After the immense success of its first year (which almost saw Europe’s best G2 complete a grand slam), the League of Legends European League (LEC) returns for the 2020 Spring split
After the immense success of its first year (which almost saw Europe’s best G2 complete a grand slam), the League of Legends European League (LEC) returns for the 2020 Spring split. With the league’s winner earning a place at the Mid-Season Invitational in a few months’ time, fans will have the chance to watch their favourite teams battle it out through a nine-week regular season followed by playoffs.
As with last season, the LEC will primarily be played in Riot’s LEC Studio in Berlin for the nine-week regular season, before moving to a currently unannounced venue for playoffs. Starting on Friday 24th January, ten teams will compete in a double-round robin league whereby every team plays a match each Friday and Saturday until the final matches on Saturday 21st March.
The top six sides will progress to playoffs, where all matches are decided by best-of-five series. There, the first and second seeds will earn a bye straight to the ‘Juggernaut Match’, with the winner of this progressing to the final. The third-seeded team will then have the choice to play either the fifth or sixth seed, with the unchosen 5th/6th side playing against the fourth seed. The two winners of these four will face off head-to-head, and the victor will then face the loser of the ‘Juggernaut Match’. The winner of that will be the second team to progress to the final.
All matches across both the regular season and playoffs are played offline and are all streamed on Riot’s official twitch channel.
A busy off-season has seen a multitude of roster changes and a number of new-look squads. Holders G2 Esports made no player changes, however they will see their second role swap in as many years with Perkz heading back to the mid lane and Caps taking his place as ADC. Summer 2019 runners up Fnatic also decided against wholesale changes, only pinching SK Gaming jungler Selfmade as a replacement for Broxah (who made the switch to NA’s Team Liquid), as well as seeing newly retired support Mithy become their head coach as YoungBuck left the side.
Third place FC Schalke 04 made three changes, losing Trick, Upset and IgNar and replacing these with Gilius, FORG1VEN and Dreams respectively. While fourth place Rogue made only a single switch replacing ADC Woolite with Hans Sama. Team Vitality in 5th/6th made changes to the jungle, mid lane and ADC, replacing Mowgli, Jiizuke and Attila with Skeanz, Milica and Comp respectively.
Also finishing in 5th/6th place in the Summer were Splyce, who went on to earn an impressive quarter-finals Worlds finish after running the Regional Finals gauntlet. However, this did not stop them from carrying out the most drastic changes of any side, as they not only replaced four out of five starting members but also saw the organisation rebrand altogether as the Splyce branding was dropped to make way for popular Spanish side MAD Lions. Having only kept Humanoid in the mid lane, the rest of the squad has been made up of top laner Orome, jungler Shadow, ADC Carzzy and support Kaiser.
7th place SK Gaming made changes to the jungle and support, swapping Selfmade and Dreams for Trick and LIMIT, as 8th place Origen made one change more as they replaced Kold, Patrick and Mithy with Xerxe, Upset and Destiny.
Finally, 9th place Misfits Gaming kept only Dan Dan and Febiven from their tumultuous 2019 roster, adding jungler Razork, ADC Bvoy and support Denyk as well as substitute mid-laner Ronaldooo. Summer’s last-place side Excel Esports will be sporting a new bot lane in ADC Patrik and support Tore (formerly Norskeren), however they have also made a significant change in picking up former Fnatic head coach YoungBuck to lead the side this season.
Perhaps not the most surprising of predictions, but I can only see G2 failing to win their third successive LEC split if the Caps/Perkz mid/ADC swap goes drastically wrong, and even so, they will always have the option to swap back if problems do arise.
Their most likely contenders come in the shape of Fnatic, whose sole roster swap may not look too drastic on paper. However, the much more significant change came in the head coach position as they lost YoungBuck to Excel. Replacing him is former Origen support Mithy, who is taking up his first coaching position after retiring from pro play this off-season.
There has been speculation in past seasons that veteran ADC Rekkles’ outspoken view on how the game should be played could have had detrimental effects on performances, and led to the likes of Caps and Broxah leaving the side. With Mithy thought to have had similar such experiences in North America with Team SoloMid, his relationship with Rekkles will be key in seeing Fnatic’s off-season changes having a positive effect and giving them any chance of challenging G2 for Europe’s top prize.