Heading into 2019 LEC Spring Split Week 2, we’re still left reeling from what was a rather explosive and surprising start last weekend. Then again, we should’ve expected that to happen. This is Europe we’re talking about, after all.
As the dominant teams look to continue to impress while those who had a rather unfavourable week are looking to stage a comeback, we can expect the 2019 LEC Spring Split Week 2 to give us more of the same. At least, as far as the champions go. That means we should expect to see teams put a lot of importance of lane priority, high engage, and good skirmishing.
Certain things were observed from the past week that were not quite observable from other regions. For example, Caitlyn seems to be quite popular as a bottom laner, and Morgana seems to be rising in popularity in the pick and ban phase. Karthus jungle with Dark Harvest as its keystone rune choice also appears to be favored in recent memory. Ornn, after his mini-rework, is being picked in solo queue more often in the support role than in the top lane, and soon we might see him in the highest level of play in that role.
All in all, the current meta seems to allow for a greater variety of champions. Who knows? We might even see Elise support make a comeback soon.
2019 LEC Spring Split Week 2 Schedule
Day 1, Friday, January 25, 2018 (All times are in Central European Time)
Fnatic vs Team Vitality — 18:00 CET
Rogue vs Splyce — 19:00 CET
Excel Esports vs G2 Espots — 20:00 CET
SK Gaming vs Schalke 04 Esports — 21:00 CET
Origen vs Misfits Gaming — 22:00 CET
Day 2, Saturday, January 26, 2018 (All times are in Central European Time)
Fnatic vs Schalke 04 Esports 17:00 — CET
SK Gaming vs Excel Esports 18:00 — CET
Rogue vs G2 Esports 19:00 — CET
Origen vs Splyce 20:00 — CET
Misfits Gaming vs Team Vitality 21:00 — CET
Team to Watch in 2019 LEC Spring Split Week 2 — Misfits Gaming
Misfits is on the path towards redemption.
After a lackluster 2018 season where they failed to make it to playoffs in spring and getting a 9-0 first round robin record followed by a 2-7 second round robin in the summer into fourth place in playoffs, they capped it off by failing in the first regional qualifier match against Splyce. Since then, Misfits has assembled an all-star roster by acquiring Paul “sOAZ” Boyer in the top lane, Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten in the mid lane, and Kang “Gorilla” Beom-hyeon. At the same time, they managed to retain incumbent superstars Nubar “Maxlore” Sarafian as their jungler and Steven “Hans Sama” Liv as their bottom laner.
It was a team that fans and analysts were certain would be a team full of creative plays and decisive team fighting. However, many wondered, who would carry the team? Will they play late, a noted strength of Hans Sama?
For the first two matches, we got a clear answer.
Misfits completely overpowered their opponents in the first two matches.. Misfits Gaming showed a proper combination of a good understanding of lane priority and wave management, and properly leveraging these advantages into champion kills or objectives. Their drafts are rather clear in terms of what they wanted to achieve within the Rift and they played into their compositions well. They still appear to have some mid to late game issues in closing the game out, but otherwise they are still much better than most expected them to be.
Watch if they manage to stay on top until the end this time.
Player to Watch in 2019 LEC Spring Split Week 2 — G2 Jankos
G2 surprised everybody last weekend by showing not only a great amount of flexibility in the drafting phase, but also showing the fruits of their practice— they clearly smashed through both of their games in the League of Legends European Championship’s opening weekend. Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski has been instrumental in the team’s two victories by being on Jungle Karthus.
Yeah, you heard it right. Jankos, previously the god of Braum in the funnel meta, has picked another odd jungle champion in Karthus. Jankos has shown a great understanding of the champion so far, with its jungle camp clear speed, and timing his ultimate well.
But I have not actually put Jankos as next year’s player to watch because of his capability to press his R button, but because it will most probably be banned against him in the future. In this case, what champion will Jankos pick and what will he show us with it? At 2018 Worlds we saw him be the catalyst for his team’s success by making sure his bottom lane does not stay too far behind, then giving assistance to his solo laners and making sure they have a sizeable advantage. In a meta where junglers that have good skirmishing are preferred, Jankos might be able to shine with his usual picks such as Lee Sin or Gragas, or even Olaf— all that is left to be found out is whether G2 Esports would prioritize giving Jankos a favorable pick in the drafting phase.
G2 Esports’ victories depend on Jankos more than people might think, and this coming weekend might show us why.
Must-watch Matches for 2019 LEC Spring Split Week 2
Origen vs Misfits Gaming
Origen has been having quite a rough schedule— from facing titans G2 Esports and Fnatic in the split’s opening weekend, in this weekend they will have to face Misfits Gaming next. Despite the rough schedule, Origen has shown some good foundations that they could build upon in their play. Through Jonas “Kold” Andersen’s smart pathing, the team has been able to have a rather robust early game. Everyone else on the team seems to be in rather top form: Erlend “Nukeduck” Holm had a hard carry performance on Vayne against Fnatic, Barney “Alphari” Morris has been having a rather solid performance on the top lane, and the bottom lane consisting of Patrik “Patrik” Jiru and Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre Rodriguez have been able to get several kills in lane without assistance already. The team’s vision setups and objective control are also worth commending.
On the other hand, Misfits have simply been cruising through the competition so far. The question now is, which team will continue performing? As both teams have strong early games, they have to do well in their transitions into the middle and later parts of the game.
For this reason, I predict Origen to win this match. Febiven has not shown any noteworthy performance just yet, and Origen might take advantage of this fact. Patrik and Mithy will be expected to survive the laning phase against Gorilla and Hans Sama, and Mithy and Kold should be able to tell where Maxlore would be, and would make sure that no one falls prey to his ganks.
Betting: Origen to win vs Misfits at 2.65 odds. (1obet)
Fnatic vs Schalke 04 Esports
After viewing last week’s games, this might turn out to be a closer match than anyone could have predicted earlier on.
Schalke have shown that they are not simply a middle of the pack team; against Team Vitality, they were able to surprise with a Kennen counterpick in the top lane for Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu against an Urgot, and were able to show a great deal of coordination in team fights in the later stages of the game. Their lane focus for the bottom lane for Elias “Upset” Lipp and Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun paid off immensely, and it builds a case for Upset’s skill on champions like the Ezreal: how much can we expect from him as we progress through the split?
Fnatic, on the other hand, have been starting quite slow. Currently sitting on a 0-2 record, they seek to erase last week’s rather underwhelming performance by netting some wins in the coming one. After all, they retained most of their 2018 World Championship Final roster. They used to be a rather scrappy team with almost-perfect coordination, and our mistake might exactly be in the fact that when we look at this roster, we see the 2018 roster, only with Caps being replaced. Maybe Fnatic is still looking for its identity for the 2019 season.
Nevertheless, I predict Fnatic to take this match. Fnatic, with their proper vision setups, can easily take advantage of Odoamme’s tendency to get caught mid-rotation post-laning phase.
Betting: Fnatic to win vs Schalke 04 at 1.54 odds. (10bet)
Second weeks always pose follow-up questions, and the 2019 LEC Spring Split Week 2 is not an exception.
How will the current dominant teams keep their position? Will they even stay on top? Who will be the first of them to fall? Will we have a better idea of each team’s power levels this week? These are questions we hope to have answers to in the coming week. If not, we shall continue to ask these in the following weeks.
Either way, there are always questions, but there’s only one place we can find the answers in — the Summoner’s Rift.
Which team do you think will dominate in the 2019 LEC Spring Split Week 2? Will Fnatic’s slump continue? Will G2 Esports build on their successful start? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.