The League of Legends European Championship (LEC) 2020 Summer season has only three weeks of play left. This season has been unexpectedly close with only one or two wins separating the top from the bottom. As the playoffs draw near, the teams must give their all for their remaining seven matches.
SK Gaming vs Excel Esports
SK Gaming are among the trio of teams tied for third at 6-5. Of the three, SK are the least likely to hold onto their spot. The German organization is defined by star bot laner Juš “Crownshot” Marušič, who can take over games and lead the squad to victory.
Other than Crownshot, SK is somewhat lacking in superstar firepower and doesn't have someone who can pull out the big plays at critical moments. Their most recent victory over Schalke 04 also shows that SK has shot-calling difficulties when closing out games, even with a massive lead.
One of two teams tied for eighth, Excel Esports at 4-7 has issues converting through any of its primary laners. Bot laner Patrik “Patrik” Jírů has not demonstrated the heights he showed in his breakout 2019 Spring season. Excel top laner Felix “Kryze” Hellström has potential but has yet to realize it on the stage. The player who must improve the most if Excel is to make playoffs is mid-laner Joran “Special” Scheffer.
SK are the favorites to win this match-up. With much stabler players to hold down the lanes, SK can focus on punishing the underperforming Special to unlock mid priority and thus the map. The First Blood and First Tower should all go in SK’s favor. Given the priority SK has shown on drafting Ezreal for Crownshot, their losing bot lane may force them to concede the First Dragon to Excel. Otherwise, though, the game should be wholly in SK’s control.
Origen vs Team Vitality
Origen (OG) is the second team tied for third at 6-5, but have a much more convincing claim to the spot. Widely known as the slowest team in the LEC, OG proves that slow and steady is always a viable playstyle. OG has a sturdy, reliable roster save for one position: the support role. The addition of Jakub “Jactroll” Skurzyński as starter proved fruitful this past weekend as it unlocked more champions than Mitchell “Destiny” Shaw (who overly depended on Nautilus), but Jactroll has a history of underperforming and costing his team. Time will tell if this swap improves the squad long-term.
Tied eighth at 4-7, Team Vitality is in a difficult position. They upset OG in their previous clash in week 4, but still, look shaky. Though not without upset potential, Vitality is still messy and relies as much on opponent mistakes as they do their own teamwork. Star performances are required from top laner Lucas “Cabochard” Simon-Meslet and bot laner Markos “Comp” Stamkopoulos if Vitality hopes to secure wins moving forward.
This game should go to OG, barring some extremely poor drafting. OG’s passivity makes determining early objective control uncertain. In all likelihood, OG will get the First Tower and First Dragon through superior Rift Herald control and better bot lane respectively, but First Blood can go either way.
G2 Esports vs Schalke 04
The defending three-time LEC champions are struggling in Summer. Currently tied sixth at 5-6, G2 Esports is only barely within the cutoff for playoffs. The role swap that returned Rasmus “Caps” Winther and Luka “Perkz” Perković to the mid and bot lanes respectively has not replicated their 2019 success. The team looks increasingly vulnerable without the flair from their previous seasons. In spite of the shockingly underwhelming losses, G2 Esports will always be a favorite to turn it around and win the LEC because of the sheer talent on the team.
Meanwhile, Schalke 04 are all but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. Currently, in tenth place with a 1-10 record, Schalke seems lost. Other than top laner Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu, the roster simply seems too weak to compete. Schalke are better served testing players to see who they keep moving forward.
G2 are the heavy favorites. The defending champions should secure First Blood, First Dragon, and First Tower by the 15-minute mark. The game should be over before 30 minutes.
Misfits Gaming vs Rogue
Tied sixth at 5-6, Misfits Gaming just barely sits outside the playoffs cutoff. Misfits boasts a mostly solid roster with the biggest question mark around the support position: neither Petr “denyk” Haramach nor Mads “Doss” Schwartz has been convincing as the Misfits starter. For Misfits to start earning victories and secure a playoff position, the team must better bolster bot-laner Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup.
Rogue is shockingly tied for first place at 9-2. Performing better than most could have expected, it is unlikely that Rogue can hold onto that spot but they should still make playoffs with their current form. With a strong roster at all positions, the standout is Emil “Larssen” Larsson in the mid lane.
Rogue should win this game without much difficulty. As it stands, Rogue’s players are simply performing better both individually and as a team. In particular, the difference in mid laners is stark and will likely define the game. Expect all three early benchmarks to go Rogue’s way.
Week 6 Day 1 of the LEC takes place on Friday, 24 July. The matches begin at 6 p.m. CET with SK Gaming vs Excel Esports. The broadcast is available on YouTube and Twitch. Dedicated fans can liven up their viewing experience by participating in esports betting on Thunderpick.
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