How good are the EU LoL Regional Leagues (ERLs) really?
The European Masters and Regional Leagues are getting a lot of attention this season. After several watershed moments in 2021, ERLs became a hot market for new EU talent and a way for veteran talent to remain relevant. Coming into 2022, the regional leagues are getting more concurrent views then some franchised leagues (LCS).
Can the EU LoL Regional Leagues beat LEC teams? How competitive are the ERLs compared to the teams in the major European League?
We will be discussing it today, analyzing some of the best teams from the domestic leagues.
EU LoL Regional Leagues – 2021 was key for ERLs
In the last EU Masters Summer Main Event, LFL Team Karmine Corp came out on top, winning the Finals against Fnatic Rising, Fnatic’s Academy team. In 3rd and 4th place, we had Prime League team Berlin International Gaming and Misfits Premier, the Academy of the team competing in the LEC, also from the LFL.
While there have been changes to rosters throughout the off-season, we can take a look at the overall competitive level in each domestic league. Last year, it showed that the French League, the LFL has some of the strongest teams in EU Masters. As a consequence, we can also assume that it has one of, if not, the most competitive environments.
This is also because the LFL has many competing Academy teams of LEC organizations. Aside from Misfits Premier, Vitality and BDS’s secondary teams are also competing in the LFL. These teams have the advantage of having a much stronger team in the LEC, which they can scrim against and learn from the very best players in the LEC.
With that being said, the same discussion can be said for the Spanish League. For example, Fnatic TQ is competing in the LVP Superliga, together with MAD Lions Madrid and G2 Artic. Other Academy teams are SK Gaming Prime, competing in the German League; AGO Rogue, competing in Ultraliga, the Polish League; Astralis Talent and JDXL competing in the NLC.
While all academy teams are competing, they might not be the best in their respective leagues…
Are ERL teams strong enough to fight LEC teams?
With so many different EU LoL Regional Leagues, it becomes very difficult to pinpoint the best one. Nonetheless, we can say that the best domestic leagues should be the LFL, the LVP Superliga and Prime League based on the results from their representatives last year. Therefore, we can also assume that the best-performing teams from those regions are also the most likely to have a chance at winning against some of the LEC teams.
Teams like Fnatic TQ, X7 Esports, Vitality.Bee, KCorp, Gamer Legion and AGO Rogue have the highest chances of winning against LEC teams. It is not a surprise that a lot of these teams have former LEC players on the roster. I think that for sure they have a chance against the lower-tier teams, like Astralis and SK Gaming. As for the top teams, I do still think there’s a slight gap.
The most important thing worth mentioning is that ERL teams are closing the distance. ERL teams also have players at the top of the SoloQ: Keduii and 113, playing respectively for BIG and KCorp, are in the top 10 of the Challenger ladder. So, from an individual point of view, the players do not lack the mechanics and talent.
Then what makes the difference?
Essentially speaking, the two main things are the synergy between players and the macro knowledge to make coordinated plays. Generally speaking, in the LEC there are much higher average KP%, showing that the top teams rely a lot more on team plays rather than individual talents.
With how the franchise works in the LEC, we likely won’t get to see ERL teams play against the best teams in EU. Nevertheless, the esports scene is growing and we hope organizations can arrange friendly matches between different regions, just like Karmine Corp did with KOI during the off-season.
I would even propose the LEC/EM make a unified event just before MSI/Worlds for the best European teams in the LEC/ERLs to measure up. While the best LEC teams get to go play at Worlds, the remainder can compete against regional favorites for the European Cup.