Following a two-week break to allow the top teams to compete at Rift Rivals, the League of Legends European Champions (LEC) has returned with Week 4 of the Summer Split.
G2, Fnatic and Origen returned home from Los Angeles victorious but those teams will be more concerned with their European opponents as the Summer Split continues with the World Championship lurking in the distance.
While most matches still have heavy favourites, it’s hard to know how much some teams may have benefitted from the break. The Rift Rivals representatives could still be slightly jet-lagged and you know that the rest of the LEC are ready and waiting to pounce.
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Rogue (2.37) vs Schalke (1.53)
The opening match this week, this tie should be an interesting one considering both teams failed to qualify for the Playoffs in Spring but appear to have improved since.
Rogue’s first LoL split was a difficult one, to say the least. The team finished rock bottom in the Spring Split with very little to work with. That was why the organisation decided to inject a new level of youth into the team by promoting four of the five players from their academy team.
Rookies Kacper "Inspired" Sloma and Emil “Larssen” Larsson have already shown glimpses of their talent, as they settle into playing on stage, Rogue could become a force to reckon with.
Meanwhile, Schalke looked like one of the best teams in Europe during the Spring Split, staying within arm’s reach of G2. That was until the team menally collapsed halfway through and ended up missing out on the play-offs following a tie-breaker loss to SK Gaming. The sheer individual talent on Schalke’s roster gives them the edge in this match-up but don’t be surprised if Rogue’s young guns cause them trouble.
G2 Esports (1.22) vs Misfits (3.80)
Before the season began back in January, fans expected G2 and Misfits to be two of the teams competing for the title. Both had somehow built “super teams” with some fantastic signings during the off-season.
Since then, these two teams have shown us two extreme paths that creating such teams can take you. There’s G2 who became world beaters, winning both the LEC and MSI and doing so in style with record-breaking game-times. Then there’s Misfits who have failed to get on the same page or create an identity as a team, leading to disastrous results on Summoner’s Rift.
In the last LEC game-week, G2 suffered their first loss of the split at the hands of Fnatic and were also relatively sloppy at Rift Rivals. Still, they will be heavy favourites going into this match. Misfits will have to show a lot more than they have in previous weeks to have any hope of causing an upset - the team better have been working hard during the break.
Team Vitality (3.30) vs Fnatic (1.30)
After taking down G2 and a strong showing at Rift Rivals, it’s fair to say Fnatic currently look like the strongest team in Europe. Meanwhile, Vitality had looked like one of the weakest in the region this Summer, failing to pick up a win in their first four games.
However, Vitality bounced back in Week 3 with wins over Excel and SK Gaming which should haven the players some confidence heading into the break. Vitality are the epitome of a confidence-based team - any doubts in players’ minds and their aggressive style simply would not work.
Vitality should have improved from their horrific opening but even so, it’s hard to see them causing Fnatic any major issues.
Misfits (1.86) vs Team Vitality (1.87)
This match will be the true tell for what level Vitality are at and the same goes for Misfits. Neither team will be happy with the start they’ve made to the Summer but there are plenty of games to go and we’ve seen before how much teams can change throughout a split.
At the moment, it looks likely that Misfits and Vitality will be battling for the last spot in the Playoffs which quietly adds some extra pressure to this game. Both teams have had their struggles this season but if either of them can begin to reach their full potential, the rest of the LEC will be sweating.
Misfits have been experimenting this split with a 10-man roster and it will be fascinating to see who they pick for this game. Promising mid-laner Adam “Lider” Ilyasov had a rough debut but he would be capable of going blow for blow with Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro. No matter who they play, this game is extremely tough to call.
Splyce (3.05) vs Fnatic (1.33)
Finally, we have Fnatic vs Splyce, a rematch from the Spring Split Playoff Quarter-Finals. Once again, Fnatic will be heavy favourites but you can never underestimate Splyce - especially with the form they’re in.
Splyce moved up to third in the standings after an impressive win over Origen and seem to be back to their best which we saw towards the end of last split. Splyce are incredibly potent in the late-game thanks to ADC Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup and it could be time for the Dane to finally outperform Martin “Rekkles” Larrson in a game.
However, Fnatic are extremely effective at controlling the early game and it’s likely Splyce won’t even get a chance to hit their stride.
Pictures: Riot / LoL Esports Photos / Flickr