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LEC 2021 Spring playoffs: Why the split's unpredictability is exciting


This SK roster looked playoff-ready (Picture: @SKGaming)

The League of Legends European Championship (LEC) 2021 Spring split has thrown up some incredible games and nothing showcases that more than the two matches between G2 Esports and Fnatic.

In their first matchup, G2 had internet issues and suffered a devastating loss. But they came back with a vengeance against Fnatic in their second game and it was an absolute whitewash – not to mention completely gripping to watch.

G2 and Fnatic have always been the heavy hitters in Europe, however, the latter have looked a lot more beatable this year. They’re not the only two in the race to the top though, with some of the younger and lesser-known teams clipping at the heels to dethrone the giants of the LEC.

For this reason, the 2021 Spring split of the League of Legends European Championship has been completely unpredictable – making it one of the most exciting LEC playoffs in its history.

A total of 10 teams have competed across eight weeks to try to qualify for the playoffs later this month and the final on 11 April.

The winner of the playoffs will take home €80,000 (£68,500) and qualify for the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational, where they’ll represent Europe in Reykjavík, Iceland.  

Rogue looks a lot cleaner in the early-mid game (Picture: @ROGUE)

And it’s been a long road to get there. With the split now over, we know who will be battling it out for the LEC title – Fnatic, G2 Esports, MAD Lions, Rogue, Schalke 04 and SK Gaming.

Consistently at the top of the leaderboard have been G2 Esports. 

Martin ‘Rekkles’ Larsson joining G2 from rivals Fnatic raised one big question, can he perform on a new team? This split, G2 looks a lot more composed and calculated and you could say the addition of Rekkles has been the main reason behind this change. 



LEC standings

  1. G2 Esports: 14 wins, 4 losses – 42 points
  2. Rogue: 14 wins, 4 losses – 42 points
  3. MAD Lions: 10 wins, 8 losses – 30 points
  4. Schalke 04: 9 wins, 9 losses – 27 points
  5. Fnatic: 9 wins, 9 losses – 27 points
  6. SK Gaming: 8 wins, 10 losses – 24 points

G2’s style has always seemed chaotic and sometimes looks like they are running it down. This year, it seems like they have held back on their ‘inting’ ways – purposefully dying or making mistakes to lose a game – and now the team seem a lot more calculated, taking less unneeded risks when they are ahead. 

To say anyone other than G2 are the favourites for the split is wrong. No team has won five splits in a row in any of the leagues around the world, which could mean the fifth is cursed – if you’re superstitious like with “super team” SK Telecom (Now T1) and Team Liquid’s track records – but G2 is capable of making it five in a row and nine overall. 

Hot on their heels is Rogue, whose rise over the last year has been great to see. The team has expanded their playstyle from last year by adding Andrei ‘Odoamne’ Pascu and Adrian ‘Trymbi’ Trybus to their roster, who have added new dimensions to their side. 

MAD Lions have added new young talent (Picture: @MADLions_LoLEN)

Along with the staples of this roster – Kacper ‘Inspired’ Słoma, Emil ‘Larssen’ Larsson, and Steven ‘Hans sama’ Liv – this is a team that can have a genuine title shot this year. 

Rogue looks a lot cleaner in the early-mid game and they’re more confident to take fights instead of using last season’s play for late tactics they were known for. Could this be only the second time a team other than G2 and Fnatic win the LEC title? 

MAD Lions have added new young talent to an already young team from last year. They shocked the league by taking it to both G2 and Fnatic last year and this year the young guns look even hungrier. 

The side added İrfan Berk ‘Armut’ Tükek and Javier Prades ‘Elyoya’ Batalla who have both thrived in the league – looking like they already belong in the LEC despite being rookies. 

They just need to work on a few inconsistencies to make that final step. Seeing a young team step up has been a breath of fresh air for the league and put them all on notice, all they need is a title to show that the young newcomers are the real deal. 

The format of the playoffs mean that it could be anyone’s game. Obviously the winner’s bracket has a lot less hurdles in it, but if this split so far is anything to go by, it’s likely to lead to some shocking upsets and flavour picks coming out during crunch time to throw teams off guard.

Consistently at the top of the leaderboard have been G2 Esports (Picture: @G2esports)

Back in the early days of League of Legends, SK Gaming was one of the biggest teams in Europe. They spent a lot of time trying to get back to the top and now they look the best they have done in years. This SK roster looked playoff-ready but no one expected them to be this high up. 

The addition of Erik ‘Treatz’ Wessén has been the standout for this roster who only kept Janik ‘Jenax’ Bartels from their squad last year. They still have room to improve but winning both games against MAD is a step in the right direction for this new side. 

After losing their star player, Rekkles, Fnatic have adopted a new style of playing – a very aggressive style that seems very unpredictable at times. The team added Elias ‘Upset’ Lipp and Yasin ‘Nisqy’ Dinçer to facilitate this style. 

Upset and Zdravets ‘Hylissang’ Iliev Galabov looks like a scary bot lane and always seems ready to fight. This can show a volatile style that personifies the coin flip vibe they give off. 

Gabriël ‘Bwipo’ Rau and Oskar ‘Selfmade’ Boderek are just as aggressive, with Rekkles leaving Bwipo has been able to flex his muscles. This has allowed him to become a huge win condition for the team as he likes to control the lane. 

Fnatic can turn up during playoffs and have the calibre to make a run for the title. It all depends on which Fnatic turns up on the day. 

BrokenBlade has come into this team and had some outstanding performances in the top lane (Picture: @S04Esports)

The final team to make it to playoffs is Schalke 04, who’ve had a huge turn around from last year. Schalke have a good record against everyone in playoffs other than MAD Lions. 

The standout performers for them have been Sergen ‘BrokenBlade’ Çelik and Felix ‘Abbedagge’ Braun.

BrokenBlade has come into this team and had some outstanding performances in the top lane. While Abbedagge has always been highly regarded in the LEC and this year he seems to have upped his game again. 

Each team will bring something different to playoffs and all will no doubt provide some great entertainment.

From the consistently-improving Rogue, the hungry young players of MAD Lions, calculated aggression from SK Gaming, the unpredictability of Fnatic, the track record of Schalke 04 and G2’s ‘playoff buff’ they seem to get every year – it’s really anyone’s game.

With the playoffs returning to the LEC studio (and some sort of normality after a year of pandemic chaos), this will add a new element to playoffs and we will see who can show up when it matters most.

There will no doubt be upsets and shocks. But if we know anything from esports, it all changes when you get out of the comfort of your own set up and get those stage lights on you. 

Do you have a story you’d like to share? Get in touch by emailing james.besanvalle@metro.co.uk.

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