The League of Legends European Championship has so far only been won by G2 Esports since its inception in 2019, with their dominance seeing them win back to back to back titles.
The League of Legends European Championship has so far only been won by G2 Esports since its inception in 2019, with their dominance seeing them win back to back to back titles. Summer 2020 was a chance to see them knocked off of their perch in a split that would not only decide who was the strongest in the region but would also grant four teams a place in this year’s World Championship in Shanghai.
As always, the LEC split began with a double round-robin regular season to determine playoff places and seeding, however the teams that found themselves at the top were anything but the norm.
Spring’s 5th place Rogue topped the table at the end of play and secured their spot at the World Championship in doing so due to their playoff seeding guaranteeing them at least fourth place in playoffs. Following them in second place was MAD Lions, a largely rookie roster who have proved that looking to younger talent may not be such a gamble as picking up ageing, more expensive players.
Rounding off the top four was old guard G2 Esports and Fnatic, followed closely by SK Gaming and miracle-runners Schalke. Schalke had begun the split 0-8 before going on a seven-game winning streak to book a playoff place on the final day of the regular season.
While the upper bracket of playoffs saw Fnatic and G2 progress to the semifinals (booking their Worlds places), the lower bracket began with the elimination of both Schalke and SK to ensure that MAD Lions earned the final seed to book their place in China.
Fnatic defeated G2 3-2 to earn their first best-of-five win over the organisation since 2018 and secured their spot in the grand final by doing so. G2 then went on to face Rogue in another five-game epic as they beat the regular season winners 3-2 to set up a rematch with Fnatic.
After the five-game semi-final series, fans eagerly awaited the grand final expecting another close affair. While the games themselves proved as close as expected, the 3-0 scoreline showed otherwise.
G2 took the first two matches in close encounters which could have easily seen either result going either way, however the side picked up the momentum in game three as Fnatic’s confidence began to dwindle.
The final match was the quickest of the three, seeing G2 secure their eight European title through a 36-minute game and earning their World Championship spot as the LEC’s first seed in the process.
After the nail-biting five-game series between the sides earlier in playoffs, European fans eagerly awaited their rematch in the grand final.
Game 1 kicked off in the perfect way for viewers with a 50-minute bloodbath that saw 53 total kills. Jankos’ great Shen ultimate usage saw early fights going the way of G2 and, along with Caps’ scary LeBlanc, they managed to accumulate a 9k gold lead at the 30-minute mark. Back and forths ensued, including small teamfight wins for Fnatic despite G2 taking baron and elder dragon buffs, before the Spring champions were eventually able to take control and finally close the game out.
Fnatic came back swinging in the second match as a 4k gold lead was held for much of the first 30 minutes after an uncharacteristically slow start from Caps. Upon pushing to close out the game, Fnatic overstepped at the bottom lane inhibitor turret as a teamfight win saw G2 level up the proceedings. G2 subsequently turned the gold lead in their favour, however Fnatic’s dragon control and scaling picks (Corki and Senna) meant that it took until 42 minutes before the holders took the victory and put the series at match point.
Game three was Fnatic’s final chance to salvage the series and prevent a sweep at the hands of their bitter rivals who they had beaten 3-2 only eight days prior. It proved to be the most decisive match of all, as Fnatic’s scaling comp could never come online as key carries Corki (Nemesis) and Caitlyn (Rekkles) were forced to itemize for magic resist in order to match Wunder’s Vladimir and Caps’ Syndra.
A promising fight for Fnatic (netting a number of kills as G2 had tried to crack the bottom inhibitor turret) was ultimately too little too late as fights around the elder dragon saw G2 finally secure the win and take the European crown for the fourth successive time.
The former Mid-Season Invitational MVP, Rasmus “Caps” Winther carried G2 on his back through much of the regular season and was the sole reason for a large number of wins. While his teammates lacked form in the earlier stages, Caps looked determined to squash any hint the ‘Craps’ meme returning as he continued to put in stellar performance after stellar performance and looked even better once his side found their footing.
Crowned league MVP for his efforts, Caps has now proved himself as one of the all-time European greats, all while securing his record sixth successive European title dating back to his time on Fnatic in 2018.
Rogue to finish 1st in the regular season
Rogue made a tough start to life in the LEC with a lacklustre 2019 season, however their move to a young, hungry lineup coupled with the addition of Hans Sama in the bottom lane has led to a turnaround in their fortunes.
While a fifth-place finish in Spring seemed promising at the time, few would have expected the team to push so much further in Summer and gain first place in the regular season. Not only did this earn them a much higher seed in playoffs, where they eventually finished a respectable third, but also meant that they locked in a spot at the World Championship for the first time in their history.