League of Legends LEC Spring 2021 Betting Preview and Predictions
The League of Legends European Championship (LEC) returns on Friday, 22 with the opening fixtures of the 2021 LEC Spring, when we will get a glimpse of what is to come this season. The offseason was quite turbulent to say the least, as there is not one team that is running it back from last year.
Regardless of all the roster changes, we don’t expect any major shifts at the top of the league, where G2 Esports reside as the biggest favourites to hoist their ninth LEC title. That said, there is definitely a world where one of the underdogs has a breakout year and challenges the LEC’s top dogs for the title. Who that might be we will explore in our LEC 2021 Spring season preview.
Astralis took the meaning of “new year new me” to a whole another level and enter the 2021 LEC with a new name and a fresh roster. The only player that kept his spot on the team from last season is Erlend “nukeduck” Våtevik, who will team up with four rookies from EU Masters.
We must give Astralis some props for taking a shot with unknown talent and while moves like that sometimes bear fruit, it’s hard to be overly excited about this team and their chances to impress this season. Their decision to keep Nukeduck is not exactly something we expected to see since he was far from one of the best players at Origen, however, it’s worth noting that 2020 was his worst season in an otherwise very successful LoL career, so there is a chance 2021 will be his redemption year.
Looking at the roster as a whole, many people tend to overvalue Astralis’ bottom lane which features Mikael “promisq” Abrahamsson and Jesper “Jeskla” Klarin, who were very successful during their time at mousesports, but we have to consider the team was essentially carried by Adam “LIDER” Ilyasov. We don’t expect Astralis’ bottom lane to be one of the best in the league, and there is definitely a world where they aren’t the worst.
Outside of that Nikolay “Zanzarah” Akatov is an exciting prospect since he has been around the professional scene for a while and has finally received hic chance to prove himself in the LEC. I am not too excited about Matti “WhiteKnight” Sormunen, however, since he wasn’t exactly impressive the first time nor was he very good in the development leagues.
Astralis have potential but we don’t expect them to shine. They will definitely be better than many people believe and will be worth considering betting on early into the season, but seeing them come even close to playoffs will be a huge surprise.
Out: Barney “Alphari” Morris (top), Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir (jungle), Ian Elias “Upset” Lipp (ADC), Jakub “Jactroll” Skurzyński (support), Mitchell “Destiny” Shaw (support)
In: Matti “WhiteKnight” Sormunen (top), Nikolay “Zanzarah” Akatov (jungle), Jesper “Jeskla” Klarin Strömberg (ADC), Hampus Mikael “promisq” Abrahamsson (support)
It’s difficult to understand what Misfits Gaming were thinking with these roster changes and it seems like they have decided to step away from a roster that could do “fine” in favour of a high-risk-high reward squad. Retaining the talented duo in Iván “Razork” Martín Díaz and Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup makes a lot of sense especially when pairing them with rookie players.
Tobiasz “Agresivoo” Ciba, Vincent “Vetheo” Berrié, and Shin “HiRit” Tae-min are all new additions, who seem like a bunch of promising prospects, but as of now, that’s all they are. This essentially means that when valuing Misfits, it all comes down to our perception of how will the veteran figures perform and how quickly can young talent develop.
We expect Vander to continue performing well as a support, but we are a bit sceptical about Kobbe. He was (once) regarded as one of the best ADCs in Europe, but he is definitely not at the “elite level”.
On the topic of supports, keeping Petr “denyk” Haramach and not adding Vander would work just fine, since denyk had a solid season in 2020 and we would even go so far to say that Misfits played much better when he was the starting support over Doss. Then again, it may not be so bad to have some flexibility on the team and the ability to make changes on the fly.
If Razork and Kobbe step up, I might be looking back at this ranking asking myself why I had Misfits so low, but until they show some improvement, having them towards the bottom of our rankings seems about fair.
Out: Danny “Dan Dan” Le Comte (top), Fabian “FEBIVEN” Diepstraten (mid), Mads “Doss” Schwartz (support)
In: Tobiasz “Agresivoo” Ciba (top), Shin “HiRit” Tae-min (top), Vincent “Vetheo” Berrié (mid), Oskar “Vander” Bogdan (support)
Moving up to our no.7 team, we have SK Gaming, who were no strangers to some questionable moves during the offseason. The biggest one being the departure of Juš “Crownshot” Marušič in favour of Jean “Jezu” Massol.
