All the action from LEC Summer Week One – League of Legends

As the dust settles on the first weekend of summer, many teams are tied for fifth place with a record of 1W2L. Of the five, two teams stand out in particular: Astralis and KOI. Astralis initially looked weaker than KOI, with both teams having fairly disorganized but not necessarily bad drafts.

Looking at KOI, their mechanically gifted players are experts at pushing advantages in the laning phase, but have fallen into old habits and struggle to convert these advantages in the middle game. Moreover, drafts seem to be centered around comfort picks as opposed to cohesive compositions, with Malrang’s Jarvan (D1G3) being played in a counter/disengage composition and Advienne’s Leona paired with Comp’s Xayah (D3G3) that seemed like a sore thumb sticking out in the top side heavy pickcomp KOI seemed to want to draw.

That said, Szygenda has been even in losses on a tear, and Comp and Larssen both had standout performances over the weekend, so if KOI can bring their lane-dominant identities back together, they could be one to watch.

On the other hand, Astralis seems to have developed into the LEC’s current mad scientists over the weekend, starting slowly but rebounding by the end of the week. Not to be defined by the meta, Astralis drafted Rumble, Yasuo, and Blitzcrank in D3G2, and crushed BDS with their unorthodox style. Certainly unlike other teams, Astralis seem to have found a recipe for success, and it should be exciting to see if they can take this chaos to the stars.

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Some things change and some stay the same, with two teams leading the way this weekend with 3W0L: reigning champion MAD Lions (which seems to have bounced back just fine from a disappointing MSI) and the underdogs Team Heretics. After finishing ninth in the spring, Team Heretics made some changes, with Vetheo in the middle lane and Flakked in the ADC role. These seem to have worked, as they stormed out of the gates in Summer.

Flakked in particular stood out, for both good and bad reasons. Despite not hitting the Nexus in his first game of the weekend, (D1G2, Drakos’ screams are now part of LEC history) Flakked was monstrous on Lucian and showed the same high level of play on Draven and Zeri in his other games. Walking away with a combined KDA of 31/4/19, he looks like one of the most powerful and diverse ADCs in the league.

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Among the ocean of available champions, three seem particularly crucial for teams right now. Yuumi, K’Sante, and Milio have been ever-present in drafts this week as teams turn their attention to the lane-pestering, bot-centric meta. Yuumi and Milio are both supports that excel at allowing ADCs to recover from and push harder in lane damage trades, but with a 100% pick/ban percentage to Yuumi’s 87%, Milio seems to be the first choice.

Looking at K’Sante, who has a 93% pick/ban percentage, the Pride of Nezumah was played in eight games and won five of his appearances. Chasy in particular a masterclass with the champion, with a combined KDA of 12/1/16 over two shows.

Able to isolate targets, do damage and absorb what is thrown at it, this is a pick that looks uncomfortably strong even when losing. In fact, it was BrokenBlade on K’Sante that tore Fnatic apart around the second dragon, picked up a triple kill despite being behind Oscarinin’s Malphite in the lane, and paved the way for Fnatic’s first loss of the split.

Like a handshake for the K’Sante pick has been Renekton, which looked terrifying in the right hands. Shurima is clearly at the top of the LEC, and excluding Adam’s game vs. AST (which was doomed by a bad decision from level one, D3G2) it has three wins in four appearances, a combined KDA of 20/5/22, and looked monstrous when piloted by Finn regardless of the loss.

If notes were brought back to Berlin from MSI, it seems to be an emphasis on the bot lane. Controversially, late game team-fighters like Jinx and Zeri struggle to find much success as they are beaten by lane bullies like Xayah, Lucian and in some cases Aphelios.

Support picks seem crucial on the patch, especially the ability to play enchanters such as Milio, Yuumi, Nami and (in reserve) Lulu. There are still a few engage supports, most notably Rakan, that need to be banished or picked away when facing a Xayah across the gap, but this can lead to a weakened lane pairing. Milio looks most powerful paired with Lucian and Aphelios, who seem to be the most successful ADCs, with Lucian having stronger laning and picking potential, but Aphelios being the better DPS team fighter.

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Fnatic’s new ADC Noah and G2’s veteran Hans Sama, two players who had success this weekend, showed a good example of the draft deals to be expected in the future, in D3G4. With Yuumi exiled and G2 first pick Milio on blue side, Fnatic picked away the Lucian Hans Sama that had been relied on, rather than Noah’s pick for Aphelios (combined KDA of 18/0/15), as a Lucian Nami Pairing in Aphelios Milio gave them a better chance than Aphelios with weaker support in Lucian Milio’s extreme laning power.

In response to the attack damage meta, Malphite made a few failed appearances, but is a promising choice not only as an engage tool, but also as a means for teams to think out of the box with their concepts in general.

Two items in particular stood out this weekend, Trinity Force and Statikk Shiv. Bruiser Zeri is back, with his massive AOE damage potential and absurd survival chances in full force, but struggles to find much success. In a jungle meta that the LEC seems to be slowly figuring out, Trinity Force has been the go-to option for bruiser picks like Viego – also a surprise appearance on Flakked’s Draven – but the competition seems to prefer tanks like Maokai and Sejuani and reluctant to play Assassins as of now.

Moving on to the soon-to-be-nerfed Statikk Shiv, both Humanoid (D1G5) and Perkz (D2G1) tested the item on LeBlanc and both found success. Another champion who took advantage of the item’s absurd wave clearing capabilities is Ahri, as demonstrated by Larssen (D3G3) who played excellently despite KOI’s eventual loss. Vetheo surprised everyone with a mid lane Kai’Sa pick, using a build of Statikk Shiv, Nashor’s Tooth and Guinsoo’s Rageblade to help Team Heretics to a clean sweep.

Conspicuously absent from ADCs’ item slots is Infinity Edge, with its underwhelming damage payout lagging behind the utility provided by other mythics such as Galeforce and the ability casting of Navori Quickblades. In a meta where scaling, team-fighting ADCs like Jinx fall short in the laning phase, it seems that the LEC has decided to snowball > scale for the summer split.

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