The League of Legends European Championship (LEC) is back and looking better than ever with changes in every line-up and even the season format itself.
It's safe to say 2019 was one of the best years European LoL fans have ever experienced as the league's rebrand was a total success. The content surrounding league was, and still is, absolutely phenomenal and the teams were equally as prosperous as all three of Europe's Worlds teams escaped the Group Stages for the first time ever.
This season is shaping up to be another exciting year filled with drama and surprises. With a lot of roster changes and new faces coming into the LEC there's a lot to talk about but before any team steps back onto Summoner's Rift, these are the biggest talking points so far.
1. G2 role swaps ... again
G2 Esports had a phenomenal 2019. Luka "Perkz" Perković's move into the bot-lane was a major success as the squad won both LEC splits as well as the Mid Season Invitational before reaching the Worlds final.
Yet, that last part wasn't enough so the team has moved things around once again though the organisation has kept all of its star-studded roster. Perkz is now returning with the mid-lane while his original replacement Rasmus "Caps" Winther will now have his own attempt at playing ADC.
Just like last year, it's a risky move but one that will have major benefits if it works out. Caps has never been afraid of playing weird champions which could draw more of that same trait out of his support Mihael "Mikyx" Mehle. Mikyx has been known to be a monster on picks like Bard and Gragas, as he proved at Rift Rivals, and we could see him grow in confidence to play champions like that once Caps has settled into the role.
For now, G2 will have targets on their backs and Caps will be seen as a weakness. Whether any teams can truly catch them, remains to be seen.
2. The return of FORG1VEN
After completing his military service, the straight-talking ADC Konstantinos-Napoleon "FORG1VEN" Tzortziou has returned to the stage after signing with Schalke.
The game has changed a lot since the Greek man last competed at this level back in 2016 (excluding his brief EU Masters appearance with Origen) as bot-lane is now much tougher to win purely as a 2v2.
FORG1VEN was always known for dominating lane but will now have to adapt to playing around his team more and prepare for a lot of ganks, roams and even teleports. A new era requires a new FORG1VEN and he will have to reach if not overtake his previous bests if he wants to fill the void left by Elias "Upset" Lipp and turn Schalke into Worlds contenders.
3. Can Fnatic return to the top?
Last year was a strange one for Fnatic. It felt like a failure overall but when you closer, the organisation had a pretty impressive end to the season. They pushed G2 to the limit in two full five-game series in the Summer Split and managed to escape the Worlds 'group of death' by overcoming Royal Never Give Up and SK Telecom T1. The only thing that stopped them was eventual world champions FunPlus Phoenix but unlike G2 in the final Fnatic took a game off their LPL opposition.
Still, if Fnatic isn't dominating and winning Worlds, the organisation will not be satisfied. Fnatic hasn't made a lot of changes but the faces could have a major impact. Oskar "Selfmade" Boderek is taken over the jungle role to reunite with mid-laner Tim "Nemesis" Lipovšek to form a potentially unstoppable duo.
But the biggest risk of all is new coach Alfonso "Mithy" Aguirre Rodriguez who has retired from pro play in a bid to find competitive success once again but whether he can do so, so soon in his new career path is a big question mark.
4. Excel's climb from the bottom
Last season was a baptism for fire for Excel Esports, anything that could go wrong did. After going back to the drawing board, Excel has kept a three-man core from last year and added a superstar bot-lane in Patrik "Patrik" Jírů and Tore "Tore" Hoel Eilertsen aka Norskeren.
But the biggest addition of all is new coach Joey "YoungBuck" Steltenpool who already has six European titles to his name. While the Dutchman likely won't find that kind of success straight away at his new org, he is certainly capable of taking Excel from 10th place to a Playoffs spot.
5. A new Origen
Origen probably made the biggest moves of all the LEC teams by signing the two star players from some of Europe's strongest teams in Upset and Andrei "Xerxe" Dragomir. Those two alongside Barney "Alphari" Morris and Erlend "Nukeduck" Våtevik has all the makings for a squad ready to challenge for the title but there is some uncertainty around the fifth member.
Support Mitchell "Destiny" Shaw is the first Australian player to have ever played in the LEC and as a result, nobody really knows how we will manage the level of competition. Origen claims he is an excellent leader and fight engager which is what they were looking for but if it doesn't work out, it appears former Misfits support Aleksi "H1IVA" Kaikkonen who impressed briefly last season is now under contract with Origen if he's needed.
Related: League of Legends predictions for LEC Spring week one.
Pictures: LoL Esports / Flickr