The story of Kanavi
Kanavi has made his name known tho whole world despite drama around Griffin and his contract.
With LEC playing weekends with teams playing three games in the first and last week, teams have the opportunity to breathe for a week in the middle of the regular season. In other words, there are no LEC matches available this week and thus no preview article either. Instead, there’s this mid-season review, where we dive a little deeper into this special and very smooth LEC season. Among the challengers, the season-leading MAD Lions and Rogue hold the top spot and the next seven teams are within one win from each other. It is probably right to call this the most even LEC season ever! More information about the league can be found on the events page.
MAD Lions 7-2
G2 Esports 5-4
Misfits Gaming 5-4
SK Gaming 4-5
Excel Esports 4-5
Team Vitality 4-5
Schalke 04 1-8
The MAD Lions occasionally showed great grips as early as the spring season, but hardly anyone could guess what kind of flight the young lions would get into at the beginning of the summer season. The team’s only losses have come to G2 Esports at the opening of the season and to Misfits Gaming in the match that ended the first half. The winning streak of seven matches, where e.g. Fnatic, Origen and Rogue, who share the top spot, is something that has rarely been seen from young players playing through the second season. Thus, the start of the MAD Lions season could be described as almost complete. The MAD Lions play with their familiar aggressive style, but it has found ways to use this aggressive approach wisely. In particular, jungler Zhiqiang "Shad0w" Zhao and bot laner Matyáš "Carzzy" Orság have made a final breakthrough during the summer. Marek “Humanoid” Brázda, formerly known as a real coin toss player, has also found a great vibe. Sure, Humanoid is still at the very top of the league in death statistics, but on the other hand, the same name can also be found at the top in killing statistics.
Rogue was even slightly below MAD Lions in anticipation, so in that sense, its season has been perhaps an even greater success than the young lions. However, Rogue lost the clearest reading to the MAD Lions in the encounter between the top teams. In addition to this loss, Rogue has only lost to G2 Esports in the second week. If a few names have come to the fore in MAD Lions, then for Rogue it’s more about the whole team playing great together and making each other look better. While Rogue is now at the top of the series, if you ask which of the two top teams is more likely to hold your place as a top-2 team at the end of the regular season then I think the MAD Lions have a much better chance of doing so. Where the MAD Lions have destroyed much of their rivals, Rogue has made more use of the failures and weak moments of others. Nonetheless, Rogue has played much better than anticipated and is starting out in great setups for the second half of the season.
The G2 is third in terms of rankings, but it says little to nothing. The third to ninth places are one win away from each other and this group has all the pre-favorites. The G2 Esports has looked absolutely great at times, but it has also looked absolutely awful at times. Last week, it played with substitute Kristoffer “P1noy” Albao Lund Pedersen as the team’s star player Luka “Perkz” Perković traveled with his family to take a break from stress and mourn his father’s death. Perkz’s challenging situation has certainly affected the team’s performance, but in the name of reality, the other players haven’t performed very evenly either. As is well known from the spring season, the G2's grips have been thrown from one end to the other, but in the spring it also found a great vibe when the settlement matches began. So the same can be expected this season as well.
Misfits Gaming is almost the only team to be in those positions that I anticipated before the start of the season. In addition to G2 Esports, Misfits is the only team to have knocked down MAD Lions, but on the other hand, it lost to all three big pre-favorites. Misfits strengthened for the summer season with Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberub, but from time to time the team has still sought their own direction. When the top lane is the weakest part of the team, it has lived strongly with Fabian “FEBIVEN” Diepstraten. If the team's star player has succeeded in gaining an advantage at mid Lane, then the wins have dropped, but it is probably no coincidence that the losses have come to teams with very strong mid laners. Fortunately for FEBIVEN, however, Iván "Razork" Martín Díaz from the jungle, who made a great breakthrough this year, can be found on the team and thus the table is set for mid Lane's successes. The Misfits have played a really good start to the season, winning the teams it was expected to win and losing to the traditional big clubs.
As I have already mentioned, SK Gaming needs to raise the hand up as a sign of failure. In advance, I placed the team last in the entire league and has been far from this in terms of performance. At the moment, it looks like all nine teams except Schalke are playing a League of Legends worth the playoffs. The rise of SK Gaming to the middle caste is a great thing for the organization, but the fact that Vitality and Excel have also risen in the same group knows the tight struggle for the playoffs. In my books, SK Gaming's player changes are one of the most successful of all time, as one new player and one player role change have lifted the team right off the tail into the playoffs. SK will face Schalke and Vitality at the opening of the second half and these are both almost forced wins. Thus, we can better evaluate SK’s setups after these matches.
