The LEC 2019 Spring Split playoffs presents a once in a lifetime chance for any organization to start a legacy as the first team to win an LEC championship.
That’s something that the six teams who made it here will have a chance of doing. To get here, the six teams who made it this far went through nine weeks of ups and downs, with our initial expectations continuously being shattered as every turn as the teams that we thought would be good turned out to be better or worse, while the bad teams turned out to be way better than expected.
With that said, welcome to the LEC 2019 Spring Split playoffs.
What’s New In the LEC 2019 Spring Split Playoffs
What comes with the rebranding of the highest level of European League of Legends is a change with the playoff format. In the old format, the first and second place teams were placed on opposite sides of the bracket, and are seeded directly into the semifinals. In this iteration, the third placed team gets to choose between the fifth and sixth in the first round, and who is left will be facing the fourth placed team.
The winners of this first round will face off in the next weekend, and the other match will be between the first and the second placed team in the regular season, or a “juggernaut” match. The winner of the juggernaut match will be seeded directly into the final, and the loser gets to face the winner of the lower seeded second stage match. The loser of the juggernaut match and the team that has had to climb from the first round of the playoffs will need to face off, and the victor of this match will need to battle it out for the trophy with the winner of the juggernaut match the following day.
The winners of the LEC 2019 Spring Split playoffs will go on to represent Europe at the Mid-Season Invitational this year.
The Biggest Storylines of the LEC 2019 Spring Split Playoffs
Is it all downhill from here for G2 Esports?
G2 Esports started their season with a bang, and ended the second round robin with a whimper, going 0-2 in week nine.
Of course, this comes with a lot of caveats. First of all, Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle was temporarily replaced by Hampus “Promisq” Mikael Abrahamsson due to wrist issues. In addition, interviews and social media statements by the team and its members have stated that the team has been practicing less to not strain Mikyx’s wrist. In addition, they had already secured first place a few weeks back, which means that they had the luxury of not revealing strategies.
Nevertheless, there’s no valid reason for any team to go 4-5 in the second half of a split that they started undefeated in.
Given what happened, we can only come up with two possible explanations. It’s either the rest of the teams improved, or G2 Esports simply couldn’t keep up with the recent changes to the game. The latter is worrying. After all, G2 Esports is far from perfect. We’ve seen them lose games because of their arrogance and are often too reliant on brute forcing their way to victories. Not to mention, the team just generally seems to struggle if Rasmus “Caps” Winther is playing from behind.
Then again, all of these worries might be all for naught. Lest we forget, G2 Esports still house some of the best players of each role in the region.
With more time to prepare for the LEC 2019 Spring Split playoffs, G2 Esports might just end up surprising everybody.
Can we rely on Origen improve further?
While Origen had one of the poorer starts to the split, they have been able to slowly work on themselves and find their groove as a team. They are the more macro-oriented team, focusing on more robust map play, and proper vision and objective control. This is mostly on the back of Jonas “Kold” Andersen, and he has been performing well around his laners, and whenever his assistance is needed, he is there to make plays and put his teammates ahead.
This squad’s strength seems to lie in their ability to deploy different strategies effectively. In addition, they seem like a menace on the red side: Erlend “Nukeduck” Holm’s wide champion pool is always one to remember as he may have specific counter picks against the champions currently in the meta. Barney “Alphari” Morris is always a dependable top laner, and may carry if the need arises. The bottom lane of Patrik “Patrik” Jiru and Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre Rodriguez is a great source of strength for the team as they have always performed quite well. The drafting is also usually on point due to head coach Andre Guilhoto, and they come up with drafts with specific and clear win conditions.
The team isn’t perfect, however. They have had issues with playmaking and the team just doesn’t seem comfortable playing Mithy on anything outside of a tankier support champion.
Either way, Origen will need to continue their upward trajectory and keep on improving to have any shot at winning the LEC 2019 Spring Split playoffs.
Can Fnatic defend its title?
In case anybody forgot, Fnatic was last season’s back-to-back EU LCS champions, and they took both titles with relative ease. This time, with a different roster, things looked to be a lot more difficult. They started the split 3-6, but they managed to get into form and they were able to finish the split in third place with an 11-7 score line. They are the team with the best record in the second half of the regular season, and that alone indicates that they are in rather good form going into the playoffs.
If you turned the name plates off, you would assume that this was the same Fnatic squad from 2018. They have a rather strong early game, with carefully planned level 1 plays. After that, jungler Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen will set out to put Tim “Nemesis” Lipovsek ahead. After accruing a lead in the middle lane, they will use this lead to influence a side lane. This has been Fnatic’s staple style of play, and it still pays off well.
The only question left for Fnatic is whether they will have a good read on the meta, and if they could survive the string of matches that they will have to go through if they wish to claim the title yet again.
Betting Odds for the LEC 2019 Spring Split Playoffs
Here are the betting odds for the League of Legends European Championship 2019 Spring Split Playoffs, courtesy of GGbet.
- G2 Esports – 2.0
- Fnatic – 3.75
- Origen – 4.0
- Splyce – 17.0
- Team Vitality – 21.0
- SK Gaming – 50.0
G2 Esports may have looked more vulnerable in recent weeks, but are certainly still the favorites to take it all for this split. They may rally and shore up their weaknesses over the course of their three-week break. Fnatic have shown a great improvement in their form, and while they have a decent chance of being competitive with G2 Esports, their earlier half of the season may be casting some doubts over fans and analysts. Origen look really good as a cohesive unit, but can this truly make up for the lack of star power over the course of a best of five series?
After the top three, it does not seem like the rest are quite favored. Splyce, Team Vitality, and SK Gaming will have to overcome monumental hurdles to be able to have a deep run into the playoffs. While they may appear to be rather easier to prepare against, do not discount their capability to surprise everyone in the postseason.
LEC 2019 Spring Split Playoffs Schedule
Match 1: March 29, 2019 (Friday)
Fnatic vs Team Vitality, 18:00 CET
Match 2: March 30, 2019 (Saturday)
Splyce vs SK Gaming, 17:00 CET
Match 1: April 5, 2019 (Friday)
G2 Esports vs Origen, 19:00 CET
Match 2: April 6, 2019 (Saturday)
Winner of Round 1, Match 1 vs Winner of Round 1, Match 2, 18:00 CET
Round 3: April 13, 2019 (Saturday)
Winner of Round 2, Match 2, vs Loser of Round 2, Match 1, 19:00 CET
Finals: April 14, 2019 (Sunday)
Winner of Round 2, Match 1, vs Winner of Round 3, 19:00 CET
As the playoffs will be held in a new format and the games will be played in a new patch, expect a lot of experimentation during the first games of every best of five. While not a lot has changed in terms of general champion tier lists, some experimentations do have a chance of happening over the course of drafts.
The team that wins the final, of course, is the first League of Legends European Champion organization. Whether it will be about establishing a legacy, rebuilding one, or even continuing one, there is still much to fight for in the weeks to come. After all, success in the domestic stage can be a stepping stone towards international victories.
This is a new league, a new chance— to create a dynasty for the rest to remember.
Which team do you think will lift the trophy in the end? Do you think G2 Esports will still take the championship despite its hiccups in the regular season? Let us know in the comments section below!