When the 2020 League of Legends European Championship (LEC) Summer Split concluded two weeks ago, it looked as though a new era had begun in EU LoL esports.
Young, homegrown rosters Rogue and MAD Lions secured the top 2 seeds in the post-season, and Rogue’s first-place finish made it the first team to qualify for the 2020 World Championship. Household names G2 Esports and Fnatic had played second fiddle at best to MAD and RGE all summer long, and it looked as if the Summer Playoffs would feature more of the same.
If the reign of EU’s old guard ended before the Summer Playoffs, someone forgot to tell the old kings they were stepping down. G2 Esports defeated MAD Lions 3-1, looking every bit the final boss of EU that it had been for the past few years. Fnatic swept Rogue the very next day in an even more dominant fashion.
It’d be simple enough to chalk up the wins of G2 Esports and Fnatic to veteran experience carrying more weight in the best-of-five format of playoffs when compared to the best-of-one of regular split, but that would be an oversimplification of Europe’s most decorated teams returning to form in trademark fashion.
Lion tamers: G2 rediscovers its strengths
It was expected that any trouble G2 had with MAD Lions before would end with Rasmus “Caps” Winther and Luka “Perkz” Perković role-swapping back to their usual positions. Instead, MAD Lions reached a new level in summer and held first place for the majority of the split.
MAD Lions fell off towards the end of summer, but still managed to secure the 2nd seed. G2, on the other hand, hit its stride and went 6-0 in their final season games to then take a 3-1 win over MAD in the playoffs in a game, whose drafts and compositions in their wins as opposed to their loss stand out as the main talking point.
Caps has put together an MVP caliber performance this summer and continued to put up strong numbers throughout the series, but even more crucial is how G2 built its compositions around the star mid laner.
In G2’s three wins in the series, top laner Martin “Wunder” Hansen played Neeko twice and Gangplank once. Both champions are relatively self-sufficient in the side lane but have more and more ways to help the rest of the team as a game goes late. In G2’s loss to MAD in the series, Wunder played Shen, a champion that is excellent at helping out teammates, but doesn’t necessarily pose its own threat in an individual context the same way Neeko and Gangplank can.
Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski has been named MVP in the last two splits of the LEC, but G2’s jungler didn’t reach his peak by utilizing high-level mechanics like his younger years on ROCCAT. More often than not, Jankos serves as a reliable frontline…
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