The League of Legends European Championship (LEC) returned this weekend with games played remotely online as a result of Covid-19.
LEC organizations and staff in Berlin pulled together to bring much-needed esports entertainment amidst the current pandemic. Week 8 of the LEC Spring split saw the top six teams locked in for playoffs, with Excel Esports, Schalke 04, SK Gaming and Team Vitality all missing out on playoff spots.
Two games remain before the 2020 LEC Spring split is wrapped up, with all the top six teams battling it out for the highest seeding heading into the knockout stages.
Week 8 – Day 2
The first day of Week 8 saw a lot of one-sided affairs as MAD Lions clean-swept SK Gaming, only dropping four deaths and two towers. Norman “Kaiser” Kaiser continued to impress as he flexed Trundle into the bot lane, going deathless against SK Gaming with a scoreline of 1/0/12. Enabling Kaiser’s Trundle to impact the game more so than a traditional support Trundle was Matyáš “Carzzy” Orság playing ‘Fasting Senna‘ — a strategy that allows the support player to farm creeps whilst Senna still gains gold and valuable stats through her passive, Absolution — who finished with an impressive scoreline of 4/1/8.
Another one-sided stomp came from Fnatic against Excel Esports, a game that was riddled with audio and live stream technical issues. Fnatic made light work of Excel, closing out the game in just over 30 minutes. Patrik “Patrik” Jírů and Tore “Tore” Hoel Eilertsen threw a spanner in the works as they played Draven and Blitzcrank, a draft from Joey “Youngbuck” Steltenpool that focuses on Excel’s most consistent performer, Patrik. Outside of Tore’s random death at level one (that was not captured on the broadcast), the Excel bot lane was on track for setting Patrik up to solo carry the game but a great engage from Zdravets “Hylissang” Galabov and a teleport flank from Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau capitalized on Patrik’s overextension, shutting down his CS lead and Adoration stacks. From there on out it was the Fnatic show and at 25 minutes, Fnatic won a team fight in the mid lane, trading 2-for-1 in kills, taking down the outer mid lane tower, and killing Baron Nashor, to then end the game four minutes later.
Schalke 04 impressed the entire community this week as they took down a strong team in Misfits Gaming. Misfits started the split in a formidable fashion, especially given their roster is composed of mostly rookies, but have struggled to find consistency as of late. Nevertheless, Misfits were expected to beat out S04 who sat in 8th at the time of the game. Felix “Abbedagge” Braun’s Azir was the stand out performer for Schalke in their win over Misfits, who teamed up with Lukas “Lurox” Thoma to gain early game advantages in two vs two skirmishes, whilst also picking up a quadrakill around the Elder Dragon pit to round off the game.
Additionally, Origen took the win over Team Vitality after a rocky early game and G2 Esports took down Rogue in the final game of the day.
Week 8 – Day 2
Schalke 04 took down Team Vitality to hand them yet another 0-2 week in the first game of the day on March 21. Simultaneously, Schalke picked up their first 2-0 week of the Spring split, providing some form of hope to the Schalke fans for the upcoming split in Summer. For an organization that has been riddled with roster issues throughout the entire split, a 2-0 week was a huge accomplishment given how much their current roster continues to improve on a weekly basis.
The Week 8 LEC Match of the Week was MAD Lions vs Misfits Gaming, and after a disappointing game vs. Schalke, winning the Match of the Week was a must-have for Misfits as they continue to battle for 4th place. MAD Lions drafted their signature Kalista and Taric bot lane, a duo that has paid off on multiple occasions for MAD. Misfits came out of the gates running, gaining first blood and an early-game advantage of 1000g after MAD Lions botch a tower dive in the top lane 6 minutes into the game. The momentum and control of the game were in Misfits’ hands until Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten overextended in the enemy jungle in an attempt to pick off MAD Lions jungler and support. MAD Lions seized the opportunity and collapsed on the bunnies, winning the skirmish with three kills and netting the baron as their rewards. From there on out it was all MAD Lions as they gave Misfits no breathing room, closing out the game just shy of 34 minutes and handing Misfits a 0-2 week.
As a result of MAD Lions beating Misfits Gaming, it was do or die for Excel Esports as they faced playoffs elimination in their game against G2 Esports. Unfortunately for Excel, G2 destroyed them within 22 minutes as Rasmus “Caps” Winther flexed Ziggs into the bot lane alongside Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle’s Bard with an unusual rune selection of Omnistone. Excel tried to match G2’s early game aggression but fell too far behind before their composition came online at level 6 with Malphite and Nocturne ultimates. Jankos picked up three kills seven minutes into the game on one of the best snowball champions in League of Legends, Pantheon. To Excel’s demise, they did not recover from G2’s early pressure and were outclassed on all fronts. Their loss to G2 noted the end of the road for the UK based organization and all the Excel fans will have to wait until summer to have another shot at reaching playoffs for the first time since entering the LEC.
Week 8, Day 2 also saw Origen and Fnatic win both their games against SK Gaming and Rogue respectively.
All 6 Playoffs Teams are locked! 🔒
— LEC (@LEC) March 21, 2020
Race for First Place
G2 Esports, Fnatic, and Origen continued to dominate the teams below them in the LEC. All three teams won both their games in Week 8 and with the top of the standings being so close, every game counts. G2 Esports currently have a one-game buffer and the head-to-head record over Fnatic and Origen (13W-3L), therefore, they only require one more win to lock in the first seed, granting them the power to choose which team they face in the first round of the knockout stages. G2’s week nine schedule consisting of Schalke 04 and Misfits Gaming, therefore it is safe to say G2 will lock in the first place as it is highly likely G2 takedown either Schalke and or Misfits.
For Fnatic and Origen, Schalke and Misfits are their new best friends. Both Fnatic and Origen sit on the same scoreline (12W-4L) with their head-to-head record tied at one win apiece. If Fnatic or Origen wants a shot at getting first place (which is highly unlikely but technically possible), G2 needs to lose both of their games in week nine, furthermore, both Fnatic and Origen need to win both their games, which will then result in a tie-breaker for first between Fnatic and Origen. Although this scenario is unlikely, a scenario that is likely is a tie-breaker between Fnatic and Origen for second place albeit the second seed does not hold much value in the knockout stage.
The League of Legends European Championship returns on March 27 with Rogue facing off against SK Gaming in the first game of the day, ended with a hotly contested and vital match for the standings come the end of the week, MAD Lions vs Fnatic.
Adam is a master's degree student studying esports at Staffordshire University. He is originally from Manchester, UK, and possesses an unrivaled passion for everything esports.