Heading into its 4th split since the 2019 rebrand, the League of Legends European Championship (LEC) kicks off once again for the 2020 Summer split.
Heading into its 4th split since the 2019 rebrand, the League of Legends European Championship (LEC) kicks off once again for the 2020 Summer split. With Worlds qualification up for grabs for the champion, sides will be looking to knock G2 off of their perch and prevent them from becoming back to back to back to back winners of the tournament.
Usually held in Riot’s Berlin studio, the LEC will this time begin online as safety measures are still worked out due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The online, regular season action gets underway on Friday 12th June and lasts for 8 weeks, ending Sunday 9th August. Teams compete in a double round-robin of best-of-one matches and will generally play two games per week (each Friday and Saturday).
While previous LEC splits were 9 weeks in length, this Summer split will instead see ‘super weeks’ in weeks 1 and 8, where sides play an extra match on Sunday. This gives an earlier aim for the end of the split and allows for any unforeseen delays to prevent issues with the worldwide League of Legends Esports calendar.
Once the regular season is complete, the top 6 sides will advance to the playoffs, featuring a double-elimination format which was used for the first time in Spring.
The winner’s bracket begins with the top 4 teams competing in a mini-knockout tournament of their own. 1st seed will have their choice of opponents for round 1, while the remaining two will face off against each other. The winning sides go on to the semi-final, where the victor earns a grand final place. All losers from the upper bracket will move down to the loser’s bracket.
The loser’s bracket begins with the 5th and 6th seeds going head-to-head, with the winner moving on to the next round and the loser being eliminated. The qualifying team will then go on to face the lowest seed loser from round 1 of the upper bracket, and the winner of that match will then face the next round 1, winner bracket loser. Winning this match moves a team on to the next semi-final, where they face the loser from the semi-final of the winner’s bracket.
The grand final between the remaining two teams will eventually determine the split champion and grant the top side a 1st seed place in the World Championship group stage. All playoff matchups are determined in best-of-five series.
This off-season has seen roster moves for multiple sides as organisations look to end the season in the strongest way possible and make a push for Worlds qualification.
Excel Esports have seen Korean duo Expect and Mickey leave the side, being replaced by top-laner Kryze and mid-laner Special respectively (the latter being promoted from Excel’s academy side).
Holders G2 Esports have not made any personnel changes, however mid-laner Perkz will now return to ADC swapping with Caps. Having played this roster with outstanding success last season, it was a surprise for many to see the two swap for the Spring split. Despite having won the LEC Spring title, G2 have opted to reverse the switch and look to reach the top form that took them to the World Championship final last time around.
Misfits Gaming say goodbye to Chinese ADC Bvoy, who has been unfortunate to lose his spot as his side have taken the opportunistic decision to pick up Kobbe in his place after the Dane was let go by NA’s Team SoloMid.
SK Gaming mid-laner Jenax has role-swapped to the top lane, replacing departing Sacre, while ZaZee joins to fill Jenax’s spot. Team Vitality have moved jungler Skeanz and support Steeelback to their academy side, being replaced by Nji (moving from Vitality’s academy) and Labrov respectively.
Holders G2 will undoubtedly be favourites in most eyes, having kept together the same roster that won the last 3 splits while reverting to the mid/ADC duo that many believe worked best for the side. Rivals Fnatic will be hoping to regain their title as the kings of Europe by winning their first split since 2018.
Origen are a side that have mostly battled Fnatic for 2nd place and will be looking to go a step further themselves, while MAD Lions and Misfits Gaming may make an outside push for the top spot with their raw, hungry rosters filled with up and coming talent.
Barring a catastrophe for G2 this split, I don’t see any way in which they are not crowned LEC champions once again in a few months’ time. Their eccentric roster is filled with top players in every role and the question mark against Caps in the bottom lane is no longer prevalent (despite his clear improvement during the Spring playoffs).
Fnatic are their most obvious rivals; the two sides have won every European split apart from Summer 2014 (won by the now-disbanded Alliance). Despite at times looking the same calibre as G2 (sometimes ahead in bursts), the side have failed to match their rivals since losing Caps to G2 one and a half years ago and are still looking for a way to reach those levels with his replacement Nemesis.