The League of Legends LEC Summer Split kicks off on Friday, June 11, with no changes in the 10 teams that we saw competing for the coveted LEC trophy last split. Although there were talks about Schalke 04 selling their LEC spot, the Germans are back for another season.
Unlike how it is in the LCS, LEC teams will not carry over their Spring points into the Summer Split, meaning all 10 can start their climb to the title at level ground. Still, that doesn’t necessarily mean each team has an equal chance to come out ahead.
The last split saw the beginning of a new era after G2 Esports lost their crown as the undisputed best European team to MAD Lions. That begs the question of whether the eight-time LEC champions can get back on track and reclaim their throne, or has the league become too competitive for the old guard to keep up with the younger sides in Rogue and MAD Lions?
League of Legends LEC Summer Split
Here is our League of Legends LEC Summer Season 2021 Preview, where we take a look at the teams, what has changed, and which sides have what it takes to compete for the title and one of three tickets leading to the 2021 League of Legends World Championship.
G2 Esports, the fallen kings, enter LEC 2021 Summer after their worst split since 2018 EU LCS Summer. Their elimination from the semi-finals doesn’t seem too bad in the greater scheme of things, but after years of dominance, you have to wonder whether this is the end of the “G2 era” or have the eight-time LEC champions simply had a nasty split.
This is still an extremely talented roster with some of the best individual talent in Europe. All five players played relatively well last split, although you could argue that Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle wasn’t exactly a shining star of G2 – granted, you can’t look good as a support player if your team isn’t winning games.
While I can say G2 played well, they were still a clear cut below the likes of Rogue and MAD Lions, so it’s not like LEC 2021 Spring was an upset split – G2 finished where they should have. The big question is whether G2 Esports will find their form this split and claw their way back to the summit of European League of Legends, and while that’s entirely likely to happen, it’s a big “IF”.
The league has caught up top G2 and they’re no longer the dominant force they once were. Still an extremely talented team, but there are other teams in the league (outside of Fnatic) that can challenge them.
There is this narrative that G2 will eventually reach their former glory simply because they are G2… I won’t believe that until I see it. At 2.75, backing G2 to win LEC 2021 Summer is not something I’m interested in.
No roster changes
You could argue Rogue should have won the LEC 2021 Spring, and I still believe they were the better team. It must be devastating to reach your first finals, only to get reverse-swept after holding a 2-0 lead.
A tragic loss that will not be easily forgotten, but still, I don’t believe that defeat is any indication of Rogue’s lack of quality. Rogue will remain a force to be reckoned with this split, and I fully expect them to compete for a spot at Worlds.
No roster changes
MAD Lions impressed me with their performances at the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational. Forcing the reigning world champions DWG KIA to five maps is nothing to sneeze at, although the Koreans haven’t been playing as well as they have back at Worlds, so you have to careful to assume MAD Lions’ performance against Heo “ShowMaker” Su and co. instantly makes the second-best team in the world.
This is a highly talented roster, but they can have their iffy moments. As talked about in one of our 2021 MSI previews, when MAD Lions are on, they’re excellent, but when they’re not feeling themselves, they will lose games even against weaker sides.
MAD Lions enter LEC Summer priced as the third-favourites to repeat their success from LEC Spring and that’s reasonable. They have the talent to compete for another title, however, I wouldn’t expect that to show early into the split.
As it’s the case with Cloud9 in the LoL Championship Series (LCS), MAD Lions will likely stumble around for the first couple of weeks, so perhaps it will be wiser to avoid betting on them until a good opportunity arises. MAD Lions are good, but they will often beat themselves.
No roster changes
After losing Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek to Team Vitality, Fnatic placed their star top laner Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau in the jungle in what has become one of the most controversial roster change of the offseason. You can’t blame the community for looking at this change with a bit of skepticism, but I am not one to agree that this makes Fnatic now a much worse team.
In fact, Fnatic could easily prove to be a much better version of themselves.
That might come off as a biased opinion, but you have to ask yourself why has Selfmade left the team. He was clearly a highly talented jungler, but there’s more to parting ways with a good player than meets the eye.
