With Europe’s three sides already confirmed, we already know what Europe looks like. At the last three Worlds, Europe has been to two Grand Finals, and one Semi-Final, however, two of those were achieved by G2 Esports, who won’t be in attendance this year. So, with Worlds now in Europe (having been moved from China due to COVID-19) what can the three teams do? In this article, we’ll preview each of the three European representatives to see what they have to offer.
First up is the LEC third seed, Rogue. After ending the regular season in first place, Rogue failed to build on that momentum going into playoffs. Losing 3-0 to MAD Lions before being knocked out by Fnatic in the Lower Bracket final. Now, Rogue face an uphill battle yet again, as they find themselves as the third seed at Worlds, meaning qualification. If they make it into the group stage proper, they face a repeat of 2020 Worlds, when they got placed into the “Group of death”. For Rogue to progress, they’ll need to improve drastically on their playoff form.
Now, it’s too early to say what the state of Rogue’s group will look like, we can look at whom they could face. While they’ll likely struggle against the best sides from China and Korea, Rogue will feel that teams from other regions are beatable. Rogue has proven that in best-of-one settings they’re strong, and while that will hurt them later on at Worlds, it might just see them survive the early stages. If Rogue can bring that form into the Group stage, and get a favourable group, they might just make it to the knockout stage.
Fnatic found their form at just the right time, having dropped off a lot towards the end of the regular season. While the unbeaten run fell short one game, Fnatic did make it back to a Grand Final, which gives them a second seeding at Worlds. While they’ll still be included in the mix of the top-seeded sides from China and Korea, they’ll still be in with a solid shot at making it to the second phase.
Fnatic showed a lot of promise in the playoffs, and despite a loss to MAD Lions looked like a side capable of a lot on their day. The worry for Fnatic will be their lack of experience. While it wasn’t a problem in playoffs, Worlds is an entirely different level, however, and with a role swapped Jungle and a rookie top laner, it’s going to be a real test for Fnatic. The experience will be invaluable, however, so regardless of the results, this Fnatic side is likely to come away from Worlds a better side.
Lastly, we have Europe’s top seed. Having slowly worked their way into the regular season, MAD Lions ended in magnificent form and blew everyone away in the playoffs. Going in as the first seed is undoubtedly a good thing, but given the level of talent from across the globe coming in as the second seed, it won’t be that simple. What will give MAD Lions comfort is that they won so many series in playoffs with relative ease, and they go into Worlds as back-to-back LEC Champions.
A lot of things will go in favour of MAD Lions. They’ve been together for nearly two years now as a roster, and they punched above their weight for most of that time. We’re now at a point where we can’t really keep calling MAD Lions an underdog, and instead need to treat them like the number 1 seed that they are. This Worlds could be a massive moment for MAD Lions and with it the LEC. MAD Lions will want to continue to fly the flag of LEC sides making the Finals weekend alive, and as the first seed, they’re the most likely to do it.