The LEC is back in action with Week 1 of the 2021 Summer Split! The long wait is finally over. After countless (seven) teasers and trailers, the we get the LEC back for another eight weeks of competition.
During the offseason, teams made several massive roster moves, creating a completely revamped landscape of the European League. This also means that there will be many shake-ups compared to the last split. Let’s take a look at some of the games in Week 1 and what we can expect going forward!
MAD vs G2 – Friday 18:00 (CET)
The LEC Summer Split starts off with a banger: Spring Split winners MAD Lions will face G2 Esports in what could be a watershed for both teams. If either team dominates, it would surely elevate the expectations of the summer split to another level.
After a somewhat “disappointing” split, G2 Esports worked hard during the offseason to bounce back. Their goal is still Worlds, and winning the Summer Split would be the first step to get there. Not only that, but the organization is trying to hype everyone up in their own way.
The Mad Lions come from a decent showing at MSI, despite not winning the tournament. There were some hiccups here and there but overall, they must be happy to take DAMWON Kia to a 5-game series. They will surely use that momentum during the Summer and aim for Worlds again.
Out of all the series, this is probably the hardest to predict. MAD is probably more favored in terms of meta: İrfan Berk “Armut” Tükek’s pocket pick Wukong is the best champion in the game. Watch out for that during champ select. In addition, the international experience at MSI on a relatively similar meta will help the team during the draft phase.
While G2 didn’t disclose much information about scrims, they must have something up their sleeve. Remember Karma? Well, she is one of the strongest and most versatile champions in the game right now. We potentially might see it again this time.
To conclude, we think that the Lions will likely take this game. While G2 is still the better team on paper, we expect them to reach their peak performance towards the end of the split. MAD Lions have been playing a lot more on-stage (thanks to MSI) and will come more prepared for this big opener. It will be close, but we think that G2 will eventually drop.
VIT vs S04 – Friday 21:00 (CET)
Vitality and Schalke04 were the two teams making the most moves during the break. Vitality completely changed its team, keeping only its ADC Juš “Crownshot” Marušič from spring. The “new villains” made a lot of headlines in this off-season and expectations for the team are getting higher and higher.
Vitality’s new roster has the potential to make it not only to playoffs, but they might be the dark horse for a ticket to Worlds. With players like Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek and Adam “LIDER” Ilyasov, they have everything they need to get there.
Schalke04 made the decision to cut back on the budget and is looking to make a strong last showing, now that it’s almost confirmed that they will leave the LEC. The organization decided to put rookies Ilias “NUCLEARINT” Bizriken and Thomas “Kirei” Yuen on the starting roster, hoping that they can perform well and become more valuable once the split ends. It will be interesting to see whether S04 can still clinch a playoff spot despite the changes of the roster.
As for the prediction, we think that Vitality will outclass S04. Both teams have a lot to work with, especially in terms of synergy, but VIT’s players are individually stronger than S04’s counterparts.
MSF vs FNC – Friday 22:00 (CET)
Another team that made a lot of turmoil was Fnatic. With Selfmade’s departure, the team found itself in a weird situation. As a result, Bwipo role swapped to the jungle role as former KCorp player Adam took Bwipo’s place. It will be intriguing to see if we will see “Wide Bwipo” in FNC’s first series of the Summer Split.
Misfits, on the other hand, didn’t make any particular change to the starting roster. MSF is still looking to get to playoffs after missing out during spring. If the team can be slightly more consistent, then they might see an opportunity. Now that Vitality is also in playoffs contention, getting there will be even harder. Will they deliver? Winning against FNC can surely be a strong start.
With that being said, we still think FNC will have the upper hand. Bwipo was hinting at the role swap at the MSI broadcast, showing that he was already preparing for it. Misfits must find something in the draft phase and shut down FNC’s bot lane or they will get demolished in the latter stages of the game.
Match of the Week: Fnatic vs MAD Lions
As the title stated, MAD Lions can set the tone for the entire split by potentially downing both European powerhouses in a single weekend. Much of what we covered from the previous matches holds true here as well. Can Bwipo outjungle Elyoya? Will Armut stomp the new FNC top laner, or will the best top at EU Masters prevail?
Plenty of storytelling converges in this week’s match of the week.
By the end of the weekend, we will know how EU initially stands in terms of LEC Power Rankings, and who adapts best to this meta.