February 2, 2023

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The Sports Fanatics

LEC power rankings: 2022 Spring Split week 7

Just one week remains in the 2022 LEC Spring Split and the race for the playoffs essentially came to an anticlimactic finish last weekend when the league’s fifth and sixth-place squads, Excel Esports and Team Vitality, created distance between themselves and any other teams pushing for the final slots in the bracket. 

The six teams that are going to be in the playoffs are essentially determined—barring a very unlikely turn of events that includes Excel or Vitality losing all three of their games this weekend while MAD Lions or SK Gaming win all three of theirs. 

But even beyond the teams in the midsection of the playoff race, eight of the 10 teams didn’t move in our power rankings this week compared to our last edition, essentially insinuating that the LEC is more firm than most leagues around the world. Still, that’s not to say that the upcoming three-game weekend could (and probably will) have a substantial impact on the way the playoff bracket is seeded. With a super week on the horizon, the battle for placements will be prolific as teams look to secure top seeds and avoid being placed into the losers bracket from the offset. 

With the playoff bracket (and its results) set to speak for itself over the next month-plus, and MSI to follow shortly after the LEC trophy is lifted, we’ll be putting our LEC power rankings on the back burner until the Summer Split. With that being said, here are our final LEC power rankings of the 2022 Spring Split.

Rank Team Rank change
1) Rogue
2) Fnatic
3) Misfits
4) G2 Esports
5) Team Vitality
6) Excel Esports
7) SK Gaming
8) MAD Lions
9) Team BDS +1
10) Astralis -1

Party’s over?: Team BDS, Astralis

Photo via Riot Games

Both teams in this tier can now officially start looking toward the future. There was no miracle run for Astralis this spring, but they showed flashes down the stretch and have gone 3-3 in their last six games. For reference, only Excel, Fnatic, and Misfits have done better in that stretch. Astralis have hope, but vibes alone are tough to carry from spring to summer. And if those good vibes and sense of belief were in fact mainly jump-started by their 0-9 start and a “nothing more to lose” attitude, then it’s understandable that one might worry about the sustainability of this roster performing like a playoff team.

It’s been all bad for BDS lately, but they avoided last place in our power rankings. This team is extremely young, not only as a team in the LEC but its individual pieces too. The summer could be a massive turnaround for the league’s newest franchise, but maneuvering it could be tricky. Maybe it makes roster or coaching moves, but one split can be hard to judge a team by, especially since it’s their first time playing together under a new banner. In a region that bangs the drum of developing domestic talent, balancing that with results can still be a proposition fraught with pitfalls. Twenty-four-year-old rookie Cinkrof seems to be the piece to build around for now. Given his relative age, the priority for BDS should be convincing him to stay and be a part of the project that BDS is trying to build.

Falling just short: SK Gaming, MAD Lions

Photo via Riot Games

In League, there are always unfortunate teams that don’t have enough in the tank to keep up with their respective league’s superpowered rosters. In the case of SK Gaming and MAD Lions in the LEC, one came out of the starting gate too late, while the other ran out of gas while approaching the finish line.

SK’s late surge in the second half of the 2022 Spring Split was an enjoyable change of pace for their fans, considering they had a 2-7 record through the first four weeks of play. But they weren’t able to perform at a consistent rate, losing to a last-place Astralis and a struggling Vitality roster. If SK had won two more games this split, they’d be right in the thick of the playoff race. But now, they must hope for a miracle with a three-percent chance to qualify, according to LoL Esports Stats.

Meanwhile, MAD Lions are on the verge of making the history books. But unfortunately, it won’t be for a good reason. The back-to-back LEC champions are close to becoming the first team to win consecutive trophies, only to completely miss the playoffs the following spring.

Europe’s young guns have been inconsistent with their play, especially with how good their early games have been. They’re among the top five teams for average gold difference at 15 minutes, the highest first blood rate in the LEC, and the third-most turret plates destroyed per game, according to Oracle’s Elixir. But they also have an abysmal 18-percent first dragon rate, the second-lowest overall dragon control rate, and some of the lowest Baron control rates in the league. It’s clear that without Humanoid helping the team traverse the mid-to-late game with his macro skills, teamfighting prowess, and smart decision-making, MAD Lions aren’t able to snowball their leads into victories. As a result, there’s a good chance that they’ll be watching the playoffs from home with everyone else when the end of the season rolls around.

