He’ll be key to the success of the Danish team. Zanzarah is probably one of the most creative players in the whole region.
Excel going for their first playoff appearance
Excel Esports is the only LEC team that’s never made it to the playoffs in the two-year history of the rebranded competition. Going into this Spring Split, they’ll seek to finally enter the top six of the standings.
To achieve this goal, Excel opted for a renewal in the mid-jungle duo while keeping the rest of its roster and Youngbuck as head coach. Last year, Special was the weakest piece of the team and probably one of the worst-performing mid laners in the whole league. Followed by the temporary retirement of Caedrel last year, Excel will have a new mid-jungle duo formed by Dan and Czekolad.
Czekolad is one of the most promising talents in the region. The Polish mid laner was a hotly contested player during the offseason because of his regular and strong performances in different ERLs.
Schalke will try to replicate end-of-season success in 2021 with some new but familiar faces
Schalke starred in one of the most impressive storylines of last year’s competitive season. The team went on a miracle run in which they managed to enter the playoffs with a streak of seven consecutive victories.
For this year, the team will look somewhat the same, changing only its top laner and support. The most important change is undoubtedly the arrival of Broken Blade from current LCS champions TSM. In addition, Limit joined S04 as its new support.
Schalke’s goal for this year is clear: Finish the task from last summer and reach Worlds.
Misfits: New roster, new board, new strategy all with the aim of returning to the success of the past
Misfits is one of the other teams that changed the most from last year. The org signed a roster with seven players and has two people fighting for their spot in the top lane and at support.
Additionally, the Misfits team has decided to keep the 2020 Rookie of the Spring Split, jungler Razork, and added up-and-coming French mid laner Vetheo to round out their mid-jungle duo.
Kobbe will stick with the team, trying to reconnect with his best form that fans saw at the end of 2019 with Splyce. Alongside him, Misfits has Denyk and veteran Vander, who will give the young Misfits team the experience they need to guide them on the Rift. Agresivoo and Hirit will compete for the spot of starting top laner for the LEC squad.
Misfits also made major changes to its staff with the addition of Deficio as the team director and Enatron as the squad’s head coach.
The goal for Misfits this year is to overcome two bad years for the organization and return to being considered one of the best teams in the league.
Team Vitality repeats its formula after its “super roster” fell through
Aside from the moves of Perkz and Rekkles, one of the other big topics of the offseason was Vitality’s rumored super roster that fell through, a team that would have been full of talent and superstars with Perkz as a cornerstone. In fact, with the death of this super roster and G2 deciding not to start transfer talks with Fnatic for Perkz, hopes of continuing to see both Perkz and Alphari competing in the LEC also died.
This roster that wasn’t finally formed featured Alphari, Trick, Perkz, Upset and Hylissang, according to G2 CEO Carlos “ocelote” Rodriguez in an interview on The Crackdown podcast. For more context, the main reason why this roster fell through was Alphari moving to North America and Team Liquid. Carlos said he and G2 were trying so hard to get this deal done that they even offered Vitality and Misfits to split the payment for Perkz over four years.
This roster, at least on paper, would’ve been a top-three team in the same tier as G2 and Fnatic. And they definitely would’ve been a contender for the LEC title in 2021. But with this roster not coming to fruition, Vitality decided to keep the majority of its players for this season with only one change—but a major one.
After being with Vitality since day one, Cabochard won’t compete with the French team this season. To replace him, Vitality picked up the promising rookie and current EU Master champion Szygenda, reinforcing the org’s bet on rookies with a similar strategy to teams like MAD Lions. There’s no doubt that the rookies are a key piece of the narrative for the LEC heading into this season.
SK Gaming reforms around Jenax
SK Gaming made some strange moves this offseason. They lost their main carry, Crownshot, and moved ZaZeee, a promising mid laner who had a decent performance last split, to their academy team.
They’ve brought Treatz back after his brief stint with TSM in the LCS and the Swedish support will finally make his debut in the top European competition. Apart from this, SK also signed Tynx, Blue, and Jezu. Only Jenax will remain on the team following his role change to the top lane.
Tynx is one of the most promising junglers coming from the regional leagues. He had a great performance on LDLC despite his behavior problems, something that caused him not to play some important games with the French team.
Jezu has the difficult task of replacing Crownshot, who was one of the main carries for SK last season. Blue and Jezu are the team’s biggest question marks since they both didn’t shine as much as Tynx in tournaments like EU Masters.
The 2021 LEC Spring Split will kick off today, Jan. 22, at 11am CT with G2 vs. MAD Lions.
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