LEC Power Rankings: How will Europe’s powerhouses match up in 2021?

The 2021 LEC season is on the horizon and with that change, many new teams have opted for fresh rosters and new strategies in order to pull ahead competitively. For this edition of LEC Power Rankings we will be focusing on roster potential and analyzing how each team will develop with a slew of promising rookies making their debut in the European scene across multiple teams. Rosters at the top, middle and bottom of the pack have all opted for roster changes.

With the absence of players like Alphari and Perkz within the scene, the stage is set for even more European stars to be born as G2 Esports enter a new era in their dominance with the best ever Western Mid and natural ADC finally on the same team. However, there are more than a few hungry teams on the outskirts that will be looking to make their mark on the scene despite the shadow G2 and Fnatic have cast on the scene in recent years.

 

10. Astralis (formerly Origen)

The Origen debacle has been well documented over the years and the Astralis rebrand ushers in a hopeful new era for an organization that once reached great heights across multiple esports. Unfortunately, Astralis didn’t get off to the greatest start when it came to retaining talent. Heading into 2021, the only resigning Astralis made was for Nukeduck, and many fans were left scratching their heads as to why after a dismal 2020 season.

Astralis managed to pick up some form of proven talent to bolster their ranks in Zanzarah and WhiteKnight. WhiteKnight has been around the European scene since Season 3, and despite role swaps, has managed to remain relevant in the amateur European circuit for a few years running. Zanzarah also enjoyed success in the Polish circuit where he won a tournament last year behind LEC starter Inspired.

Jeskla and promisq are a Swedish bot lane duo joining Astralis via mousesports, who also reached amateur success during the PRM Pro Division 2020 Grand Final. While all these players have a certain amount of pedigree and experience within the scene, their upside does not match the hype and expectations of other promising rookies on this list and their additions are noticeable downgrades from their 2020 roster. All those factors unfortunately put Astralis with an unsavory position at the bottom of the heap in our LEC Power Rankings.

9. Team Vitality

Team Vitality is a roster we tentatively rank at 9th on our LEC Power Rankings due to their lack of experience on an official stage. Regardless, VIT is one of those rosters that will slowly become greater than the sum of their parts due to the multiple personalities they have that actually mesh well on the rift. Comp and Labrov are a Greek duo who slowly got the ball rolling towards the end of Summer split. Labrov especially was putting in commendable performances on Support that will be the pulse of this team alongside Razork in the jungle.

Szygenda is a lesser-known pickup within the major European scene, but he did enjoy success alongside Zanzarah last year in the Polish circuit. With Team Vitality keeping the parts of their roster they felt needed another shot, the prospects for success are a little higher with these alterations, but not enough to move the needle more in their favor.

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@LEC

8. Misfits

Misfits were another team that has suffered a string of underwhelming seasons that has taken root in bad signings. Year after year, Misfits seem to develop a roster that has all the promise in the world and somehow still fail to deliver. Their approach to signings this year was notably more conservative as MSF opted for local pickups in Agresivoo and Vetheo. Vetheo is most known for his appearance on a YellOwStaR led team at the LFL Finals last year.

More importantly, the pickup of Vander as he pairs up with Kobbe for the first time in LEC can be Misfits brightest light during the season. Vander is a natural born playmaker who has no problem exercising his skill against players of lesser intellect. This aspect of his play will make him a menace with aggressive young players like Razork who will launch at his beck and call.

7. SK Gaming

SK Gaming is a team that snuck under the radar and actually enjoyed one of the best offseasons in the LEC despite their budgetary restraints. Although they have uprooted ⅘ of their roster, SK Gaming have trimmed all the unnecessary and kept their most valuable asset in Jenax. Finally, he is paired with talent that can hold up to his level as highly touted rookies TynX Jezu and Blue join him in the Jungle, ADC, and Mid lane role respectively.

TynX has been highly rated by a few analysts during LEC player rankings within the European scene that consider him to be the next great jungle talent to grace the region. Some consider his debut a year too late considering the lack of opportunity that was available last offseason. This time around, Europe as a whole has gone fully pro rookie this year and SK Gaming have benefitted from this mentality the most.

6. Excel Esports

Another team that is investing money into their local talent, Excel Esports have made smart and fiscally responsible signings this offseason that have benefitted them more than any big name veteran could. Signing Dan from Fnatic Rising is a huge coup for the former Head Coach of Fnatic (now Excel Head Coach) YoungBuck. Dan is a Fnatic Academy prospect that has shown great promise within the amateur scene for the past couple of years. His short stint with the Fnatic main roster was short-lived and uneventful, but his new surroundings at Excel Esports will do plenty to accentuate him as an English esports professional.

