The LEC playoffs have begun and it was a very spicy weekend for the LEC. We identify and explain our takeaways from the three series’ and recap the games of the past weekend.
LEC starts off with a bang with none of the series being as clear-cut as was thought previously. All three series were fun to watch and it gave a lot of insight into how the LEC playoffs will progress with teams adjusting to the new patch. There are some trends that have developed while some trends remained the same. Thus, we breakdown how Round 1 of the LEC Spring Split Playoffs went in our eyes with some takeaways from all the games. However first, we cover the general takeaways from 1 week of playoff games.
Here we will break down what trends or developments we have seen in all the games played in the LEC this week. Therefore, here are our key takeaways:
1. Hecarim is still the best available jungler
Hecarim has been the top pick at the jungle along with Udyr for quite a while now. All leagues have been gravitating towards these two jungle champions. Despite the nerfs that have come in for Hecarim, he is still at the top of the totem pole. He has been picked or banned in every single game in the LEC and that should not change. In the G2-S04 series, Hecarim played a huge influence in their first 3 games. The adaptation later came in when both teams started banning Hecarim for the rest of the series. Going forward, we will most likely see more bans than picks on the Hecarim and that should be the case given how strong he is right now.
2. Volibear is creeping back into the meta
Volibear is back in the meta as many analysts have said that the bear’s resurgence was due on patch 11.6. The small buffs to the champion coupled with jungle and smite changes have really benefited him to make a comeback to the pro leagues. His kit was already a very good fit for the meta. This is because most of the meta jungle champions are very dive and engage heavy and also have some form of reliable crowd control.
In that regard, Volibear fits right in. Despite the presence of the champion still not high enough, it has found a lot of success in winning games. With many teams moving towards banning Hecarim, Volibear is right there to fill in the void that Hecarim leaves.
3. Orianna is the best blind pick mid lane champion
Orianna has been mentioned as one of the strongest champions in the current patch. The champion was not buffed but rather some indirect buffs in the mage items have propelled her to a very high priority. The Luden’s Tempest changes has made Orianna a much better champion in the mid lane. It also helped her case to rise into priority as Azir was nerfed the previous patch (11.5).
To be fair, Lucian and Twister Fate are right there as well in terms of presence. However, teams are not willing to leave them open as much due to their lane and map playmaking. That has made Orianna’s case ever stronger. Any mid-lane control mage matchup is good for Orianna as long as she does not fall drastically behind. It is going to be very interesting to see if Orianna maintains her dominance over the mid lane or are teams going to put a stop to that.
4. Sion priority might decrease
We all know how Sion has been in the meta. He has been that consistent weak side top lane pick for a while now. What makes him great is that he does not suffer much even if the enemy dives and kills him. Furthermore, his late-game scaling makes him one of the best tanks in the game.
Now the reason we are saying that Sion’s priority may decrease is because of Darius or Urgot. Granted, both of them are niche picks but there are rumblings that Urgot is actually a pretty good top lane champion in this patch. Darius was more of a BrokenBlade special and he proved that it works pretty well against a Sion. Teams may adopt these picks and add Gnar to the list to just keep Sion from scaling too hard and creating a winning top match up against Sion. Hence, we think the priority might lower for Sion if this does happen.
5. Bot lane trend
Barring Rogue’s two games on Senna Cho’gath, the priority champions of the bot lanes seems to vary from team to team. While G2 is perfectly fine playing any combination, other teams have their own tendencies. One of the most apparent ones is the priority on Thresh. Thresh has severely risen to the highest priority given how good Jinx is currently. Also, Thresh has made immobile ADC’s more viable this split so far. Alistar has also been a contested support pick that works very well with a Kai’sa or Xayah. However, the strange development has been the presence dropping on Rell by many teams.
Although, teams like Fnatic should still have high priority on Rell and Alistar. On the other hand, G2 should be fine with any duo bot given they have played a Braum game against S04. On the ADC front, not much to say other than the high presence of Tristana. With Tristana being banned on most games and rightfully so, Kai’sa, Xayah, and Jinx should rise more in priority. However, Jinx’s priority will depend on Thresh’s availability in the draft as well. Kai’sa and Xayah are overall the better options so far. As more games are played, we will keep an eye on whether the bot lane tendencies will change or not.
With many champion changes and early leads meaning a whole lot, the meta is starting to shift. There are some minor other tendencies such as Seraphine in the bot lane which might show up more in the meta. Also, Thresh has been the highest presence support and Alistar is getting a lot of presence as well. Overall, the meta is starting to shift more due to the patches and we expect to see more newer picks as the teams adjust to the new patch.
Now lets move on to talking about the series that we have all watched. Hence lets jump right into it.
