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The League of Legends EMEA Championship Winter 2023 kicks off on January 21 2023, with 10 European teams competing for the LEC title. The competing teams have been among the top League of Legends teams from Europe, so we expect high viewership following the action from some of the most skilled players that we've seen through this season.
On October 6, 2022, KOI revealed they had merged with Rogue. This means KOI will replace Rogue in the LEC 2023 season and beyond. Notwithstanding the merger, Rogue is going into the LEC winter as the first-place winner of the LEC Summer season as KOI. If we look back beyond the summer season, KOI has had a series of solid showings over the last couple of years, topped off by coming in 5th-8th place in the 2022 World Championship.
Our 2nd pick for LEC Winter 2023 is G2, thanks partly to their second-place finish in the LEC Summer 2022 Season. Like KOI/Rogue, G2 has had a series of solid showings in the last couple of years, although they may be on a different level than KOI/Rogue. G2 finished behind our top pick in KOI at the 2022 World Championships by placing 11th to 14th. However, G2 won the LEC Spring 2022 season and came 4th and 3rd in the Summer and Spring seasons of 2021, respectively. Their consistent form contributes to our choice as top picks going into LEC Winter 2023.
Since the merger, it will be interesting to see how the team's performance is impacted by playing under a new brand name. Since the merger was announced on October 6, key Rogue players like Blumigan, SeeL and Odoamne have left the team. On December 16, the remaining players Malrang, Larssen, Comp, Trymbi and fredy122 officially joined KOI.
Despite finishing 5th - 8th in the 2022 World Championship, their loss in the quarterfinal was a clean sweep to JD Gaming, who are seemingly in the form of their lives. The 2023 season will be crucial for KOI; with the merger in full effect, KOI will be looking to put themselves out there as serious contenders and improve their results through the next year.
Markos "Comp" Stamkopoulos will be the star Botlaner for KOI. His recent achievements include a streak of 1st place finishes from 2018 to 2022. After a short hiatus, he returned in 2022 to finish 2nd in LEC Spring 2022. All eyes will be on Comp in the LEC Winter 2022 as he starts the tournament under the KOI banner.
For what they lacked in outright tournament wins when compared to KOI/Rogue, G2 has made up for consistency. Their finish in 11th - 14th place in the 2022 World Championship was actually their worst performance in the last four years! G2 have not finished lower than 9th place since August 2018, and all of these performances have been against S-Tier and A-Tier competition. This level of consistency puts them right up there as our second-favorite pick for LEC Winter 2023.
This tournament might be a chance for G2's redemption, as they lost in a clean sweep to Rogue in the finals of the LEC Summer 2022 season. In the Mid-Season Invitational 2022 tournament, G2 finished in 3rd-4th, losing 0-3 against T1. However, they won LEC Spring 2022, beating Rogue 3-0. We can't wait to see how their rubber match plays out, despite Rogue operating under a new brand.
Officially, G2 have only listed two players as currently active, one of which is BrokenBlade. The German Toplaner has consistently put in strong performances for the team, contributing to their series of strong finishes over the last couple of years. Apart from BrokenBlade, it remains to be seen which players G2 will enter into the tournament for their opportunity to equalize against KOI.
Team Vitality has been a staple in the professional League of Legends scene since December 2015. Before expanding to other esports, they were solely focused on League of Legends. Since they've finished in the top 10 of every S-Tier tournament that they have entered since 2018, they make an easy outside pick for LEC Winter 2023.
The upcoming tournament could prove to be a breakthrough for Team Vitality. They placed 5th and 7th in the LEC Spring and Summer tournaments of 2022, respectively. 2022 has been a year of major shake ups for Team Vitality, with several key players like Leggifant and Spale leaving and many others joining.
As one of the biggest professional esports organizations in the world, it's impossible to rule out Fnatic as a favorite in any tournament that they enter. Despite having registered offices around the world, Fnatic is considered a European Team and is thus eligible to compete in European championships like the LEC Winter 2023.
They're entering the tournament coming off a win in a show match against KOI, which should give them a boost of confidence as KOI will be competing alongside them. Fnatic finished 3rd in the LEC Summer and Spring tournaments in 2022, with the best result of 9th-10th in the 2022 World Championship.
Thanks to their consistently strong performances over the year, KOI and G2 are heading into the LEC Winter 2023 tournament as favorites, as they have for pretty much every other tournament that they have entered this year. With one win apiece in the LEC, the rubber match will determine who takes top honors in the European circuit and test the resolve of both teams.
G2's string of consistent performances over the last two years places them as close favorites leading up to LEC Winter 2023. Despite their loss to Rogue last Summer, G2's consistency in form has been otherworldly all the way back to 2015. That's a long time for a team to hang out at the highest level of competition in esports.
It's impossible to rule out that Team Vitality will finally break through and win. Since League of Legends brought them into esports, they have fallen short of winning a major tournament. Team Vitality will enter the LEC 2023 with a chip on its shoulders as a top-tier team.
As one of the biggest esports organizations in the world, Fnatic is bound to have its eyes on the prize. It may have been an exhibition match, but their win over KOI will give them a much-needed boost in confidence. Third place in both the summer and spring seasons in 2022 are results not to be taken lightly - they might be able to pull off an upset and usurp KOI and G2 as the European kings of LoL.
Varun is a web journalist who has been writing on sports for 13 years. He took a shine for the MLS during the 2021 season and has been following it and writing about it since, alongside his work involving the English Premier League, La Liga, and the Serie A. He is deeply interested in soccer analytics and strategy and has aspirations to move into coaching at some point. Email: [email protected]More info on Varun Shetty
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