Chemistry in the team is far more valuable asset than individual quality, and if you have listened to any of Fnatic’s in-game comms, you would have realised something wasn’t clicking in the team, largely between the players and Selfmade. I’m not saying Selfmade was toxic and hard to work with, but what I can say is that things simply didn’t work out.
The second thing to consider is that Fnatic are (still) one of the most stacked rosters in the league, with elite-level players in all positions. Bwipo could easily prove to be a better-fit jungler for Fnatic than Selfmade us simply because of his way of approaching the game.
The fans and community seem to be very sceptical about Fnatic’s new top laner Adam “Adam” Maanane, which is a normal reaction to seeing a rookie enter the LEC. But it’s easy to forget that the French top laner was one of the fastest-improving players in the secondary league where he has shown immense talent.
While you can’t know whether Adam will develop enough to be considered as one of the best top laners in the league, the fact of the matter is that LEC doesn’t really have that much competition in the top lane, so he should do fine.
Assuming Selfmade’s departure improves the team chemistry and synergy, Fnatic could surprise many. It might happen, and it might not, but if all five players reach their peak, Fnatic will be extremely competitive this season.
Out: Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek (jungle)
In: Adam “Adam” Maanane (top)
Team Vitality made all the needed roster changes during the offseason come off as a competitive side, but I’m not ready to believe this instantly makes them one of the top teams in the league. The addition of Adam “LIDER” Ilyasov in the mid lane, rookie Enzo “SLT” Gonzalez in the top lane and Selfmade in the jungle all look like good moves on paper.
That said, completely rebuilding a team will highly likely result in some growing pains. Even if Vitality get their wheels spinning early on, I view the Bees as one of the most volatile team in the league that will either blossom into a very competitive side or implode and end another split outside of the top-six.
One big thing I am concerned about is the characters of the players. Even though I am not ready to believe LIDER is as toxic as he is portraited to be by the community, there has to be some truth behind that, given that he was denied a spot in many LEC teams due to being “hard to work with”.
Selfmade has proven to be a character himself, and Juš “Crownshot” Marušič is not exactly a quiet type of a player either. I could go on and on about the characters, but the point of the matter is that there are big personalities on the team – which could be the driving force behind Vitality imploding if things don’t go right.
If things work out, Vitality could impress, but there’s also a chance they end up flopping. They’re essentially in the same boat as Fnatic, but with far less talent and more volatile outcomes.
Out: Mathias “Szygenda” Jensen (top), Duncan “Skeanz” Marquet (jungle)
In: Enzo “SLT” Gonzalez (top), Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek (jungle), Adam “LIDER” Ilyasov (mid)
There were talks about Schalke 04 selling their LEC spot due to financial issues last split, but the Royal Blues are back for another split, with two significant roster changes. Schalke 04 sold Felix “Abbedagge” Braun to 100 Thieves over in the LCS, which is obviously a negative, but perhaps we should be most concerned with the benching of their jungler Erberk “Gilius” Demir.
It’s unclear why Gillius decided to step down from the team – perhaps he needs a break from competing, or maybe he didn’t feel like he’s the right fit for the team. Schalke 04 replaced him with Thomas “Kirei” Yuen, who’s a big enigma for me, even though people seem to believe he’s good.
He might prove to be a solid jungler, however, he has a long way ahead of him before he will fill in the shoes of Schalke 04’s best player. It won’t be an easy task, but it’s theoretically possible.
Outside of their chances in the mid and jungle, Schalke 04 kept their roster intact, which I can’t really argue with. They have had very solid sidelanes last split, and I fully expect Schalke to be a competitive side. That doesn’t mean I predict Schalke 04 competing for top spots, but they’ll likely turn out to be a solid mid-table team.
Out: Felix “Abbedagge” Braun (mid)
In: I lias “NUCLEARINT” Bizriken (mid), Thomas “Kirei” Yuen (jungle)
The perpetual underdogs, Misfits Gaming enter LEC 2021 Summer priced as high as 41.00 to win the split. LEC Spring split wasn’t exactly promising for the Bunnies, but that was largely due to their one-dimensional playstyle.
