Original article by : Dot Esports
One third of the way into the Spring Split, Europe is still very much anybody’s region.
The 2021 LEC Spring Split is almost at the halfway point. Three weeks of League of Legends games have come and gone for the league and in comparison to many other regions around the world, Europe still feels largely up for grabs.
Heading into week four, the LEC standings seem closer than ever with contenders emerging from every corner of the league. After G2 Esports and Rogue dominated the preseason conversation, underdogs and wildcards alike are beginning to creep up the standings and place pressure on the shoulders of Europe’s top teams.
While the top of the league feels steady for now, all it could take is one wild week for the scales to tip. We asked our League experts how the LEC stacks up after three weeks of play.
Here are our power rankings for the 2021 LEC Spring Split heading into week four.
|3)||FC Schalke 04||+2|
Help is on the way: Team Vitality, Astralis
It’s been a rough season so far for both Team Vitality and Astralis. Even though we’re just three weeks into the 2021 Spring Split, both teams have only managed to scrounge up a single win.
Astralis has the most collective team deaths in the LEC with 133 and the lowest KDA in the league as well, according to Oracle’s Elixir. Vitality is right next to them at the bottom with the second-lowest KDA through week three.
Each team just hasn’t looked cohesive, both in the early and later stages of the games where they must be able to execute whatever game plan they’ve cooked up with their team composition.
It’s actually gotten to the point where both teams have already made roster swaps. Vitality has added former SK Gaming AD carry Crownshot, while Astralis has acquired former Fnatic mid laner MagiFelix to take over for Nukeduck while he sits out due to “personal reasons.”
These changes haven’t given much hope to any LEC fans, but both teams are at least willing to try anything after the past few weeks. Whether it’s the strong voice of Crownshot on the team or MagiFelix finally getting his shot on a starting roster, maybe a new face could spell a turning point for these two bottom squads.
Treading water: Excel Esports, SK Gaming, Misfits
The middle of the pack in the LEC has been chaotic, but the divide is starting to become clear between contenders and those teams that haven’t exactly been the model of consistency. This section is about the latter.
As we know by now, strength of schedule does matter when determining power rankings—and to Excel’s credit, their three losses have come against G2, Rogue, and MAD Lions. They also picked up a win early in the split before Schalke Null Vier became Schalke No Fear and maybe the third-best team in the LEC.
When it’s gone right for Excel, as it recently has, it’s been through Patrik. He has the highest kill participation of any LEC ADC at 84.8 percent, according to Oracle’s Elixir. This boom-or-bust trend for Excel has been echoed in his brutal early-game numbers (lowest gold difference at 10 minutes among LEC ADCs). Kryze and others have been good late-game bridges to the late-game Patrick win condition and there’s hope that this will continue given that Kryze’s last two fantastic performances were both on AP top laners (Cho’gath and Gragas).
SK Gaming have hovered right around here all split, and not unlike Excel, there seems to be a theme underlying SK’s successes: Treatz. The Swedish support is in the top two of nearly every statistical category this year and is having a split to remember, which, on a roster populated largely by rookies otherwise, is usually a recipe for success. Veteran supports should help elevate the rest of the raw talent on the roster and form cohesion out of nothing. This is easier said than done (@TSM), hence some inconsistencies, but I’ve been hot on SK’s potential from the jump and I’m not stopping the hype train now. Also, Kalista-Jarvan is nasty and requires good coordination to pull off. Hats off to the SK bot lane.
And then there’s Misfits. What happened? Obviously, we jumped the gun in putting them third in our first power rankings. They haven’t won since week one and have to go 1-1 this week against G2 and Astralis to stop the slide, at least mentally. Razork has had to do a lot of heavy lifting and is being put into a lot of high-risk, high-reward situations due to subpar laning. Vetheo still needs time but has shown flashes. And perhaps later on down the line in Patch 11.4, the shift that should ensue in bringing ganking junglers back into the meta will help unlock this mid-jungle duo that feels like it has a lot of untapped potential.
Breaking the ceiling: FC Schalke 04, Fnatic, MAD Lions
MAD Lions, Fnatic, and Schalke 04 make up the “soup” of the LEC—teams struggling to distinguish themselves and break into the top of the standings alongside Rogue and G2. They’ve all displayed strong wins but also a tendency to throw away victories against teams that are, on paper, weaker opponents.
Of the three, Schalke are perhaps the closest to shattering the LEC ceiling, being the only team to take a game from the otherwise undefeated Rogue, who are quickly proving to be the LEC’s strongest team. Their wins have been surprisingly dominant, and although they’re lacking a little consistency, they’re definitely heading in the right direction to catch up with the top contenders.
MAD and Fnatic, however, are a different story. While both have shown strong performances, including a surprising win for Fnatic against G2, neither have been able to achieve the same high standards they set for themselves last year. For Fnatic, in particular, it still seems like their communication is sorely lacking. They tend to win through individual skill rather than coordination and cohesive map movement.
MAD are on an upswing but are beginning to look as though they’ll gatekeep the top tier of the LEC. If you can beat MAD, you’re one of the best. If you can’t, you’re relegated to missing a playoff spot and heading home with your tail between your legs. They’ve run some unique team compositions that have given them an edge, but there are still moments of weakness for this team that will need to be addressed if they want to be anything more than the guard dogs of the top five.
Undefeated no longer: G2 Esports, Rogue
These two teams were predicted by many to be undefeated coming into this weekend’s matchup. But quick stumbles against Schalke for both teams earned G2 and Rogue their first respective losses of the Spring Split. And now, they come into a head-to-head battle a bit more vulnerable than previously imagined.
While Rogue and their 6-1 record might stand at the top of the LEC mountain when it comes to the overall standings, G2 still have them beat in the talent department. A player like Rekkles and his league leading 13.4 KDA stands out as a pivotal reason for G2’s early-season success. Even beyond the team’s newest acquisition, G2’s core roster has picked up right where it left off in 2020, despite two losses over the last three weeks.
While it’s easy to look at Rogue’s superior record and pin them as the stronger team, history has shown us that G2 still has the advantage. The proven commodities of G2 have enough backing evidence behind them to prove that they make up the stronger team. Until Rogue can start pulling away from the strongest roster ever assembled in LEC history at a significant rate, it’s going to be hard to place them atop the league. A one-game gap between the two squads isn’t enough of a definitive factor.
On Saturday, Feb. 13, Rogue will have a significant chance at putting a dent in G2’s claim to the throne. If Rogue can walk away from its matchup with G2 on the winning side, the team will have at least a comfortable two-game cushion in first place. That might just be enough to put any doubters to bed.