Anybody who is even vaguely familiar with the competitive League of Legends scene knows that there is one player who, for the longest time, has been the at the top of the best player list: Faker. Lee Sang-Hyeok, better known as Faker, has been THE top player in the world revolutionizing how certain characters are used.
Last year, however, that all changed. Faker’s team, SKT1 gave what was perhaps their worst performance in the World Championships to date, barely making it to the finals, and even then failing to capture a single round. It was the largest upset in League of Legends gaming history to date. At the end of the tournament, Faker alluded to his retirement from that level of play. Europe’s time may be now.
Not only are consistently good teams such as Fnatic expected to make a strong showing this year, but last year’s dark horse, Misfits, are expected to exceed expectations once again. Some of you may be asking, “If these teams are so good, what does Faker’s resignation from the World’s stage have to do with it?” Quite a lot, actually!
First, Faker no longer being in the picture means he’s no longer a massive threat; there’s no longer a Sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of the players. Players can now focus on building individual and team strengths rather than “preparing for Faker”. With that freedom to relax, we can expect the European teams to build up stronger team strategies.
Second, while there are still strong teams from the Asian region, they lack the sheer dominance that SKT1 used to have. The loss of SKT1 as a whole means that regionally, Europe will have an even if not stronger footing in the tournament setting as their Eastern contemporaries.
Finally, the European lineups have a much stronger lineup than they have in the past years. With strong players like Rekkles and Caps playing for the European teams, this is probably the strongest overall lineups that Europe has had since the conception of the League.
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