Recently the news broke out that the European League of Legends Championship Series or the EU LCS is no longer, and it has evolved into the League of Legends European Championship, or the LEC. Alongside the rebranding of the European League of Legends, esports scene is the announcement of the teams that will be participating in the franchised league.
Here are the teams, and a few words about them:
League of Legends European Championship – The Teams
Was there ever any doubt that Fnatic would not make it into franchising?
Fnatic is arguably the most storied Western team in League of Legends history— aside from being the Season 1 champions, they had the most championships in the EU LCS, with seven regional championships under their belts. Following this, Fnatic often performs quite well internationally, as they have gone to seven out of eight world championships, and in those seven, they have gotten out of the group stages six times.
After their second-place finish at Worlds 2018, Fnatic is still hungry. They are hungry to maintain their dominion over Europe, and they are hungry for their first international title since 2011.
G2 Esports is the team that took the EU LCS titles in the years that Fnatic was not dominant. They have a total of four, but their regional success did not translate to international success in those two years. The odd thing about G2 was that when G2 entered Worlds as the third seed, they exceeded expectations, first by getting out of the group stages, and then by taking down Royal Never Give Up.
G2 wishes to retake the crown, and their struggle to return to the top continues.
Schalke 04 Esports
Schalke 04’s first successful split in European League of Legends was the 2018 Summer Split. Schalke has a clear financial backer in a football club, and they have shown a great eye in talent and its development. The organization fell short in the past season, and their entry into the franchised league gives them a chance to show us what we could have witnessed.
Whether or not the last season was a fluke, we shall soon find out.
Splyce has been in the EU LCS since 2016, and aside from one Worlds appearance, they have been consistently somewhere in the middle of the League. A North American organization, Splyce has made it clear that they are here to stay. This is an organization that has teams competing in other esports such as Call of Duty, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Halo, Rocket League, among others, which means that they are fully capable of participating in the LEC in the long run.
Splyce has recently been acquired by OverActive Media Group, based in Toronto. Will they finally make a lasting mark on European League of Legends?
Team Vitality is a French esports organization that has been in the European League of Legends scene since 2015. This organization has teams competing in Call of Duty, FIFA, Rainbow Six: Siege, Rocket League, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
Team Vitality made waves in the most recent League of Legends World Championship. Despite not being able to get out of the group stages, Team Vitality was the team responsible for setting most of the tournament meta, and providing a template as to how Royal Never Give Up could be defeated. The fiery and feisty squad in 2018, with coach Jakob “YamatoCannon” Mebdi at the helm, is not here to just make statements and make small steps.
Vitality wants to smash their way into a first championship and then wishes to take the world by storm yet again.
SK Gaming is a legacy organization in Europe, based in Germany. They are known for their Quake players back in the day, and for their Counter-Strike team currently.
For the older fans, SK Gaming is a returning organization: it is, after all, one of the organizations that have been in the competitive League of Legends scene since its inception. The famous Kassadin Nexus backdoor by Enrique “xPeke” Cedeno Martinez was against SK Gaming. SK Gaming eventually lost its place in the European LCS by 2015, and participated in the national leagues in Europe.
Three competitive seasons later, here is SK Gaming once again. How will the familiar organization compete in the new era?
exceL Esports is an organization hailing from the United Kingdom. They have been competing in the UK national league for a while, and we witnessed them in action in the European Masters tournament. Now they wish to compete internationally, and them being a new organization raises some questions from the fans.
They are backed by Guinevere Capital, a firm more known for its investments in esports in Australia. They have teams in FIFA, Rocket League, and Street Fighter V.
This organization will surely be one of the underdogs coming into the 2019 League of Legends European Championship season.
Rogue is another North American organization, and it is entering League of Legends for the first time. With teams in Counter-Strike, FIFA, Fortnite, Rainbow Six: Siege, and Rocket League, they are no strangers to esports. In addition, with backers like Steve Aoki and Rekt Global, there is no doubt that they would be able to keep up financially with the other organizations.
Rogue is a relative unknown in League of Legends, and the following year in the League of Legends European Championship will be make or break them.
Misfits Gaming is yet another North American organization that found League of Legends success in Europe. They have teams in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, and some fighting games here and there. Misfits won the hearts of European fans with a historic Worlds 2017 run, taking then-defending world champions SK Telecom T1 to five games while playing arguably off-meta team compositions. They served as an inspiration for the whole of Europe to play their own style and was a catalyst for the evolution of European League of Legends.
2018 was not kind on Misfits Gaming, but in 2019 they are seeking redemption.
Origen is a storied team in League of Legends history, being a team that went from the Challenger scene in the spring of 2015 to the EU LCS final in Summer, and eventually the semifinal of Worlds 2015. Following the Worlds run, they have been in the Spring playoffs final of 2016, but everything following this has been a downward spiral. After losing most of their star players, Origen was not able to get into 2016 Worlds, and was relegated in 2017.
A reinvigorated Origen joined the 2018 Spring European Masters, with an all-star roster. They eventually won the event, and fans were left speculating whether Origen would come back into the franchised League. Eventually, they were announced to have successfully made their return, but now with better management: former EU LCS colour caster and analyst Martin “Deficio” Lynge is the organization’s General Manager, and they have the backing of RFRSH Entertainment. For anyone following the Counter-Strike esports scene, RFRSH is no name to scoff at— they are Astralis’ parent company.
The only question left is, when will Origen play?
There is no way yet to assess the capability of each team in the League of Legends European Championship. No full rosters have been announced yet, and actual League of Legends has to be played for anyone to properly gauge where the teams are at.
Welcome to the new age, where everyone seeks to be king.
What do you think of the teams that made it into the League of Legends European Championship? Did your favourite organization make it in? What are your hot takes for next season? Let us know in the comments below!