With a hectic off-season behind us and only a few hours until the beginning of the inaugural LEC split, we’ve taken a look at the main players to watch for each of the newly franchised teams.
exceL Esports – Expect (Top)
After a quiet season that only saw him compete in European Masters for a temporary Origen roster, the ex-G2 top-laner will now return to competitive play with newcomers exceL. He joins a fairly inexperienced roster in which many of the players have not previously played at this level and will surely be a focal point for the team. It remains to be seen, however, whether he will be able to reach his previous heights, having won multiple EU LCS titles in his time on G2.
FC Schalke 04 – Abbedagge (Mid)
With a new look Schalke roster, we’ve highlighted former Royal Bandits mid-laner Abbedagge as the main player to watch. Having found success in the TCL on a team that also consisted of now-TSM top-laner Broken Blade, the German rookie must now perform at this level for the first time in his career. Schalke’s new support pickup IgNar will also be worth keeping an eye on as he returns to Europe following a challenging year in the LCK.
Fnatic – Nemesis (Mid)
After losing their star mid-laner, Fnatic have again been tasked with findings EU’s next great mid. The Worlds finalists have turned to MAD Lions’ Nemesis to fill the void and all eyes will be on the Slovenian to see whether he can fill Caps’ boots.
G2 Esports – Perkz (ADC)
Undoubtedly the most bizarre swap of the off season saw Caps join G2, with Perkz moving roles to ADC to accommodate him. The biggest question now is how good will he be? Having been a top tier mid-laner for a number of years, it will be a surprise if he’s able to reach those heights on a new role and the risky move could end up being one that he regrets.
Misfits Gaming – GorillA (Support)
One of the biggest import moves saw Kingzone DragonX’s GorillA join a new-look Misfits squad, one that has been tipped by many to be one of the strongest in the LEC. With GorillA’s impressive English skills, this move poses fewer risks than normal LCK imports on paper and it will be intriguing to see how well he is able to synergize with the aggressive play-style of ADC Hans Sama.
Origen – Mithy (Support)
After a tough year in the NA LCS with Team SoloMid, veteran support Mithy rejoins the newly resurrected Origen after their successful LEC application. His time on TSM has led many to question whether his best years are behind him and he will now surely be out to prove the doubters wrong. He joins a promising roster where he’ll be linking up with former H2k ADC Patrik.
Rogue – Kikis (Jungle)
For newcomers Rogue their man in the jungle Kikis will likely be the one to watch, where he’ll be looking to regain the form that took his Vitality team from 5th to 2nd in Summer as well as a Worlds spot. Having now been replaced on Vitality, Kikis will again be looking to bolster his new team from the get go and will be a key factor if Rogue are to put up a fight with many predicting them to finish near the bottom of the table.
SK Gaming – Pirean (Mid)
In building their LEC roster, returning organisation SK Gaming opted to pick up the majority of their team from LVP Superliga’s MAD Lions. With Fnatic getting MAD Lions’ Nemesis, SK have filled the mid lane with Pirean from SKT. Despite having a tough season in Korea, the ex-Phoenix1 mid-laner is still being tipped as a high prospect talent and will be worth keeping an eye on to see whether he can fulfil his potential.
Splyce – Humanoid – (Mid)
Having kept hold of Xerxe and Kobbe and picking up former EU LCS talent in Vizicsacsi and Norskeren, Splyce rounded out their roster with a mid-lane rookie in Humanoid. After impressing in the Polish regional league with Illuminar Gaming, much of Splyce’s chances of success will likely depend on Humanoid’s adaptation to the LEC as he performs on this stage for the first time.
Team Vitality – Mowgli (Jungle)
One roster move that caught many off guard during this off season was Afreeca Freecs’ jungler Mowgli joining LEC’s Vitality. After a strong Summer split that led to Worlds qualification, it came as a big surprise to many to see that former jungler Kikis was not kept on the team, especially to be replaced in such a risky manner. As Vitality’s sole import there is a danger that he may struggle to blend with the team, however given that all other members of the roster have been there for at least a year it may just as easily come off to be one of the most successful transfers.
Disagree with any of the players we’ve chosen? Let us know by tweeting @NineTeeSix.
Photo credit Riot Games