League of Legends: Top ten LEC players seeking redemption in 2019 (part 2)

BUSAN, SOUTH KOREA - OCTOBER 21: Supporters watch the quaterfinal match of 2018 The League of Legends World Chmpionship at Bexco Auditorium on October 21, 2018 in Busan, South Korea. (Photo by Woohae Cho/Getty Images)
BUSAN, SOUTH KOREA - OCTOBER 21: Supporters watch the quaterfinal match of 2018 The League of Legends World Chmpionship at Bexco Auditorium on October 21, 2018 in Busan, South Korea. (Photo by Woohae Cho/Getty Images) /

New viewers might want to brush up on some of the storylines coming into this split. In the pre-season anticipation, there are many former greats seeking redemption.

Europe redefined their record of international success at Worlds last year, fielding G2 in the semis and seeing Fnatic make an incredible run into the finals. Beyond that, franchising added some extra spicy sauce to the EU mix, replacing several well-known EU teams with a legacy team and a few newcomers. The upcoming split offers not only the chance for greatness but redemption as well.

With this turbulent backdrop, we turn to the players. There’s an incredible amount of talent rearing its head in Europe this year, and there are plenty of contenders looking to stamp their name on that famous moniker, “Best in the West”. And for every fresh upstart looking to make his name, there’s an older pro struggling to reestablish his relevance. Here are the top ten players seeking redemption from the hardships of 2018.

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5/4. Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre Rodriguez/Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten

While two players with their own unique challenges, the stories of Mithy and Febiven resemble one another closely enough where it feels fair to include both on the list. Both players left Europe after cresting the zenith of their respective careers.

Febiven was known for his godlike outplays in mid lane, and Mithy exerted a cool control over the bottom lane with Zven, before smashing through teams in the late game. Both signed fairly high-profile contracts with promising NA squads, only to fall short. Clutch Gaming went out in the playoff semifinals of their debut split, before fully imploding in Summer, missing playoffs altogether.

Meanwhile, TSM missed their first finals appearance in Spring playoffs (losing to Febiven’s own Clutch Gaming) before missing Worlds; a first in the team’s history. While the bar was set at a different level for each team, the results were nothing more than disappointing. Now both players have returned to the LEC seeking redemption for their poor performances across the pond. On the eve of franchising, and are looking to flaunt the greatness they once proudly displayed in their home region.

3. Chres “Sencux” Larsen

Sencux is coming off what can only be described as a mediocre season with Misfits Gaming and signed on with the newly-established Rogue. Misfits themselves are a hard team to characterize; they have never quite run the tables in Europe, yet they have had moments of incredible overperformance. In Worlds 2017, they took SKT to a fifth game (after predicted to lose 3-0 by all game analysts) though they did this without the help of Sencux, who was still signed with Splyce at the time.

Of course, Sencux himself helped drag his squad to Worlds in 2016, upsetting some strong European squads along the way. However 2018 was a bit of a bummer for both Misfits and their new mid; they finished in fifth during the regular season, punching their ticket for playoffs, where they lost the third/fourth place match to Vitality and missing Worlds in the process.

Coming off the weak performance, Sencux signed with Rogue alongside two former Roccat members and Kikis, that crazy jungler who always seems to blow our expectations out of the water. This squad could be the underdog story of the LEC, as well as Sencux’s personal redemption narrative.

2. Tore “Norskeren” Hoel Eilertsen

As a team, Roccat had never been to Worlds. They had never finished first in their region. Or second, or even third. Roccat was, in all honesty… A pretty forgettable team, if not for one factor. Year after year, Roccat would find and foster amazing new talent from all around EU, only to have these stand-out performers plucked from their grasp by more successful teams.

In their time, Roccat raised such big names as Hjarnan, Wadid, Jankos, Vander, NukeDuck, Steeelback, the list goes on. Yet every year the team had the dubious honor of seeing many of its former players make deep runs in the EU playoffs, or even at Worlds, while they floundered their way through another offseason.

Norskeren followed this proud tradition in 2018, showing strong mechanics and a deep champion pool before finishing seventh in the regular season and missing playoffs. After Roccat was eliminated during the franchising process, Norskeren signed on with Splyce, and now hopes to follow in the footsteps of his predecessors; off an embarrassing season with Roccat and onto a better team with hopes for redemption.

1. Erlend “Nukeduck” Våtevik Holm

Nukeduck is a bit of an anomaly. As a player, he has always shown an incredible skill ceiling, taking the best EU mid laners to task in lane, and performing well in late-game team fights. Yet every year, as he stands at the summit of his region, reaching for redemption from his past missteps, something seems to fall apart.

In his first year, it was the Roccat curse, landing him at eighth in Spring and a respectable fifth place for Summer. Then he came roaring out of the gates with Vitality, putting up strong performances most of the split before faltering to a third-place finish in the regular season and losing an upset to Fnatic in the Quarters. He stayed with the team for another uninspiring year.

After that, he signed on with the newly-formed FC Schalke 04 and rose to prominence once more. His team barely missed their ticket to Worlds again that year, losing another upset (this one from G2 in the Gauntlet Finals). Whereas some of the players on this list are undoubtedly washed up, fondly remembering their former glory, Nukeduck has shown himself to be the opposite.

He has consistently risen to the top of the LEC skill ladder, only to have his glory snatched time and again. He has the skills and a new squad in Origen. Now we just need him to perform. Will 2019 finally be, as Deficio is constantly saying, the Year of the Duck!?

Next. LEC 2019: Salty Tiers Part 2 - Who Will Take the Top Spot?. dark

Did we miss anyone? Comment below; we’d love to hear your thoughts on the LEC and which players you’ll have your eye on this season. And make sure to tune in on 01/24 for the start of Week 2 of the LEC.