Although there is a world where Jezu can step in Crownshot’s shoes, it would make much more sense for SK to keep a hold of their biggest asset for another season. However, it seems like they have decided to try something fresh with talented rookie players, which may not seem like a poor move on their part. but I can’t stand behind their decision.
There are, however, some positives to say about SK.
Janik “Jenax” Bartels had a great debut season with the team and we expect him to continue developing. Their new jungler TynX is another promising prospect who has proven he has the potential, although there are some question marks about his champions pool – nothing that can’t be fixed with time though.
Most of the spotlight, however, will be on SK’s new mid laner Ersin “Blue” Gören, who has spent the last two years in Turkey, where he has established himself as the (by far) best player in the league with a massive champions pool. Support Erik “Treatz” Wessén while not a rookie in a true meaning of the world is another great addition to SK, namely due to his experience in playing at the top level and his deep champions pool.
I have to admit, SK are perhaps one of the most unpredictable team on our list, and while I don’t believe SK will be a bad team, there are way too many questions to answer in terms of just how good they can become. Development of their players will be crucial, but considering how stacked LEC is this season, I have to rank them here.
Out: Kim “Trick” Gang-yun (jungle), Dirk “ZaZee” Mallner (mid), Juš “Crownshot” Marušič (ADC) Dino “LIMIT” Tot (support)
In: Kristian “TynX” Østergaard (jungle), Ersin “Blue” Gören (mid), Jean “Jezu” Massol (ADC), Erik “Treatz” Wessén (support)
Ever since Excel entered the LEC, their main goal was to make it into the playoffs and from the looks of it, the 2021 LEC spring just might be their best shot at achieving that feat. Many factors helped us come to that conclusion, however, the biggest one is Paweł “Czekolad” Szczepanik, who is one of the most hyped-up rookies entering the LEC.
The 20-year-old Polish pro has had an excellent season with AGO ROGUE, where he has won numerous titles, including the EU Masters 2020 Summer. It remains to be seen how will he fare in the LEC, but based on what he has shown, Czekolad is more than ready to take this step.
Outside of acquiring Czekolad, Excel kept most of their roster intact which is not a bad move, even though Excel had to settle for a seventh-place finish in both Spring and Summer splits. Patrik “Patrik” Jírů was easily one of the best ADC players in the league last split and that is without making it into the playoffs, and much of the same can be said for his support Tore “Tore” Hoel Eilertsen, making Excel’s bottom lane the most underrated in the league.
Top laner Felix “Kryze” Hellström might seem like the weakest link in the team, but even he has shown immense progress last season, and will at least be serviceable so it’s not like Excel will struggle because of him.
At the end of the day, as long as Excel replaced their jungle and mid lane they should see more success this split. Although we have Excel placed fairly low on our rankings, do not read too much into where the team is positioned in this article.
Excel aren’t one of the elite teams, but they have an excellent coaching staff and players who can develop into star player. We would go even so far to say that if everything falls into place for them, Excel might even win the split, making them an interesting longshot bet at 67.00. Of course, there is still G2 Esports that Excel will need to overcome to achieve that feat, but we will touch on that later on.
Out: Joran “Special” Scheffer (mid), Marc Robert “Caedrel” Lamont (jungle)
In: Daniel “Dan” Hockley (jungle), Paweł “Czekolad” Szczepanik (mid)
You might be asking yourself why aren’t Vitality ranked much lower and how did we come to a conclusion that Vitality are in fact a proper playoffs contenders considering their poor results in the 2020 season and the answer is quite simple – Vitality played much better than what their final record showed. We must also consider that Aljoša “Milica” Kovandžić was not able to play with his team for the majority of the season and has proven to be an immediate upgrade once he appeared on the Rift, so it’s fair to expect better results from Vitality now that Milica will have a chance to play with them from start to finish.
Vitality have also picked up arguably the best top laner from EU Masters in Mathias “Szygenda” Jensen and while Lucas “Cabochard” Simon-Meslet won’t be easy to replace, Szygenda is still the best replacement Vitality could have gotten. Outside of replacing their top laner, Vitality kept their roster intact which we don’t have anything bad to say against.
Building on the foundation Vitality have established in 2020 is a good move in our book, but it remains to be seen whether their flashes of greatness were really nothing more than that or does this team have the potential to develop further and cause some damage at the top of the table.