That approach hasn’t earned them any impressive results, but you have to consider this was a very young team that needed some time to gel together and learn how to play with each other. The progress was noticeable by the end of the split, when Misfits proved to be a solid team and one I am excited to follow as they head into the final split of the season.
If their performances at the end of the last split are any indication, Misfits will be a strong team in summer – that is, if they can continue their development. A punch-up underdog is how I would describe them with potential upside if things fall into place.
Bet365 has Misfits priced at 2.75 to reach the playoffs, which is very generous in my book. They’re priced below Schalke 04 (2.10) and Vitality (1.16), which may seem fair. However, I would rank them above Schalke, and I don’t quite agree with 1.16 on Vitality either for the reasons stated above.
Prediction: Misfits Gaming to reach LEC 2021 Playoffs – 2.75 at bet365
No roster changes
Excel received a lot of backlash for their offseason roster changes, but I believe the community overreacted a bit. When it comes to roster moves, you have to ask yourself why those have happened, and it’s usually because the player(s) didn’t fit in the team.
It’s not like Excel purposely released a player that they believed was good. The reasons behind roster changes are often hidden from the public eye. While it may seem weird for Excel to release Paweł “Czekolad” Szczepanik, you can be sure Excel staff knew what they were doing.
Tore “Tore” Hoel Eilertsen’s departure shouldn’t surprise anyone, so I have nothing to say here.
Perhaps the main thing that infuriated the community was the arrival of Erlend “nukeduck” Våtevik as a replacement for Czekolad. Nukeduck seems to get a lot of hate from the LoL community, and while it’s true that he hasn’t had the best split, he is still an extremely experienced player who has been consistent throughout his 10-year-long career.
Signing a veteran figure like nukeduck to your team adds a lot more than just what he does in his, especially on a team filled with relatively inexperienced. The same holds true for the addition of support Petr “denyk” Haramach.
I view Excel’s roster moves this offseason as a positive, although I would like to see Excel make some changes in the jungle. I’m not a big fan of Daniel “Dan” Hockley, and I don’t believe anyone is. Still, the team seems to see something in him that I don’t.
Excel’s quest for their first playoffs appearance will continue and while I don’t see them competing for the title anytime soon, finishing inside the top-six is an achievable goal. They came extremely close to that feat last split, and with an improved roster, they just might make it this time.
Out: Paweł “Czekolad” Szczepanik (mid), Tore “Tore” Hoel Eilertsen (support)
In: Erlend “nukeduck” Våtevik Holm (mid), Petr “denyk” Haramach (support)
I don’t expect much from Astralis this season. They were one of the worst teams last split and I don’t believe that will change in the LEC 2021 Summer. We have seen some improvement with the arrival of Carl Felix “MagiFelix” Boström, but it’s not like Astralis levelled up as a whole.
Astralis will continue to develop, but they’re still a clear cut below most other LEC teams. A playoffs appearance, let alone a title-run is unlikely to happen this season or anytime soon.
I’m least excited about SK Gaming heading into the LEC Summer. Although they have had some decent showings last split, I am not a big fan of the roster changes they have made during the offseason.
Their star support player Erik “Treatz” Wessén has been moved to the jungle in a move that makes completely no sense whatsoever. While I realise SK Gaming were forced to make this move and had no other options available (or so they say), it’s hard to be overly optimistic about Treatz role swapping to a position he has never played before.
Treatz was a playmaker for SK Gaming last split, so perhaps switching over to another playmaking role will suit him. Possibly, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Replacing Treatz as SK Gaming’s new support is their former coach Jesse “Jesiz” Le, who hasn’t competed professionally since August 2018. Obviously not a very exciting move, and I am not sure what to make from it.
SK Gaming will be a very unexciting team in the LEC Summer. Seeing them finish outside of the bottom-three will be a massive shock.
Out: Kristian “TynX” Østergaard Hansen (Jungle) – benched
In: Jesse “Jesiz” Le (support)