I raised a few question marks over Origen in my season advance, but I never would have thought Origen would lose in the first half to MAD Lions, Misfits, Rogue, SK Gaming and Vitality. There is one unifying factor in all of these teams: young and ambitious players. I don’t know if Origen’s experienced crew has languished like the CS players in the organization or what has happened, but the team hasn’t been the same and sometimes it feels like it won’t find any new winds in their game. If Origen doesn’t get some innovation in both the game and the players ’personal accomplishments, being out of the playoffs is a real threat. However, there are e.g. Fnatic. I basically wouldn’t want to pick up any single player when the whole team has played miserably, but I can’t ignore the team’s Australian Mitchell “Destiny” Shaw. Destiny has from time to time made really big individual mistakes and lost outright games through these. Sure, Destiny is great with certain champions and aggressively playing games, but sometimes there’s no idea what to do and there have been problems when it comes to expanding the Champion pool. If the team worked otherwise then these mistakes would also play a smaller role, but when the team’s game is lost then the importance of mistakes is emphasized.
When I saw Excel’s summer lineup, my confidence that even Joey “YoungBuck” Steltenpool would be able to pilot this team in the playoffs was almost non-existent. Sure, Excel still has a way to play in the playoffs, but the very fact that it’s one win away from the playoffs in the middle of the season is in my eyes a success from Excel. In particular, a newcomer from the top lane, Felix "Kryze" Hellström, has hit my eye. Kryze has been able to face the rock hard experienced LEC top laners very well and Kryze has shown a very versatile Champion pool. With the rest of the team taking care of their own plot better than expected, Excel could well fight for the playoffs if Fnatic and Origen continue through the minor wins.
Fnatic started the season quite brilliantly, winning Misfits, Vitality and Excel in the opening week, but then something happened. In the remaining six matches, Fnatic only managed to beat SK Gaming last week and the match didn’t look any clear either. Fnatic has actually underperformed Martin “Rekkles” in all areas except Larsson. Rekkles has been and will be during the rest of the season the straw that can still save the Fnatic season. Sure, the team is just a win away from the playoffs, but their gazes are set to be at the top of the chart and climbing there requires a whole new kind of grip from the whole team. Of particular concern has been Tim “Nemesis” Lipovšek, who is definitely playing through the weakest part of his career. Normally, Nemesis plays steadily with confidence and manages to find small things to win the lane or play a tie with the underdog. Now, however, Nemesis has directly disappeared into his lane and ruined his chances with utterly absurd tactical solutions. Fans ’fingers have pointed greatly in the direction of Zdravets“ Hylissang ”Iliev Galabov, but I wouldn’t be so sure that Hylissang is the biggest problem. Sure, the support player has at times seen incomprehensible errors and large numbers of deaths, but this has always been the case before as Hylissang plays aggressively and seeks opportunities to surprise his opponent. When the team around is able to take advantage of these situations then Hylissang looks like a hero, but when the team team is lost then Hylissang also looks worse than it is. For Fnatic, the break comes in the perfect place and I strongly believe that Fnatic will come back stronger. If that’s not the case, then the Worlds are starting to be surprisingly far away for the team.
Vitality was one of the biggest contenders in terms of the last place teams and even if Vitality is one victory away from the playoffs, I'm disappointed with their performance. Or so Vitality has looked good in individual games, but then in contrast their bad matches have been scary. The team's bot Lane duo (Markos "Comp" Stamkopoulos and Labros "labrov" Papoutsakis) have been a really positive surprise, but on the other hand Aljoša "Milica" Kovandžić, who missed due to visa problems in the spring season, has been a big disappointment. Sure, it’s a newcomer, but unfortunately Milica hasn’t reached pre-jump level. Vitality needs a lot of smoothness in their grips and it can still fight in the playoffs. However, at the moment, if one had to name one of the seven teams that aren’t going to reach the playoffs, that would be Vitality. However, we have to remember that this is a young team and their best years are just coming.
Schalke has been totally miserable. their only win is from Fnatic, which has been completely lost. Most of the academy team has been playing time at LEC when Schalke has been looking for something that would work. In the name of honesty, there may soon be a time when you have to look for help outside the Academy. On the other hand, the playoffs have basically already escaped, so the rest of the season can be used to develop and test players. Schalke have had throughout the season quite a different series than the other teams and I am surprised if it gets more profit figures for the second half of the season stats.
There is a very smooth and exciting end to the season. The gazes are on the G2, Fnatic and Origen, as it is very possible that one of these will not recover in the second half and will thus be left out of the playoffs as the new challengers have looked strong. Of course, the gazes are also on the teams filled with spring newcomers, as it seems very likely that we will see players at the Worlds playing their first season at LEC. Possibly on more than one team. LEC will be back next week and we are once again offering an advance on the opening matches for the second half. Let’s enjoy the summer and the excitement of other leagues this weekend!
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