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background image's LEC Power Rankings: #6 – FC Schalke04 Esports

After a year where League of Legends pros Schalke finally achieved most of their potential, narrowly missing going to Worlds, they have to once again reset their roster. We believe that they have what they need to make playoffs, but they can certainly mess it up.

The German football club first made a move to the League esports scene in 2015, when they acquired the Elements roster after the departure of Henrik “Froggen” Hansen. Sadly, their initial split saw them end in eighth place and eventually get relegated. Schalke retained a strong team in the Challenger Series, returning in the LCS on their second try with the 2018 Spring Split qualifier. After a poor first split, the team rallied in the summer, making the playoff finals but missing Worlds to everyone’s regret. Yet, after several years, Schalke finally operated like an organization backed by a major traditional sports brand with the experience and money that suggests.

The team made significant changes in the pre-season and will be fielding the following roster for the upcoming split:

  • Top laner: Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu
  • Jungler: Jonas “Memento” Elmarghichi
  • Mid laner: Felix “Abbedagge” Braun
  • Bot laner: Elias “Upset” Lipp
  • Support: Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun
  • Head Coach: Dylan Falco

Of these, only Upset remains from the 2018 roster. The German AD carry was seen as one the prodigies of his generation, already a strong player but with plenty of room to grow. In the top lane, Schalke traded top laners with Splyce, exchanging their former top laner for Odoamne, a player who was considered one of the staple top laners in Europe for the longest time. In the jungle, the team signed Memento, arguably the biggest star of a struggling ROCCAT team. Abbedagge is a challenger who has been around the challenger series for a while. He last played in the Turkish Champions League where he took part in the regional Rift Rivals and finished the Spring Split in second place. In the bottom lane, Upset will be playing with the returning IgNar who was part of Misfits Gaming’s successful 2017 Worlds run before leaving for the LCK. Finally, Schalke made one of the coaching coups of the transfer season, signing Fnatic coach Dylan Falco. The coach had been a part of Immortals’ powerhouse 2016 roster and is coming from a very successful 2018.

We expect the team to end in a mid-tier position in the league. The way we see it, it lost several key players but found okay replacements for the most part. We see the return of Memento to the blue brand and of IgNar to Europe. Both players have shown good aggressive moves that could help Schalke dominate the early game. Odoamne is a reliable good top laner who has proven himself on the European stage. The mid laner – Abbedagge – is the least known player on their roster. He has previously played for Vitality Academy and Turkey’s Royal Bandits, the strongest team of the 2018 Summer Split alongside eventual Worlds contestant Supermassive. Royal Bandits decisively won the regular split, but lost to Supermassive in the playoff finals. At the TCL, there were reasons for him to be considered one of the best mids in the region, but the level of play in Europe should be a cut above. Still, the team is not without issues: while Schalke have great players for early to mid-game aggression, they need solid vision and shot calling for the late game. This – and ensuring good cooperation between Upset and IgNar, a more controlled ADC and a support known for aggressive roaming – may be one of the biggest challenges for Dylan Falco in the upcoming season.

Boasting several good and experienced players and a proven coach, Schalke’s odds are good, but a lot could go wrong once the season starts. We are giving them a small lead over Splyce based on the expectation of stronger players.

Thumbnail Image credit: Riot Games