Fnatic vs SK Gaming
SK was dubbed as the worst team in the playoffs by us and we definitely underestimated them. They played better than we anticipated, and credit to them for putting up a good fight against FNC. SK deserves a lot of credit for winning Game 2 taking advantage of Fnatic cruising on a 9k gold lead. They competed with Fnatic to the best of their ability and this is a learning experience for them going forward.
On the other hand, Fnatic proved a bit too much for SK overall. In all of the games, it seemed apparent that Fnatic had the upper hand in many situations. The only blemish for Fnatic would be that Game 2 debacle. Fnatic has indeed looked better since the regular season ended. Upset and Hylissang have been more aggressive in the bot lane and have found success in the lane.
There are two big questions regarding Fnatic going forward. One is whether they will improve with every series to be more competitive with better teams. The other is will Hylissang and Bwipo be consistent enough to not throw the games. These two questions are what Fnatic will need to answer in their future playoff games. S04 is going to be a tough opponent and Fnatic will need to be ready for that.
G2 Esports vs Schalke04
This series was one of the most entertaining series in the playoffs so far. Not only because it was a 5 game thriller but also Darius making his pro appearance. That came on the back of G2 showing a lot of Sion priority and Darius seemed to do very well in that match-up. As the series winded down, it was clear that S04 was better than most people expected and G2 was not in good form.
At one point, it looked very dicey for G2. However, Rekkles came through with his Seraphine pick, which in large part got them the Game 5 win. Still, a lot of credit goes to Schalke04 for making it tough on G2. S04 has looked much better and this is a great sign for them in their upcoming matchup.
On S04’s perspective, BrokenBlade played extremely well and LIMIT’s ability to roam and make plays gives them a big boost. Overall, the entirety of S04 stepped up to the challenge and gave G2 more problems than they anticipated. S04 seems to be very good at trying new picks to get an advantage against their opponents. This kind of adaptability bodes well for them going forward. They will face FNC in Round 2 and this is the best chance for S04 to show once more what they are capable of.
G2 on the other hand, has their work cut out for them. They have to be much better going forward. They looked pretty shaky in this series and that should have not been the case. With G2 expected to be the EU powerhouse, they will have to step it up or it might spell trouble for them. Rekkles still performed very well and G2 should get better as they get more games in. Regardless, this series proved why G2 needed Rekkles and why it was the right move for them going forward.
Rogue vs MAD Lions
The storyline after this series ended was that MAD Lions can beat Rogue. Rogue has been MAD’s Achilles Heel since last year. In Summer 2019, the disastrous loss to RGE that led them to be the 4th seed to Worlds and then losing twice in the regular season this split was not a good look for MAD going into this series. However, MAD proved that they are not to be underestimated.
Rogue were huge favorites to win the series with most analysts went either 3-0 or 3-1 in their favor. It was almost a foregone conclusion in many people’s minds that Rogue was going to win. However, they did not expect the Rogue that showed up last week. There were some glaring mistakes that were sort of uncharacteristic from Rogue given their organized style of play.
Losing Game 4 the way they did was not what you expect from Rogue. Apart from Game 2, they did not look as decisive as they should have. Based on that series and other matches they have played, Rogue simply does not look proactive enough and that cost them this series. While MAD improved game after game with their decision-making and execution, Rogue could not adapt to counter that. Game 3 and 4 were very good examples of that. Game 4 should have been an easy close-out for Rogue but they did not accelerate when they should have.
MAD Lions on the other hand were very solid. Game 1 was pretty shaky for them as Larssen got ahead with Azir and kept making plays. However, from Game 2 and onwards, MAD did not look back. Kaiser was simply the best player on the rift in that series and it is not even a debate. His playmaking on Alistar was just a spectacle to watch. Humanoid and Elyoya got progressively better as each game passed as well. Elyoya’s Volibear play was excellent and was one of the biggest factors for their wins in Game 2 and 3.
Even though there are many positives to take away from MAD’s win and many negatives that Rogue needs to work on, it is a very good question as to whether this win was attributed to MAD’s solid plays or Rogue’s inability to be proactive. Nevertheless, Rogue should get better with one more week of practice. Furthermore, watching the S04 and FNC match will give them a better read on their possible opponent. In MAD’s case, even though they played very well, they still need to be the best they can to have a chance to win against G2. Overall, this was a fun series to watch and it just showed that MAD has what it takes to beat Rogue.
So to wrap up the article, the patch is developing with new picks coming in. Also, picks like Orianna have skyrockets to the top of the priority with the new patch. In regards to the games, FNC vs SK was a good series for both teams. One team needed to show improvement and the other needed experience.
G2 and S04 was a thriller of a series that was ultimately won out by Rekkles’s solid play the entire series. MAD vs RGE proved that MAD are capable of being a very good team and RGE has some issues that they need to clear up. Lastly, it was a great week of games and next weekend of games should be even more exciting. LEC continues from Friday and we will have our preview for the games coming later this week.