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EU LCS rebrands as League of Legends European Championship

LCS no more: the European League of Legends professional league is now known as the League of Legends European Championship, or LEC for short.

It’s more than a new name, though: this only scratches the surface of a large structural change as the former EU LCS moves to a franchise model similar to the one used in North America. Riot’s official announcement stated that this is a sign that the new league is meant to have its own identity and be a unique brand to capture the fans’ imagination and give them a sense of belonging.

Riot has finally lifted the lid over who the teams in the LEC will be, and it mostly matches the latest round of reports. Six of the teams that played in the 2018 Summer Split will remain:

  • Fnatic,
  • Schalke 04
  • G2 Esports
  • Misfits Gaming
  • Team Vitality,
  • Splyce

These teams will be joined by four “newcomers” including both organizations new to League of Legends and some with a rather storied past:

  • Origen
  • exceL Esports
  • Rogue
  • SK Gaming

The big surprise here comes in the face of Origen, who had a rollercoaster of an LCS career, making semifinals at Worlds in 2015 only to be relegated from the EU LCS in 2017 after what is the worst split any team has had in the league. Meanwhile, Splyce were believed to be one of the teams that would not make the next season, but it appears that last-minute problems in the negotiations with North and Movistar Riders allowed them and exceL to make the cut.

Riot assured the fans that there will be no significant changes in how the championship will actually be run, stating that the culture, history and traditions of the EU LCS are still intact and for all intents and purposes, nothing will change in the show as it starts once more on January 18, 2019.

In the meantime, there have been several small shuffles in the team rosters. Junglers Maurice “Amazing” Stückenschneider and Erberk “Gilius” Demir have announced that they are leaving their current teams, FC Schalke04 and Team Vitality respectively. Meanwhile, Tore “Norskeren” Hoel Eilertsen has announced that he is leaving Team ROCCAT, which is only to be expected after the team announced that it will not compete in the 2019 spring season. The changes continue on the management level as well, with former Team ROCCAT manager Tomislav “flyy” Mihailov announced as the new Rogue general manager, and longtime player and caster Martin “Deficio” Lynge named for the same position at Origen. Then, there is the rumor being bandied about a new super team on the horizon – and one whose creation will be so unusual that it’s seen as absolutely trollish:

Well now. That sounds interesting - so far, the leading hypothesis is that Origen is bringing some pretty big names for their return. Stay tuned for what is shaping up to be a big surprise.