Out: Lucas “Cabochard” Simon-Meslet (top), Cantoursna “Nji” An (jungle)
In: Mathias “Szygenda” Jensen (top)
Schalke 04 enter the 2021 season as one of the most interesting teams in the LEC, and not necessarily because we expect them to produce another miracle run, but rather because we are excited to see what this squad is capable of when they don’t start the season with a 1-10 record.
Their miracle run in 2020, which saw Schalke go from 1-10 to missing a ticket for LoL World Championship by a single best-of was a great indication of what this squad is capable of and we believe we will see much more of that in 2021. Although Schalke made a couple of changes during the offseason, replacing Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu with Sergen “Broken Blade” Çelik is not really a downgrade but rather a sidegrade, whereas acquiring Dino “LIMIT” Tot as a replacement for Han “Dreams” Min-kook is definitely an upgrade.
Outside of those changes, Schalke 04 kept its core intact and we don’t see any problems with that. Mid Felix “Abbedagge” Braun has shown incredible potential and as long as he can continue developing at the same pace, there is a world where he emerges as one of the best mid laners in the league.
ADC Matúš “Neon” Jakubčík is another player that has some more room to grow and while he is not your typical carry player, he is still very consistent and is a least not a liability to his team. The biggest question mark we have is above jungler Erberk “Gilius” Demir, who has had an exceptional season in Summer, but he is also the kind of a player that can have a great split but completely fall apart the next.
Schalke 04’s success will come down to Gilius and whether he can show the same form he did in 2020. If he manages to do so, Schalke are easily a top-four team and perhaps even a top-three team in the league. Their explosive and talent-stacked lineup should do just fine this split and while the ceiling is high, consistency could be an issue.
Schalke can be a fun bet to take at 34.00 to win the Split, granted a lot will have to go right for them to achieve that feat.
Out: Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu (top), Han “Dreams” Min-kook (support)
In: Sergen “Broken Blade” Çelik (top), Dino “LIMIT” Tot (support)
There are arguments to be made MAD Lions should sit behind Schalke 04, and perhaps that would be the better choice, but for now, we have MAD Lions in our no.4 place.
People seem to be on the all-time low about MAD Lions following their disastrous run at the LoL World Championship, but many seem to forget what a run this had had throughout the LEC season. A fourth-place finish in Spring, third place in Spring playoffs, runner-up finish in Summer and a fourth-place finish in Summer playoffs. All that with mostly rookie players.
MAD Lions field two new faces for the 2021 season in Berk “Armut” Tükek and Javier “Elyoya” Prades, who will replace Andrei “Orome” Popa and Zhiqiang “Shad0w” Zhao. Parting ways with Shad0w is something many people can’t quite agree with since he was one of the best junglers in the Summer Split, however, we view Elyoya as a sidegrade at worst, largely because he is a more versatile player.
Armut comes off as an upgrade to the team and if his performances at Worlds are any indication, MAD Lions will be a very scary team in 2021. His ability to play both tank and carry top laners makes Armut a very versatile and exciting player to follow even though he hails from the Turkish league – which is not nearly as bad as many believe.
Even though MAD Lions field a team that could achieve success this season, we expect them to have a slow start. Changing two players and a head coach (Peter “Peter Dun” Dun – left for Evil Geniuses) will likely result in a period of instability from the get-go but things will likely stabilise towards the end of the split.
This is also one of the main reasons why we could have ranked MAD Lions below Schalke, but in the long run, MAD should be even so slightly stronger than the German squad. MAD could even challenge the title once more, but since the competition in the middle of the table is incredibly tough, they’re not worth a bet at this price.
Out: Andrei “Orome” Popa (top), Zhiqiang “Shad0w” Zhao (jungle)
In: İrfan Berk “Armut” Tükek (top), Javier “Elyoya” Prades (jungle)
Like MAD Lions, Rogue parted ways with two of their members in support Oskar “Vander” Bogdan and top laner Finn “Finn” Wiestål, who got replaced by Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu and Adrian “Trymbi” Trybus respectively.
Those changes make a lot of sense, especially in the top lane, where Rogue fixed their biggest weakness that prevented them from contesting the title last year. Having said that, we don’t see Odoamne as a huge upgrade for Finn – who was somewhat underappreciated last season – but an upgrade nonetheless.
