A spot at Worlds, the race to Season Finals, G2 on a mission... the stakes of the LEC Summer Split



06/06/2024 - 5'

The LEC returns this Saturday with the kick-off of the 2024 summer segment

The Summer Split of the LEC - the League of Legends EMEA elite - 2024 kicks off this Saturday with a whole new set of questions. One of the main attractions will be the quest for the summer title, which will provide a team the region's first ticket to this year's home Worlds. The race for the Season Finals will also intensify, with more points up for grabs in these finals, which will later determine the other two European representatives at Worlds.

G2 Esports is the only team to have already booked its place at the Season Finals, and the Samurai are still in the running to have the perfect season in Europe. All eyes will also be on the newcomers, with a number of reshuffled teams, particularly in the second half of the table. Here's a look at what's at stake this summer.

Aim for Worlds

That's what's at stake over the next few weeks of competition: unlike last year, the winner of the summer split will earn a direct place at Worlds 2024, as the 3rd European seed. They will then have the opportunity to improve their seeding during the Season Finals in Munich, as the top 2 will also qualify for Worlds (the third-place finisher will go to Worlds if the winner of the Summer Split reaches the Season Finals final). As in 2023, the Season Finals will pit the six best teams of the season against each other: the winners of the Winter and Spring Splits, the top three from the Summer Split, and the team with the most points.

The distribution of points after two segments
The distribution of points after two segments

With G2 Esports having won the first two segments of the year (see below) and with a good chance of finishing in the top 3 in the summer segment, the vacant places in the season's top 6 will be filled by the other teams with the highest number of points. The distribution of these points is more important for the Summer Split than for the two previous ones. So, while the Samurai have already secured their place in the Season Finals, this summer's campaign is all the more important for all the other contenders for the finals, and therefore the Worlds. The two best-placed teams on points are Fnatic (180 points) and BDS (175 points), and it would take an earthquake for these teams to miss out on qualification. On the other hand, no team is completely out of the running.

G2, the perfect year?

For many observers, the issue at stake at LEC 2024 is not so much who is the best team in the league, as much as the answer is obvious. In Europe, G2 Esports seems untouchable. Winners of the Winter and then the Spring Split without losing a single BO3 or BO5, the Samurai have gone on to confirm that they are the only Western representatives who can hope to rival the Asian giants at MSI. G2 had beaten Top Esports 3-0 just after giving reigning world champions T1 a tough time in the first round, losing 2-3.

Although G2 was subsequently eliminated more harshly by the same T1 team when the two organizations met again in the loser bracket (0-3), the level shown by Rasmus "Caps" Winther & co seems light years ahead of that offered by their competitors in Europe. From now on, the issue will be whether G2 can achieve what they failed to do last year: win all the splits and then the Season Finals in the same year. In 2023, the team was already competing in another category but missed out on the Spring Split, which was won by MAD Lions. This time, even more than last year, the European Grand Slam is a foregone conclusion. To achieve this, G2 must first win the Summer Split.

New faces

Off-season means a readjusting the rosters. Four teams have made changes in the recent weeks: Vitality have welcomed Linas "Lyncas" Nauncikas in the jungle, SK Gaming have changed their botlane by bringing South Korean pair Cho "Rahel" Min-seong / Lee "Luon" Hyun-ho and GiantX has promoted two players from their academy, Antonio "Th3Antonio" Espinosa in the toplane and Lee "Juhan" Ju-han in the jungle. Karmine Corp is the only team to have changed more than 50% of its roster, recruiting Kim "Canna" Chang-dong in the toplane, Can "Closer" Çelik in the jungle and also promoting midlaner Vladimiros "Vladi" Kourtidis from its academy team.

With the exception of Vitality, all these teams struggled in the spring and winter segments. KCorp, in particular, needed to respond to their last two places and their disastrous start in the EMEA elite. SK Gaming slipped back, finishing only 8th in the spring after a more successful winter (5th). Meanwhile, GIANTX, failed to win a single BO in the playoffs despite qualifying twice. The other lesson to be learned from this off-season is that Rogue, on the other hand, chose not to change anything despite finishing ninth twice. The fleeting upturn seen in the last week of the Spring Split may serve as a basis to bounce back. But the road ahead looks awfully long.

Another rhythm

Since 2023, the LEC regular season has been played over three weeks of three days of competition. The 2024 Summer Split has been slightly revised: three matches will indeed be played in the first week, but the other six matches will be spread over three weeks with two matches per week. Between the end of the regular season and the playoffs, two teams will travel to Saudi Arabia to play in the League of Legends tournament of the Esports World Cup, a global competition organized by the Saudi kingdom. These two teams are the finalists of the Spring Split, G2 Esports and Fnatic.

Should these two clubs reach the play-offs in the Summer Split of the LEC, the impact of this international competition on their domestic performances will be one to watch. As at the MSI, the two teams will be up against the best in the world, particularly Asian teams, in a potentially intense week of successive BO5s, at least if one of them comes out on top. G2 and/or Fnatic could well come back stronger then ever, but also potentially exhausted by a round trip like this, shortly after their trip to Chengdu in China.

Header Photo Credit : Michal Konkol/Riot Games

- Lucas Jacque -