From what we’ve seen so far and what we’ll likely see in LEC 2019 Spring Split Week 7, Europe is no different from other regions. In that, the sheer amount of changes to have hit the region this season has been staggering, to say the least. We’ve seen the rise of rookies in the LEC, as well as the incumbent kings of Europe, Fnatic, not looking as high and mighty as they have had in years past.
Beyond those, even more changes are coming. Patch 9.4 is about to hit professional play soon.
The top lane champion pool has been pinched further with Urgot nerfs. For the jungle, Karthus has met the nerf hammer and his early clear speed in the jungle might become a lot slower. Yasuo as a flex pick might lose a lot of power as his compensation buffs after the item changes in patch 8.11 have been reverted. Lucian will be less of a bully due to changes to his W, but the rest of his kit is still fairly strong. As for supports, the cooldown on Thresh’s Death Sentence has been extended, and the cost has been increased, which means that he will have less playmaking power in the laning phase.
The question now then is which champions will we see in professional play. Considering it’s not been that long since patch 9.4 was implemented, trends in solo queue may not be enough to give us glimpses into what we may be seeing in the future. A personal guess with be some ‘skill check’ champions that have lane priority, such as Syndra, Kennen, and even Orianna, all of which we have already been seeing a lot of, may become more common.
LEC 2019 Spring Split Week 7 Schedule
Day 1, Friday, March 1, 2019 (All times are in Central European Time)
Fnatic vs FC Schalke 04 Esports, 18:00
SK Gaming vs Excel Esports, 19:00
Rogue vs G2 Esports, 20:00
Origen vs Splyce, 21:00
Misfits Gaming vs Team Vitality, 22:00
Day 2, Saturday, March 2, 2019 (All times are in Central European Time)
SK Gaming vs G2 Esports, 17:00
FC Schalke 04 Esports vs Splyce, 18:00
Rogue vs Fnatic, 19:00
Excel Esports vs Misfits Gaming, 20:00
Origen vs Team Vitality, 21:00
Teams and Players to Watch in LEC 2019 Spring Split Week 7
SK Gaming has been on the upswing for their past few matches.
Since replacing Fabian “Sheeby” Mallant as their head coach and putting Ram “Brokenshard” Djemal in his place, they have only lost twice. This indicates a significant improvement in their drafting, one that finally allows them to full potential of their entire roster. Also, because of the recent changes to marksman itemization, Juš “Crownshot” Marušič has become more dependable with his preferred champions back in the meta. His usual problem, however, is that he strives to find relevance once he is set behind in lane, whether it be due to an unfavorable lane matchup or due to some better map play from the opponents.
At the same time, we’ve seen more stable play from Choi “Pirean” Jun-sik in the middle lane. His penchant for playing Lissandra is noteworthy, although one can’t help but wonder what he’ll do if it gets nerfed or banned by the other team. Jorge “Werlyb” Casanovas has not quite been able to become worthy of Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek’s jungle attention: he has not quite shown an impressive performance so far.
Selfmade, is, of course, the player that has made all the difference. He carries SK Gaming through victories via the jungle. Whether on the Karthus or a Sejuani, he knows how to set up the right players and put his team in the position to succeed while also constantly forcing out mistakes from the enemy team.
With the entire team a collection of relatively fresh talent, the question now is whether or not they can ride their momentum to the playoffs and beyond.
Despite being South Korean, Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun has made a name for himself in Europe. In 2017, in the Ardent Censer meta when enchanter supports like Janna and Lulu were prevalent, IgNar played then off-meta supports such as Blitzcrank and Leona. Following his stellar performance on Misfits Gaming, IgNar went back to his home region, where he did not perform that well on bbq Olivers. He then returned to Europe to join FC Schalke 04 Esports, where expectations of IgNar were rather varied. Some people believed in that his performance this season would be similar to the last. Most believed he could still get back into form.
The reality of IgNar’s performance is rather champion dependent. When on playmaking supports like the Blitzcrank, Thresh or even Alistar, IgNar is among the best in the league. When on more reactive champions like the Braum or the Tahm Kench, IgNar will look lost and fail to secure lane priority. In addition, his roaming seems to be what keeps the Schalke early game intact. Without the bottom lane securing priority, this seems to be lost entirely.
IgNar could work on issues of his champion pool, and prove that he is indeed one of the best supports in the league.
Match Picks for LEC 2019 Spring Split Week 7
Origen vs Splyce (Day 1)
Origen is a team that has an extremely high ceiling, which they have proven by being the only team to have defeated G2 Esports in the first round robin. However, they have not been capable of consistently actualizing their potential: they another 0-2 week last weekend. Splyce, on the other hand, seem to be the more consistent team. They defeat the teams below them, and they struggle against the teams above them. As both teams are currently in the middle of the pack, both teams are struggling to cement their places in the playoffs.
The key matchup here is the jungle. Origen relies on Jonas “Kold” Andersen’s early control of the jungle to be able to follow through with their game plans. In their game against Fnatic, they lost bottom lane priority at level 1, which meant that that part of the map was hardly accessible for the jungler, and that they would lose out on the drakes that would spawn near the lane. Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir’s early game pathing has been Splyce’s lifeline in the early game. His high early kill participation means that the team plays off of his ganks and his early play making.
Unless there is some stellar performance from the laners, both junglers will have to decide the outcome of this game. Nevertheless, due to the relative talent across both rosters, I am still inclined to believe that Origen will win this match.
Betting: Origen to win vs SPLYCE at 1.74 odds via 10bet.
G2 Esports vs SK Gaming (Day 2)
By the end of LEC 2019 Spring Split Week 7, G2 Esports should remain the best LEC team. After all, they are the only team to have secured a playoff spot this early on. However, their opponents, SK Gaming, are looking to rise up in the standings, and a win against G2 Esports will help them a lot.
Unfortunately, it’s looking like a win here is near-impossible. G2 Esports have shown that their earlier loss to Origen was nothing more than a fluke. But, of course, as mentioned earlier, SK Gaming are currently on the upswing after making a change to their coaching staff, so they have a chance, regardless of how minuscule that chance may be.
With both teams equally capable of executing well, the match results all boil down to the draft. For SK, they will need to take out Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski’s scaling Karthus pick, and then draft a jungler that will have a skirmishing advantage. Also, if Choi “Pirean” Jun-sik goes beyond his comfort zone and is given a pick that will pin Rasmus “Caps” Winther to his turret, then it means that the G2 mid laner will have trouble influencing other lanes. If their bottom lane is safe enough but could capitalize on enemy mistakes, SK Gaming could possibly prey on Luka “Perkz” Perkovic and Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle’s over aggression in lane.
While there’s no doubt that SK Gaming could issue a good challenge against G2 Esports, the amount of things that have to go right for them to win makes it more likely that G2 Esports will walk away with the win here.
Betting: G2 Esports to win vs SK Gaming at 1.21 odds via 10bet.
Six games left for the split means that there are a few remaining chances for the teams to solidify their position going into the postseason. For all our teams, however, simply getting into playoffs is not the metric for their success — ultimately, it is winning the split, and great international results.
Which team/s do you think will stand out in LEC 2019 Spring Split Week 7? Do you think Fnatic will maintain their momentum? Will G2 Esports drop a game, or even an entire series, for the first time this coming weekend? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.