All but locked in: Team Vitality, Excel Esports

Photo via Riot Games

Rejoice, Excel fans, your first LEC playoff appearance in franchise history is on the horizon. Excel and Vitality have 97 and 96 percent chances, respectively, to lock in a playoff spot this upcoming weekend, according to a post from the LoLEsports’ official stat-tracking Twitter account. Unless either team folds like a house of cards and loses all three games during the upcoming super week, it’s incredibly likely they’ll end up in the bracket. 

Last week, the two put some distance between themselves and the then-pushing duo of MAD and SK, who were in a much better position prior to last week’s games than they are now. Excel pushed away MAD to open the weekend, while Vitality secured victory over SK later on, allowing them both a three-game gap heading into the final weekend of the split. For Excel and Vitality to miss out on playoffs now, they’d have to lose all of their games, while SK or MAD would need to win out. 

Additionally, if Excel and Vitality keep pace with each other (and the rest of the league keeps on their current tracks, too), the two teams would face off against each other in the first round of the playoffs—a would-be single-elimination losers bracket match. 

Biggest throw ever?: Misfits, G2 Esports

Photo via Riot Games

Some people either break or get stronger while under pressure. In their first game of the past week, after 22 minutes of relentless attacks and accumulated advantages, G2 Esports faced the uncovered and nearly destroyed Nexus of Misfits. But after what seemed to be 22 long minutes of the match, Misfits woke up with a new grit and strength. By the end of the game, Misfits took over the game against the samurais, overpowering them so much that the over 10,000 gold difference disappeared and they brought home the victory. 

After Misfits beat G2, there was talk of the throw of the century, but not because of the large gold lead that benefited G2 as much as the circumstances of the comeback that Misfits staged. In fact, if we’re talking about legendary comebacks, there have been many others where a large gold lead did not carry the team ahead to victory, like the match between M5 and CLG.eu at the DreamHack event in 2012. 

When analyzing what led to Misfits’ victory, even the team’s mid laner Vetheo, who experienced this comeback first hand, had “no idea” how they pulled it off, commenting in the post-game interview that the game was “crazy.”

After this week, both of these teams have qualified for the 2022 LEC Spring Split playoffs and can face the final super week with less anxiety than other teams still competing for a ticket to the next stage. But this match between Misfits and G2 will still be the center of attention for a while, having the chance to become one of the must-watch games in the European league’s history. 

Race to the top: Rogue, Fnatic

Photo via Riot Games

Rogue and Fnatic are heading into the final week of the 2022 LEC Spring Split with nothing to lose. The top two teams of the region can look directly at what awaits them in the playoffs. While both teams have experienced their ups and downs on their road to this point, it was their second meeting this split in week seven that may shape how this final weekend goes: either cementing Rogue as the best team in the region or handing Fnatic yet another regular season on top.

On paper, Rogue and Fnatic were expected to have a rather close showing against one another during their meeting in the second round robin. Both teams have demonstrated over the past few weeks that the spots they hold have been rightfully earned. But their match on Feb. 25 looked anything but stable for Rogue. Fnatic humbled them with an 11,000 gold lead attained through Rogue’s massive lack of a frontline in their composition.

This was an uncharacteristic look for the first-place team that, thus far, has averaged the highest positive average gold difference at 15 minutes of all teams in the region, according to Oracle’s Elixir, resembling closely their loss to Astralis just a few weeks ago. Rogue’s loss brings their head-to-head against Fnatic this split to 1-1. It also places Fnatic only one loss behind Rogue in their journey to first place once more, with three matches left to determine how the standings will be cemented in history.

The evolving rivalry between Rogue and Fnatic has heated up immensely over the past few weeks, culminating in these last three games where both teams will likely put their all into being able to call themselves the best in the LEC—perhaps shaping what could be the finals of the playoffs.