Furthermore, Czekolad is another promising addition who was one of the focal points of his polish amateur team dominating the region last year. The positive aspects of Excel Esports all have to do with the extracurricular as they are adding to all the forward momentum of last season without adding players that could degrade their success. Retaining the services of Patrik and Tore this offseason will be crucial to their long-term success. Now, the pieces are in place for Excel to compete for playoff spots with a legitimate threat at each side of the map.

5. Schalke 04

Schalke 04 was one of the greatest (and worst) esports stories of 2020 after their phoenix-like revival during a trainwreck season. Despite losing their most steady player to Rogue, supplementing his loss with the addition of BrokenBlade is a proactive signing that shows their national allegiance and confidence in a player who showed promise in TSM. Pairing him with an enigmatic personality like Gilius will do plenty for team morale and confidence for a team who was hindered by their own growth at their lowest points last season.

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@S04Esports

If Schalke 04 continue on this path, they have the capabilities of securing regular playoff spots with solid B+ lanes in each role. However, consistency will play a factor in a stop-and-go season that is subject to change the LEC Power Rankings. Both BrokenBlade and Abbedagge don’t necessarily have champ pools that are unbannable, and if they start to become too narrow-focused with their win conditions, they could run into problems against steadier opponents.

4. MAD Lions

While MAD Lions seemed to lose steam towards the tail end of the season, there’s no denying their run of form for a few months in Summer that made them hot commodities within the region. Humanoid, Kaiser, and Carzzy are a promising trident that have shown they have the winning mentality. Elyoya and Armut are interesting and cost-efficient additions to the team that have a lot of upside.

Armut of course enjoyed a breakout 2020 Worlds performance that saw him decimate the former MAD Lions top laner so hard that the staff had no other choice but to offer him a job. Despite that rise in stock, there are still a few question marks about his overall play week-to-week as he was always considered a close rival to that of BrokenBlade but wasn’t necessarily impressive enough to overtake him for international positions. Elyoya’s addition to the team comes on nationalistic intrigue as he was a heavily scouted Spanish jungler who enjoyed regional success last year and the year prior within the circuit.

3. Rogue

While Rogue haven’t done enough to pip them over the likes of Fnatic and G2 Esports at this very moment, Rogue have almost undoubtedly locked in a place for themselves at Worlds just off the signing of Odoamne alone. Odoamne has long been one of the most overlooked talents in Europe for years. His performances across multiple championship contending rosters shows his ability to compete over different eras, and this might just be his best chance for success thus far as a member of Rogue. Odoamne is the kind of signing that puts you above the rest in the LEC rankings, but LEC isn’t an average league that can be won off great signings alone.

The deadly duo of Inspired and Larssen showed off a depth of skill over their performances during Summer 2020 and the World Championship. Continuing on that success and adding an experienced veteran like Odoamne who will give them stability and strength in 50-50 scenarios will do wonders for their confidence. To overcome the next hurdle and position themselves higher than Fnatic or G2 though, will require a great degree of concentration and cohesion that they have yet to achieve.

2. Fnatic

Fnatic remain at the penultimate spot for the LEC Power Rankings 2021 due to their front office changes more so than their player acquisitions this season. YamatoCannon has had plenty of success within the LEC, but has yet to come across a roster with this much budding talent ready to be unlocked and now he finds himself with an onus to succeed as Upset and Nisqy are thrown into the fold.

Nisqy has shown his ability to succeed in multiple regions and in different scenarios for each team he has competed with. For Fnatic, his role as a Mid lane carry will be tested harder than any other year due to the level of talent surrounding him. Selfmade and Hylissang are some of the greatest enablers to exist right now in the region, and his selfless playstyle alongside Upset’s mechanical ability in late game fights will make them a force to be reckoned with no matter the opponent.

1. G2 Esports

No surprises here. G2 Esports find themselves at the top of LEC Power Rankings 2021 due to their ruthless movement in the transfer market that saw them sign Rekkles on a free transfer from their biggest rival. Rekkles alone fixes a lot of the consistency issues in the bot lane that G2 Esports were having last season. His ability to always stay even or get ahead in lane will be beneficial to the rest of the map as Jankos can focus on getting Caps and Wunder in a position to win.

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@LEC – Rekkles

Once those conditions are secure, the story will be much of the same for G2 Esports as they look to dominate the scene with even more control and stability than last year, and hopefully the year before that. Once the World Championships roll around, expect G2 Esports to kick it into second gear as Caps, Rekkles and Wunder all have the capabilities to compete with the best players in the world, let alone Europe. As the season progresses, the only constant will be the decimation that G2 leaves in their path.

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