League of Legends: 5 LEC players to watch in summer

League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /
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Cabochard, Team Vitality, LEC, League of Legends.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /

European League of Legends is back on our screens this Friday afternoon! To prepare for the return of the LEC, we’ve created a small list of players to watch during the regular season.

With Worlds qualification places on the line and European international success already on the cards, this summer is set up to be one of the most exciting splits of all time. Players will undoubtedly be putting in 110% with the added motivation of Europe potentially being the strongest region heading into the 2019 World Championship.

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Although the LEC All-Pro team may already act as a “Players to Watch” list, it could be argued that the names on that list are too obvious. Instead, this list acts as a combination of already-recognised players, as well as more obscure picks, adding up to 5 players who should all stamp their authority on the competition in the LEC summer split, vying to reach a playoff spot and potentially Worlds qualification.

Lucas “Cabochard” Simon-Meslet (Team Vitality)

Arguably the strongest member of a very impressive Team Vitality roster in the spring split, Cabochard will want to go one further in the second half of the season and guide his team towards Worlds qualification. Despite VIT’s strong start – picking up 9 wins and looking comfortable in second place as late as week 7 – it all fell apart in the final two weeks as they only achieved a single victory. Nevertheless, their excellent performances in the earlier stages of the regular season will have the squad feeling confident of success heading into summer.

Cabochard will be key to any level of success Vitality achieve during the summer split as he has clearly established himself as one of the two carry threats on the roster, alongside Jiizuke. In fact, his level of play throughout spring was rewarded with a place on the 1st LEC All-Pro team, beating the likes of Wunder, Bwipo, and Alphari, and highlighting what an impressive split it was for both him and his team.

Nonetheless, 5th place and a playoffs failure won’t be enough for Vitality this time around as they seek another trip to Worlds in 2019. To boost their morale and enhance their play style, the team opted to boot camp in China over the mid-season break, joining up with close friends Royal Never Give Up for the majority of the last few weeks. Vitality will be hoping this valuable experience facing tough opposition from around the LPL will improve their chances of reaching the latter stages of playoffs in the summer.

If they want to catch the likes of G2 Esports and Origen, they’ll need their star top laner to be on top form through the regular season and playoffs. During spring, Cabochard showed us that he was both a capable carry, tank player, and split pusher on a number of occasions, and he’ll need to show it once more in order to steer his team to LEC victory. Expect to see Mowgli set up camp around top and mid lane to give his solo laners an early lead, which they can then use to rotate around the map and snowball the game in Vitality’s favour.

While fans and analysts won’t be putting Vitality amongst the top two in their predictions heading into the summer split, it’s definitely possible for this team to challenge the likes of Fnatic and Origen and reach the playoff final. While there are five members on this exciting roster, a lot of the onus is on their French top laner, Cabochard, to make an impact and lead the team towards the top end of the table.

Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir (Splyce)

Keen, analytical eyes in the audience will have noticed that Xerxe quietly lingered amongst the top junglers during the spring split. Although he may not have been rewarded with a place on any LEC All-Pro team, his performances were something to be admired for much of the first half of the season and he’ll be hoping to keep this level of form up for summer.

Unlike your Broxahs, Jankoses, and Selfmades, Xerxe shies away from carry junglers and instead opts to sit back and control the game on tankier picks, particularly Jarvan IV and Sejuani (although he was a big fan of Aatrox in the later stages of the spring regular season). From this position, the Splyce jungler can create openings across the map to get his laners ahead by tracking the enemy jungler and intelligently pathing for gank/counter-gank opportunities.

The biggest area where Splyce need to have improved during the mid-season break is the mid-jungle synergy between Xerxe and Humanoid. While the team could always rely on Vizicsacsi and Kobbe to control mid and late game teamfights due to their experience in the EU LCS, Humanoid still needed time to adapt to the LEC stage. However, with a full split under his belt, hopefully the rookie is in the perfect position to push on and become a threat for Splyce heading into the summer split.

It goes without saying that Xerxe makes this Splyce team tick and, alongside Norskeren, he creates a very focused, patient approach to games that almost always sees excellent shotcalling and map movements in the late game. Finishing 4th in the spring split is a great start from a new-look roster, but they’ll need to go one further if they wish to achieve Worlds qualification at the end of the season. It all starts with Xerxe and if he can continue his hard work from spring, Splyce will have an excellent chance of reaching their goals in summer.