The LEC is finally into the new winter split, after quite the offseason to remember. There have been some huge changes to the format, as well as new teams joining. The talent pool is also larger than ever, as the region expands to include MENA leagues.
The offseason has been one of the most eventful we've seen, with huge moves and unexpected changes to top teams. We've broken down who we think has come out ahead and who has the best chance of reaching the top spots this split.
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10 - Astralis
Someone has to come out at the bottom, and unfortunately this season it's Astralis. While their mid and bot lanes have remained the same, the competition has got far fiercer, with the best ADCs from the ERLs joining for the new season.
Another consideration is their jungler, 113, newly promoted to the LEC from Karmine Corp. While he certainly showed promise over the past year, he has very little experience under his belt, and will face a tall order when matched up against the best junglers in Europe.
9 - Team BDS
Team BDS has certainly made an upgrade to their roster from last year, but much of their talent is still relatively unproven in the LEC. Only their mid-laner Nuclearint remains, and unfortunately, he hasn't found much purchase in the league.
Adam and Crownie are two of the most promising talents from the ERLs, and both have experience in the LEC. If they can show up as carries, Team BDS can go far, but they are limited by both experience and the calibre of skill their players have shown thus far.
8 - SK Gaming
The highlight of SK's roster is certainly their topside. Markoon and Finn were instrumental in XL's success last year, especially during their spring split run after a Korean Bootcamp. Their pre-existing synergy will be a huge asset to the team.
Exakick is also a promising ERL talent, showing huge promise in his time on LDLC. He is still inexperienced though, as is the rest of the team, which will hurt their LEC performance against the best talent in Europe.
7 - Team Heretics
A brand new team in the league this year is team Heretics, having previously competed in the LVP Spanish league. The new LEC roster is a mix of players from very different backgrounds and will be very interesting to see in action.
The highlight is, of course, Jankos, joining the team as probably the best EU jungler of all time. Evi in the top lane also brings the best of the LJL with him, having had a brilliant performance for DFM in Worlds Play-Ins.
The rest of their roster doesn't quite have the same pedigree, although Jackspektra is one of the best ADCs to have come up through regional leagues recently. Their mid-laner Ruby will have to step up big time if the roster is to succeed, but led by EG's ex-coach Peter Dun, they could certainly pull it off.
6 - MAD Lions
MAD Lions have kept the core of their team that was so successful in the regular season, in Nisqy and Elyoya. Since their unfortunate performance at Worlds, however, they are returning to the LEC with something to prove.
Carzzy rejoins the roster in a similar boat, after a rough performance on Vitality, paired with everyone's favourite psychopath support, Hyli. This bot lane has an incredibly high ceiling, but both players will have to step up their game considerably from last year.
Chasy in the top lane replaces Armut, who is heading to NA for this year, and has a similar champion pool, with a tad less Gnar. He is an unproven concept in the LEC, but had a stellar performance for X7 at EU Masters.
5 - Excel Esports
Excel has formed what many would consider a mini superteam for this LEC split, taking many great players from other rosters. Odoamne in the top lane is still limited by champion pool issues, but is an experienced and reliable asset to the roster.
Xerxe's performance in the jungle has been up and down, but again he brings an experience that will be invaluable. Vetheo is quite the opposite, the wonderkid and X Factor behind Misfit's success, who can style on the best mids in Europe when given the tools.
Patrik is the only XL member left standing from the last LEC split, and has shown some incredible hypercarry performances. Targamas was also instrumental in much of G2's success, and will pair excellently with a creative jungler like Xerxe.
4 - Vitality
Only Perkz remains from Vitality's previous roster, a staple of EU League of Legends and their best-performing member. Bo finally joins the squad after a year on the bench, and if he can perform this year as he did for FPX, and in EUW solo queue, the LEC will be at his feet.
Another import but without the track record is Photon. After a year on T1 challengers, and experience in GenG and LSB academies, he finally gets a shot at the major leagues. If he can perform, Vitality's top side could be among the best in the World.
Last but certainly not least is their bot lane. Neon and Kaiser are two of the most consistently performing and underrated players in the LEC. This leaves another team with an incredibly high ceiling, but some questions to answer this split.
3 - Fnatic
Fnatic, Vitality, and Excel are somewhat interchangeable in this list, as individual performance will be paramount. The team with the best recent track record though is Fnatic, with the same top side (and Humanoid) that took down T1 in Worlds Groups.
Their team is completed by veteran academy support Rhuckz, and the return of the king, Rekkles. Rekkles' performance could make or break the roster's success, as could Humanoid's, who has been less than consistent in the regular season.
2 - G2 Esports
Another of many teams to make upgrades in the bot lane, G2's disastrous Worlds performance has led to a rebuild, around Caps and Brokenblade. Caps's prowess is a given, but to see G2 return to LEC glory, the rest of the team will have to pull some serious weight.
This starts with a new bot lane, the proven duo of Hans Sama, returning from NA, and Mikyx, returning to G2 after a year on Excel. While they failed to make much of an impact as a duo on Misfits, preexisting synergy cannot be understated as an asset.
Yike is another addition, who will have big shoes to fill after replacing Jankos. The young player has shown excellent performance, but will have to step up big time to compete at the level the LEC demands.
1 - KOI (Rogue)
The top spot is reserved for the team that not only won the LEC last split, but made quite the impact on the international stage. Rogue has rebranded to KOI, and kept all the same members, bar their top laner Odoamne.
Rogue proved everyone wrong last year, and will be looking to repeat their run this year, with quite the team to do it. Syzgenda will also make a great addition, with a much more carry-oriented style than Odoamne.
If KOI can maintain its form, they stand an excellent chance of repeating its success in the past.