The European League of Legends Scene has been one hell of a rollercoaster throughout the 2022 LEC Summer split, with multiple top teams battling at the top of the league standings and a handful of underdogs brawling for the final spot in the upcoming playoffs.
There are only three games left, but there are still three teams left tied in sixth place. Their season will depend on every single decision moving forward, from drafting to in-game strategies. Each game will mean the difference between a chance at a miracle run for the ages or sitting at home with no one to blame but themselves.
Whether you're a Fnatic fan looking for a reason to smile, an Astralis fan who is secretly just a Jeonghoon fan, or a fan of general chaos, the LEC will be sure to bring plenty of laughs, tears, and cheers heading into the playoffs
Here are the most exciting storylines going into the LEC superweek.
Holding on by a Hylissang
When Fnatic started off their 2022 campaign, fans and analysts pinned them as a surefire top three team from the start of the year up to the 2022 World Championship. It made sense—they had some of the best players in the region making up what should have been an easy championship contender.
But all of those expectations could only be proven successful on paper. It was easy to add up the All-Pro nominations, playoff appearances, and the championships on this roster and think, "Winner."
But after dropping out of the 2022 LEC Spring Playoffs unceremoniously at the hands of G2 Esports, they now sit on the cusp of missing the postseason entirely.
The entire team has struggled to find consistency with their play throughout the multiple stages of games. As a squad, the team is middle of the pack when it comes to first tower rate, turret plates destroyed per game, dragon control rate, and baron control rate, according to Oracle's Elixir. For a team heralded as a championship contender, these numbers—on top of their disappointing average gold difference of 83 at 15 minutes—are not good enough, and is a worrying trend for fans.
Fnatic plays mainly through their supercharged bot duo Upset and Hylissang, but unfortunately, the duo hasn't been nearly as reliable as seasons prior. For example, Hylissang leads the league with 53 deaths, but many have been unforced errors and mistimed engages that have left people scratching their heads.
He isn't the only weak point on the team, though. Stars like Humanoid and Razork have not lived up to expectations and have looked lackadaisical at times with decisions. Fnatic have only won two games in the second half of Summer, and for them to squeak into playoffs, it'll take a massive turn-around against three of the hottest teams in the LEC: Astralis, Team Vitality, and red-hot Misfits gaming.
A miracle is needed, but a reality check might be in store instead.
Jeonghoon against the World
One of the most pleasantly surprising stories of the summer is the rise of Astralis' Korean rookie support, Jeonghoon. Not only has he revitalized the team and their chances of their first playoff appearance, he has also won the hearts of European league fans with his happy demeanor and enthusiasm for the game.
After every victory, the 22-year-old would jump out of his chair and celebrate with his teammates, with a big smile on his face.
At the same time, he continues to wow the audience with big-time plays on a plethora of explosive league champions, including Rakan, Bard, Tahm Kench, and Pyke.
He's willing to die for the win, and isn't scared to kick off a fight if he sees an angle. He might need to learn to rein in his aggression from time to time, but that's much easier to teach compared to forcing a timid player to go in.
With his Rookie of the Year candidacy blooming, Astralis has also found the most success they've had since joining the league. It also helps that their jungler Xerxe is having a brilliant season so far, leading his role in KDA, kill participation percentage, average damage to champions per minute, and has some of the best early game stats of any LEC jungler, according to Oracle's Elixir.
Whether they make a crazy run through the playoffs or get bounced early, the fact remains the league has gained another underdog squad to cheer for.
About that four-way tie…
Most of the LEC's top teams have looked anything but consistent heading into the playoffs, which is both equal parts exciting and worrisome for European league fans. The situation is pretty exhilarating because there aren't any major favorites to win the championship. Multiple strong rosters have shown extremely high highs and shockingly low lows during the summer, causing a frantic scramble for a decent seed.
For example, at the end of week four, Rogue was the undisputed best team in Europe. But as soon as the second round robin began, they fell from grace like an anvil in a Looney Tunes show. Over the last three weeks, they only won two games with losses against SK Gaming, Astralis, G2, and Misfits.
Vitality, on the other hand, had the opposite path by ending the first half of the split with a lukewarm 5-4 record. With a roster featuring some of the league's most iconic players like Perkz, Alphari, and Carzzy, many people expected this team to sweep through the competition, but instead they stumbled out of the gate. With the bar now set at a new low for “the biggest LEC roster ever seen,” the team has finally started to show signs of life by winning four of their last six games.
misfits gaming and G2 Esports are two of the hottest teams in the league, with the former on a four-game winning streak, and latter having only lost two games through the last three weeks.
Even still, we've seen these two teams stumble on the path to playoffs as well, throwing everyone's predictions in the air.
As a result, this last weekend will be instrumental in building some much-needed momentum over the rest of the competition.
After all, the wolves are snapping right at their heels.