On the other side of the Rift, Rogue feature another new addition in Trymbi, who arrives at the team after spending the last five months at AGO ROGUE. The young Polish player is one of the best supports Rogue could have picked up from the development league and while we don’t expect him to emerge as one of the best in the league in his debut, Trymbi should at least be a quality starter.
The there are the usual suspects in Kacper “Inspired” Słoma and Emil “Larssen” Larsson, who both had an excellent season and I wouldn’t be surprise if they establish themselves as one of the best mid-jungle duos in the league. We expect great things from Rogue and would go even so far to say that if everything falls into place for them, Rogue can easily reach the grand finals of the LEC Spring. At 2.75, however, the odds are not enough for us to consider this bet.
In: Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu (top), Adrian “Trymbi” Trybus (support)
Out: Finn “Finn” Wiestål (top), Oskar “Vander” Bogdan (support)
Many people would say Fnatic lost the offseason by parting ways with Martin “Rekkles” Larsson and Tim “Nemesis” Lipovšek, who got replaced by Elias “Upset” Lipp and Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer. However, we don’t agree with that and would go even so far to say that this team does not look all that bad – and even that is an understatement.
There are some questions about Nisqy, largely because how things ended at Cloud9, but he is still an excellent player, who fits in perfectly with Fnatic’s playstyle. The second question is, of course, Upset and whether he will manage to step in Rekkles’ shoes.
Although we would be hard-pressed to rank Upset higher than the Swedish ADC superstar, he is – like Nisqy – an excellent player who is now put in a position where he has to prove he is better than how many people believe. This is also his best opportunity to do so as he is now not only playing alongside one of the best supports in the LEC in Zdravets “Hylissang” Iliev Galabov but is also in arguably the best team we have ever seen him on.
And it’s not only the quality of players on Fnatic that make us excited about this team, but also the changes in coaching staff. Yamato, while not my favourite type of person has had a lot of success in all the teams he has coached, so he must be doing something right. What’s more, Fnatic have acquired Tolki as their analyst and assistant coach, who has done wonders during his time with T1 and I expect him to help elevate Fnatic to a new level.
Outside of the new signings, Fnatic’s success this season will come down to whether Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek can continue showing the same performances he has in 2020 and how will he gel with Nisqy, even though we are not too concerned with that since the two seem to have same style of play. Last but not least, we have to touch Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau, who is a somewhat up-and-down player, but in the greater picture, he is still one of the best top laners in the league.
Some people might not agree with me, but I believe the 2021 Fnatic is better than last season. There might be some question marks about the new signings, and many fans seem to be down on their team after the departure or Rekkles but it’s not like Upset is a massive downgrade and I would even say that Nisqy is a much better player than Nemesis was.
This is a team that can compete for the title and at 5.00, they’re definitely worth a bet. The market seems to treat this season like G2 have already won it and while they have an incredibly stacked roster, they’re not that much different than Fnatic.
In: Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer (mid), Elias “Upset” Lipp (ADC)
Out: Tim “Nemesis” Lipovšek (mid), Martin “Rekkles” Larsson (ADC)
Prediction: Fnatic to win the LCS Spring Split, 5.00 at Bet365
G2 Esports have acquired the best possible replacement for Luka “Perkz” Perković by signing one of the best European players of all time in Martin “Rekkles” Larsson as their new ADC. And while G2 have acquired a better ADC player, they have also lost their in-game leader which is not exactly a position Rekkles can take over.
This begs the question of who will take over for Perkz as G2’s new shot-caller and how will this change affect the team.
Additionally, G2 always seemed like a “family” with an incredible synergy that allowed them to fight as one. This was also one of their biggest strength that separated them from other top dogs in the league. So what happens when you disrupt that and introduce something completely new for the first time since… well since G2 rose to prominence as the best EU team?
Regardless of all the concerns, G2 are still the strongest team in the league simply due to the raw quality of player they possess. Fielding the best players in the league will ultimately result in a very successful season and eventually the title, but we can’t simply ignore the potential problems G2 will have to face – at least early into the season.
G2 deserve to be priced as the favourites to win the title, but not at these odds. Even last season, it was clear they were struggling and had to claw their way through the lower bracket to win the title. There is a chance everything works for G2 and they stomp the league, but one bad series in the playoffs is enough for them to crash out.
In: Martin “Rekkles” Larsson
Out: Luka “Perkz” Perković
Prediction: The Field (vs G2) to win the Spring Split, 3.25 at Bet365