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The League of Legends (LoL) Season 2022 is now getting into full swing as the League of Legends Europe Championship (LEC) began this year's Spring Split on Friday (14 January).
While the LEC had some of the biggest rivalries last year, the region struggled internationally. At the 2021 LoL World Championship, G2 Esports had a disappointing run and missed their first Worlds in LoL Esports history.
Meanwhile, Rogue Esports was eliminated early in the group stage after an upset loss in a tiebreaker match with C9. Fnatic also ended their run early after coming in last at Group C, marking the first time the team was eliminated in the group stage.
But the region still had its share of shining moments through MAD Lions, who exceeded expectations throughout the 2021 season. At the Mid-Season Invitational, the Lions gave DAMWON KIA (DWG KIA) hell even as they lost the MSI semifinals in a 3-2 bloodbath.
However, Lions had a difficult first week in the competition at Worlds and ended up with a historical four-way tie with Gen.G Esports, LNG Esports, and Team Liquid at the end of the group stage.
The Lions defeated both LNG and Gen.G in the tiebreaker matches to secure a slot in the knockout stage, where they were swept by DWG KIA 3-0 in the quarterfinals.
Given the lackluster season last year, all of the European frontrunners made major changes to their roster in an attempt to redeem themselves in Season 2022.
Here are the most important roster changes for the LEC this season:
The Lions may have shined brighter than the rest of the LEC last year, but this didn’t stop them from making tweaks to their roster. Matyáš "Carzzy" Orság, the team’s former bot laner was the first to leave the organization in November, signing with Team Vitality.
Carzzy was replaced by William "UNF0RGIVEN" Nieminen who came from SK Gaming Prime, SK Gaming’s Academy team. The team then signed Steven "Reeker" Chen from Berlin International Gaming as the team’s new mid laner after Marek "Humanoid" Brázda, the team’s former star player, left in December to sign with Fnatic.
İrfan “Armut” Berk Tükek, Javier “Elyoya” Prades Batalla, and Norman “Kaiser” Kaiser all maintain their roles as top laner, jungler, and support for MAD Lions.
These roster moves notably had fans of the team doubting, as many think it was a bad move to sign rookies into a team that has already been doing well given.
MAD LIONS 2022 Roster:
İrfan “Armut” Berk Tükek (top lane)
Javier “Elyoya” Prades Batalla (jungler)
Steven "Reeker" Chen (mid lane)
William "UNF0RGIVEN" Nieminen (bot lane)
Norman “Kaiser” Kaiser (support)
Fnatic also made a few changes to their roster this year following the rumours of difficulties with the conflicting playstyles of its players. As a result, jungler Gabriël "Bwipo" Rau left in November to move to Team Liquid in North America. This was followed by top laner Adam "Adam" Maanane leaving forTeam BDS.
Fnatic then signed Iván "Razork" Martín Díaz from Misfits Gaming as their new jungler and welcomed Martin "Wunder" Nordahl Hansen from rival organisation G2 Esports.
In January, Humanoid left MAD Lions to be Fnatic's new mid laner, which prompted Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer to move to a substitute role.
Meanwhile, Zdravets “Hylissang” Iliev Galabov and Elias “Upset” Lipp both retained their roles as the team’s support and bot laner.
Fnatic 2022 Roster:
Martin "Wunder" Nordahl Hansen (top lane)
Iván "Razork" Martín Díaz (jungler)
Marek "Humanoid” Brázda (mid lane)
Elias “Upset” Lipp (bot lane)
Zdravets “Hylissang” Iliev Galabov (support)
Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer (substitute/mid lane)
After a lackluster performance last year, G2 Esports overhauled their roster. After missing out on Worlds for the first time, G2 started negotiations to trade their players Martin "Wunder" Nordahl Hansen (top (lane), Martin “Rekkles” Larrson (bot lane), Mihael "Mikyx" Mehle (support), and Fabian GrabbZ Lohmann (coach) as early as October, and announced that they will replace the rest of their support staff.
Both Rekkles and Wunder left the organization in November, with Rekkles leaving the LEC to join Karmine Corp, a team competing in the Ligue Française de League of Legends (LFL), and Wunder signing with Fnatic.
In December, G2 signed Sergen "Broken Blade" Çelik from Schalke 04 as their new top laner, Victor “Flakked” Lirola from academy team MAD Lions Madrid as the new bot laner, and Raphaël "Targamas" Crabbé from Karmine Corp as the new support.
Both G2 veterans Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski and Rasmus “caPs” Borregaard Winther remain with the organization as the team’s jungler and mid laner respectively, while Mikyx becomes inactive.
With huge changes both in the player roster and the support staff, expect to see a very different G2 this year.
G2 Esports 2022 Roster:
Sergen "Broken Blade" Çelik (top lane)
Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski (jungler)
“caPs” Borregaard Winther (mid lane)
Victor “Flakked” Lirola (bot lane)
Raphaël "Targamas" Crabbé (support)
Unlike many of the other LEC teams, Rogue kept most of their roster intact. However, they did part ways with jungler Kacper "Inspired" Słoma and bot laner Steven "Hans sama" Liv, who both moved out of the LEC to join North American teams Evil Geniuses and Team Liquid, respectively.
Rogue then signed former DWG KIA substitute Kim "Malrang" Geun-seong to be the new jungler and Markos "Comp" Stamkopoulos to be the new bot laner. Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu (top), Emil “Larssen” Larsson (mid), and Adrian “Trymbi” Trybus (support) will remain with the team for 2022.
Rogue Esports 2022 Roster:
Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu (top lane)
Kim "Malrang" Geun-seong (jungler)
Emil “Larssen” Larsson (mid lane)
Markos "Comp" Stamkopoulos (bot lane)
Adrian “Trymbi” Trybus (support)
The LEC Spring Split will go live with their first match on Friday (14 January).
— LEC (@LEC) January 5, 2022
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.