After MAD Lions’ shock title win in the Spring split earlier this season, all European sides will now be as hopeful as ever at upsetting the apple cart and pushing for the League of Legends European Championship (LEC) trophy
After MAD Lions’ shock title win in the Spring split earlier this season, all European sides will now be as hopeful as ever at upsetting the apple cart and pushing for the League of Legends European Championship (LEC) trophy. A league historically dominated by two organisations, it’s now all up for grabs in the Summer split as each team will look to be the latest champion of Europe.
The LEC Summer split will begin on Friday 11th June with the regular season. This phase sees all teams play against each other twice in a double round-robin where each match is decided by a best-of-one.
The regular season is usually held in Riot’s Berlin LEC Studio, however the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that play will at least begin online and the situation will then be closely monitored to allowed players and fans back into the venue once safely possible.
Each side generally plays 2 matches per week, other than the occasional super week where they will play 3. The regular season concludes on Sunday 1st August, after which the top 6 of the 10 starting teams will move on to the playoffs.
Qualification and starting positions in playoffs are determined by Championship Points awarded for placements in both the Spring playoffs and Summer regular season. 1st to 4th on Championship Points will head into the upper bracket and 5th and 6th will start in the lower bracket. MAD Lions currently sit top of the table with 90 points, and as a result, are almost guaranteed to reach playoffs this time around as well.
In the upper bracket, the 1st seeded side gets their choice of opponent between the 3rd and 4th seeds, while the 2nd seed plays the remaining team. They all then play out a miniature knockout bracket after which the winner qualifies for the grand final. Teams that are eliminated from the upper bracket will drop to the lower bracket.
The lower bracket kicks off with 5th against 6th, the winner of which will face the lowest-seeded loser from the upper bracket. A gauntlet is subsequently played out, where a team drops down from the upper bracket in each new round and faces the previous rounds’ winner, with the last team remaining earning a grand final place
The grand final will see a single best-of-five series between the two best playoff sides in order to determine the region’s latest champion.
An added bonus for the best performing teams comes in the shape of World Championship qualification, as the two finalists will head straight into the tournament’s main event while the 3rd placed team will start in the play-in stage.
Potential dates and locations have so far not been announced for playoffs, however with playoff stages historically held in venues around Europe, it’s very likely that the league organisers are doing all that they can to arrange a live final at the very least.
While most Spring to Summer off-seasons tend to be on the quieter side, it seems that the LEC organisations failed to get the memo and instead played out one of the more infamous off-seasons to date.
Excel Esports kicked off the drama as leaks emerged that rookie Czekolad and seasoned support Tore were to be replaced by nukeduck and denyk respectively. The exit of the Polish mid laner caused the most upset as the player had just entered the league as one of the most promising up-and-coming talents. Internal issues seemed to have been more of a catalyst than performance on the rift itself, with Czekolad at one point sent home mid-split only to return as Excel staff had misunderstood roster swap rules.
Looking to one-up Excel, rumours of Fnatic’s roster changes then began to circulate and initially sounded too ridiculous to be true. With the side having underperformed in Spring, Twitter leaker LEC Wooloo announced that top laner Bwipo was rumoured to roleswap to jungle as their star player Selfmade was set to abruptly leave the side.
The rumour was miraculously confirmed when the Polish jungler was announced to be joining Vitality, a team with a few more changes of their own, while Bwipo’s previous role is now to be filled by French rookie Adam who joins after dominant LFL and EU Masters wins with Karmine Corp last split.
Adding to Vitality’s changes was the addition of mid laner LIDER, a player who has long been tipped as LEC-ready but has seemingly been denied a solid chance due to champion pool worries. Vitality clearly thinks he is worth the gamble as he joins alongside new top laner SLT, who himself comes into the LEC having last played for BIG in Germany’s Prime League.
Perhaps jealous of Fnatic’s roleswaps, playoff hopefuls SK Gaming made their own bizarre choice of moving support Treatz (who had just played a phenomenal rookie split) into the jungle to replace Tynx (who himself only joined the league in Spring). Making this move even odder is the replacement support; head coach Jesiz coming out of retirement to step onto Summoner’s Rift once again.
What makes this move even more surprising (or arguably less surprising) is the fact that this is not Jesiz’ first time out of retirement. The Dane made a similar move during his time on Misfits in 2018, stepping down as coach to fill in as the teams’ starting support and has since gone on coach, then play, then coach and now play once again.
As mentioned earlier, MAD Lions’ 90 Championship Points earned for their Spring trophy makes them a shoo-in for a playoff spot this time around their sights will be firmly set on another deep run.
That doesn’t mean that their motivation should be any less this time around, however, as securing as many Championship Points as possible for the Summer regular season will be crucial in securing better playoff seeding and could greatly increase their chances for a second successive Worlds qualification.