The LEC (League of Legends European Championship) is a major LoL esports competition in Europe. It was created by Riot Games in 2013 with the intention of becoming a battlefield for some of the best teams in the region. The league is known for its unorthodox strategies and mechanically gifted players, making it a consistent title contender at international tournaments.
LEC Live Stream
LEC Regular Season
Each LEC season is divided into Spring Split and Summer Splits. Every split has 10 teams competing with each other over the course of 9 weeks. The competition is conducted in a Double Round Robin format, meaning that every team plays two best-of-ones (or single-game matches) against every opponent.
When the regular season comes to an end, six teams with the best record qualify for the LEC playoffs. There, they clash in nail-biting best-of-five series, and the first team to win three games advances to the next playoffs round. The change in format is particularly important since longer series are perfect for eliminating the variance and ensuring that the strongest lineups climb to the top.
The top-2 teams from the regular season secure byes to the Semifinals. Meanwhile, the other four have to play through the Quarterfinals to challenge them. All playoffs contenders are awarded Championship Points that are necessary for qualifying for the League of Legends World Championship. The league’s winner gets the most points, and the fifth/sixth-place teams receive the least.
The Spring Split winner gets a seed in the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI), a massive international competition that takes place during the downtime period between the splits. The Summer Split winner and two teams with the most Championship Points receive an invitation to the prestigious League of Legends World Championship (aka Worlds). Most lineups use the Spring Split to hone their teamwork and develop their playstyle. However, the competition really reaches its peak in summer since every LoL player dreams of qualifying for the World Championship and raising the Worlds trophy.
LEC Champions: Fnatic, Alliance, and G2
The early days of the LEC belonged to Fnatic. Holding the most LEC trophies out of all European organization, this team established itself as a powerful force in the region. And while Fnatic’s winning streak was interrupted by Alliance in the 2014 Summer Split, no one actually managed to overshadow it.
But one team came close.
In 2016, G2 Esports qualified for the LEC and proceeded to win four splits in a row. The feat itself and the one-sided manner in which they accomplished it earned G2 the nickname of “The Kings of Europe”, and they still tower above most European teams. With that, it’s not exactly surprising that Fnatic and G2 Esports are constantly clashing with each other for the right of standing at the top of their region.
LEC at Worlds and MSI
The LEC teams enjoy varying levels of success at international tournaments. In fact, the first League of Legends World Championship was won by Fnatic after they defeated—Against All Authority—in the finals. That was a different time, though, as the overwhelmingly powerful Korean teams haven’t entered the scene yet.
Still, even as competition grew stiffer, Europe kept showing up. The 2013 World Championship had two European teams—Moscow Five and CLG EU—going all the way to the Semifinals. In 2014, all three LEC teams failed to make it out of the group stage, but Europe managed to redeem itself next year when Fnatic and Origen made it to the Semifinals.
The 2016 World Championship once again saw an LEC team—H2K Gaming—reaching the semis. And while Europe couldn’t quite live up to its own standards in 2017, both Misfits and Fnatic made it out of groups to display a high level of play in the Quarterfinals. In 2018, Europe was inches away from winning claiming the World Championship trophy, as Fnatic breezed to the finals before falling prey to the Chinese Invictus Gaming.
A similar trend can be observed at the Mid-Season Invitational. The 2015 MSI had Fnatic passing the group stage before falling short in a close series against the Korean powerhouse SK Telecom T1 (SKT T1). And while the 2016 MSI ended with a disappointing showing by G2 Esports, the Kings of Europe struck back in 2017, going all the way to the finals before losing to SKT T1.
2018 didn’t go Europe’s way either, as it saw Fnatic barely making the Semifinals only to crumble in face of the Chinese Royal Never Give Up. However, 2019 was a huge success story for the region since G2 Esports tore through the competition to lift Europe’s fist-ever MSI trophy.
Why watch the LEC?
At its core, League of Legends is all about the players. And few competitions show player skill better than the LEC. Europe has one of the largest talent pools in the world, meaning that new names are constantly challenging the veterans. And even though the LEC teams aren’t as organized as their counterparts from the LCK or LPL, they make up for it with their willingness to experiment and take risks.