Following the relegation and promotion tournaments, the summer slate is set across LCS. The coming season of pro League of Legends brings some familiar faces back to the premier level, as well as some almost entirely new, unproven teams.
EU LCS will remain much the same as it ever was, since both ROCCAT and Giants Gaming successfully defended their LCS positions in their relegation matches. That seems only right given how hotly-contested Europe usually is, where even the lowest-ranked teams tend to be separated from their betters by a handful of games.
The big new arrival in Europe, of course, didn’t come through promotions at all, but qualified by winning the Challenger Series: Enrique “xPeke” Cedeño Martínez is back in LCS with his new team, Origen, alongside his longstanding Fnatic partner Paul “sOAZ” Boyer. They’re also joined by Maurice “Amazing” Stückenschneider, who was a superb jungler with TSM and Copenhagen Wolves prior to joining up with xPeke’s team.
Origen’s prospects are hard to gauge, though the roster certainly has a lot to boast about. But the politics of their arrival in EU LCS are fascinating. Origen is the other descendant of the Fnatic diaspora, and it was xPeke as much as Elements’ Rekkles who brought an end to the era of classic Fnatic League of Legends. Will Origen have more success than Rekkles found with the troubled Elements team, or will it be yet another case where Fnatic pays back its old players on the Rift?
The saga of Elements’ troubled year just took another turn as Mitch “Krepo” Voorspoels announced his retirement from competitive play. Admitting that he’s no longer having fun with the game, Krepo is leaving the team to pursue a career in casting (which is not a surprise, given how extensively his expertise was put to use during LCS broadcasts). It might be the right move for Voorspoels, but it removes someone who seemed to be a stabilizing influence on the Elements team. Their road back to championship contention seems to have just gotten harder.
Over in NA LCS, however, things have changed drastically. The Winterfox team lost to Team Dragon Knights, who are led by none other than Alex Ich. The player who practically defined Moscow 5 / Gambit is now an NA LCS player. It’s going to be a constant source of cognitive dissonance for old LCS fans this season.
Dignitas fended off a challenge from Team Fusion, who seem cursed to always be good enough to compete in LCS, but never quite able to qualify for it.
The wildest card in LCS this season, however, seems to be Enemy eSports. They don’t have a lot of LCS experience (Innox, their mid laner, did play for the under-performing Evil Geniuses team for some time), but they were terrific in Challenger this past season and dominant in the playoffs. Their arrival, replacing last split’s hapless Coast team, should make for a much more competitive NA LCS table.