LEC 2020: Fnatic Fall Flat in Preseason Power Rankings

League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /

Reigning MSI champions G2 Esports will be looking to lift their 3rd consecutive LEC trophy in the 2020 Spring Split, but there are 9 teams all vying to stop them.

Three LEC teams reaching the World Championship knockout stages and an EU team in the final for the second year running illustrates how much European League of Legends has improved in a short space of time.

But it’s important to maintain that improvement and continue to push further in order to knock the LPL and LCK off their perch of recent international dominance. G2 Esports are obviously way out in front, but they’re elevating the level of competition in Europe which can only result in higher quality gameplay and stronger rosters and individual players in the LEC.

The 2020 Spring Split is set up to be far more competitive than anything we saw in 2019 with multiple teams improving their rosters and targeting playoffs success. Only six teams can make it though, so how do the current LEC line-ups stack up in our power rankings?

S Tier

1) G2 Esports
It’s clear that G2 Esports will be the strongest team in the Spring Split. The gap between this organization and the other nine in 2019 was monumental, and it’ll be incredibly tough to overcome after a single off-season.

The only scenario in which G2 fail to lift the LEC trophy in March is if Caps struggles to adapt to his new AD Carry role and the team is forced to switch things up early in the regular season. Otherwise, it should be plain sailing for the defending European champions.

A Tier

2) Rogue
From dead last in the Spring Split, Rogue went on to become the most improved team of 2019, qualifying for the Summer Playoffs and finishing in the top four. This was mostly due to the introduction of rookies Inspired and Larssen who had a huge impact on the team after joining in the mid-season break.

Rogue have taken their fourth-placed roster and improved it, replacing the relatively weak HeaQ/Woolite with French marksman Hans Sama.

This new-look Rogue will be brimming with confidence following the conclusion of last season and, with synergy already developed thanks to few roster changes, as well as vital stage experience on their two rookies, will be looking to push the likes of Fnatic and Origen in the Spring Split Playoffs.

3) Origen
When it comes to off-season signings, Origen have made the best transfers by far. Swapping an underperforming Kold for the second-best LEC jungler in 2019, Xerxe, has the potential to be the roster move of the season. On top of that, Origen also replaced a mid-tier ADC in Patrik with one of the best in Europe, Upset.

Following their incredibly disappointing first year back in the LEC, it’s clear that Origen mean business heading into 2020. World Championship qualification is a must, and while it may take the new roster time to gel and find their rhythm in the Spring Split, expect to see them challenging for the LEC Summer Split title alongside G2 Esports.

4) Fnatic
Fnatic’s problems were clear for all to see throughout the 2019 season, almost boiling over during the mid-season break. As a result, two huge names have left the organization (Youngbuck and Broxah) and been replaced by relatively inexperienced signings.

Mithy’s first coaching role is on one of the biggest teams in League of Legends, while Selfmade has made a similar step up just one year after his first LEC appearance. Both new additions will require time and Fnatic fans will have to be patient in what will be a slow Spring Split, building for Summer and beyond.

Expect, Excel Esports, LEC, League of Legends.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /

B Tier

5) Excel Esports
The LEC audience may have been calling for wholesale challenges after Excel’s dismal ninth and tenth place finishes last season, but the Excel management and coaching staff saw it differently. Expect, Caedrel, and Mickey all performed admirably in a team that seriously lacked cohesion and a mid game plan in 2019, so they’ve stayed with the org for another year.

As for the bottom lane, it’s as straightforward an upgrade as you can get. Rookies Jeskla and Mystiques failed to make an impact in their first year on the LEC stage, so Excel have gone for more mature options in Patrik and Tore (formerly Norskeren).

Strong transfers along with a pre-synergized top side of the map mean there’s huge potential for Excel in the Spring Split. Playoffs will be the aim and – looking at the relative strength of the teams in the league – it will be a huge disappointment if they don’t make it.

6) SK Gaming
Alongside Excel in the B tier are SK Gaming, who have also made two changes going into 2020.

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Following Selfmade’s departure, SK have somehow found an apt replacement in Trick, who impressed on a decent Schalke 04 roster in 2019.

Speaking of S04, they snatched Dreams from under SK’s noses, so now LIMIT will play alongside Crownshot in the bot lane.

LIMIT is an LEC rookie having previously found success on ASUS ROG ELITE, most recently playing for ad hoc gaming in the Premier Tour.

Ultimately this SK roster is very similar to last year’s and should finish in a comparable place in the standings, but could push further up the table if Trick develops strong synergy with Sacre and Jenax early on.

C Tier

7) MAD Lions
The major shake-ups start in C Tier with MAD Lions first on the list. Formerly Splyce, the MAD Lions have made four changes to their starting line-up, introducing three rookies to the LEC stage.

Most of the experience on the roster comes from 2019 rookie Humanoid who made an incredible start to his LEC career.

What the others lack in experience they make up for in potential though, with all four impressing in regional leagues last year, particularly Carzzy, who is one to watch for 2020.

8) Schalke 04
Has there been a more exciting roster announcement in recent European history than this Schalke 04 team? Veteran Odoamne returns to the stage for Schalke alongside Abbedagge, a mid laner with huge potential.

Dreams impressed in his first LEC season, establishing himself as a strong shot-caller on SK Gaming in 2019. And who could forget the long-awaited returns of God Gilius and FORG1VEN to the European top division?

In terms of potential, this Schalke team has tons and could challenge the top three/four for the Spring Split title (or 2nd place) if everything goes right for them. That being said, there’s also tons of potential to fail, with two players that have been away from the LEC for over a year, as well as a top laner who was far from his best in 2019.

Fortunately, Schalke can lean on Abbedagge in the Spring Split as they look to gel as a team and re-adapt to the LEC stage. However, relying on a player with just one year of top-level European experience may not be the best plan heading into a new season.

D Tier

9) Team Vitality
Failure to go beyond the first knockout round of playoffs in back-to-back splits, then not having enough points to compete in the regional qualifier will have taken its toll on the 2019 Team Vitality roster. As a result, there have been three changes to the starting line-up with Cabochard and Jactroll the only players remaining from last year.

Skeanz, Milica, and Comp occupy the main three carry roles for Vitality in the 2020 Spring Split, none of whom have any prior EU top division experience and will be unfamiliar to the regular LEC audience.

In 2019, Skeanz finished as runner-up in the LFL Summer Playoff on Vitality.Bee, Milica won the SuperLiga Orange Summer Playoffs with Vodafone Giants, and Comp won both LFL Spring and Summer Playoffs on LDLC.

Clearly, these rookies have pedigree in the European regional leagues, but can they translate that to the EU main stage and maintain their level of quality even with a huge step up to the LEC?

While that remains up in the air, it’s wise to manage expectations for this team and accept that three rookies will need time to adapt to the LEC and success is probably off the cards for the Spring Split.

10) Misfits Gaming
In one of the biggest downgrades of all time, Misfits Gaming have gone from a roster with heaps of international experience and Worlds success to a team that has racked up a total of 10 games in Europe’s top division between them (all 10 on Dan Dan).

It is impossible to rate this team any higher than 10th and D Tier due to the fact that they completely lack LEC experience and have never played with each other prior to 2020.

No doubt this is a talented bunch of rookies but putting up a reasonable fight against several stacked LEC rosters heading into the Spring Split is nothing but a pipe dream for this new Misfits line-up.

dark. Next. Previewing the Youth Movement on Misfits 2020 Spring Split

The LEC returns on Friday 24 January on the LEC Twitch channel! Catch the first game between G2 Esports and MAD Lions from 12:00 EST / 18:00 CET!