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The European Surge: A Look at the League Kings of the West

When you think of the League of Legends European Championship (LEC), what comes to mind? The first World Championship winner, Fnatic? The reigning legacy of G2 Esports? Or how about the underdog stories of Origen and Misfits? For many players, Europe is home to many fabled players, familiar storylines, and sheer power. However, when one looks closely at EU, two names always stand out, leaving the rest to scramble for attention.

G2 Esports holding the LEC Trophy in the Summer of 2019 in Athens, Greece. Photo Courtesy of RedBull Gaming.

Fnatic: The Original King of the West

The first team that comes to mind for any western fans is Fnatic, a European staple organization producing some of the greatest talent in the world. In the very first World Championship, they won by taking down all Against authority (aAa) 2-1. Classic Fnatic fans will remember one particular play: Enrique “xPeke” Cedeño Martínez’s backdoor against SK Gaming, otherwise known as the xPeke.

Fnatic would only grow stronger from there, bringing together talented players such as Paul “soAz” Boyer, Bora “YellOwStaR” Kim, and two of the most recognized European players, Martin “Rekkles” Larrson and Rasmus “Caps”  Borregaard Winther. From doing the unthinkable and passing the Group Stage in 2017 after going 0-4 the first week to making the finals against Invictus Gaming, Fnatic has been the king of Europe since inception. 

G2 Esports: The Superteam That Destroyed

For the longest time, Europe was primarily dominated by the old guard of Fnatic, H2K and the Unicorns of Love. Then, 2016 came. An unknown team known as Gamers2 eSports qualified for the 2016 Spring Split; that spring, that same team took first place in the regular EU LCS Season. That team was renamed into what we know today as G2 Esports. In the latter half of the decade, G2 Esports has been the juggernaut of Europe. From vacation memes to a finalist position on the Worlds stage, G2 has been a mainstay in Europe’s history since inception.

Perhaps the most recognized player in the organization is Luka “Perkz” Perković. At just 17, Perkz became a household name in League of Legends, dominating his debut split and taking home the title for G2. And Perkz would only get stronger. It was off the back of Perkz that G2 upset tournament favorites in RNG in 2018, pulled the trigger against SKT in 2019, and pulled off several other heroic plays on the domestic and foreign stage. And as G2 built around him, Perkz even role-swapped from the Mid lane to the AD Carry to bring Caps from Fnatic over to G2. In summary: G2 is the modern god of Europe.

And We’re Done Here… Or Are We? What About The Rookie Stories?

G2 and Fnatic are the kings of the west, but they’re not the only teams to have made a lasting impact on the domestic and international stage; in fact, Europe has a third seed. Each year, a new team has been sent to Worlds. And each year, Europe hasn’t failed to impress.

Let’s take a look at a team like Origen, built around the former star of Fnatic, xPeke. From its moment of inception, Origen made a lasting impact on the world. Introducing former botlane powerhouse Jasper “Niels” (now renamed Zven) Svenningson and Alfonso “mithy” Aguirre Rodríguez, Origen made a semi-finals appearance at the 2015 Worlds Championship in their first split.

How about Misfits? In 2017, Misfits made their debut in the EU LCS and became a European powerhouse. They qualified for the World Championship and made a huge impact on arrival, even pushing SKT to Game 5 in the quarterfinals (imagine being in the crowd when Lee “igNar” Dong-geun pulled Faker with a godly Blitzcrank hook). 

How about Vitality, who made the Group of Death in 2018 increasingly difficult? What about teams like Splyce in 2019 who pulled upsets to qualify for quarterfinals? And you can’t forget about old school teams such as Alliance, the only team outside of G2 and Fnatic to win a EU LCS title, who came out of 2014 swinging. Even in 2020, teams like Rogue and MAD Lions look to compete with the best of the best.

With countless stories to reflect on and inspire upon, Europe is not just the two kings, but an entire kingdom of the Western Hemisphere.

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