LCS, LEC kick off 2022 seasons: 6 games to watch
by Brian Bencomo
The League Championship Series (LCS) and League of Legends European Championship (LEC) both return this weekend for the start of the 2022 season, and it’ll be the first chance to see the revamped rosters of these 20 teams in action. There are 30 games (!) scheduled Friday through Sunday. The full schedule is listed at the bottom of this article, but if you don’t have the time to watch all of them, here are six that you should check out. There’s one game from each league for each day that should be among the most intriguing. All LEC games can be watched at twitch.tv/lec, and LCS games can be found on twitch.tv/lcs.
All game times are approximate and based on the conclusion of the previous game in the league’s schedule that day.
Team BDS vs. Fnatic
Friday, 4 p.m. ET
This is the first year Team BDS will be in Europe’s top league, the LEC. Three of the five players on the roster played in the LEC last year. Their coach, Fabian "GrabbZ" Lohmann, oversaw the rise of European titan G2 Esports for four years as their coach from the 2018 season through 2021. Two of their players spent last season with Karmine Corp, a French league (LFL) team that made waves this offseason by signing former G2 star Martin “Rekkles” Larsson. Team BDS’s first-ever opponent in the LEC will be perennial powerhouse Fnatic, who are once again expected to be one of the LEC’s top teams this year. How they play against Fnatic will be a good measuring stick for the LEC’s newest team.
TSM vs. 100 Thieves
Friday, 4:30 p.m. ET
Photo credit: Riot Games
Conveniently, the LCS matchup to watch Friday starts shortly after Team BDS and Fnatic close out Friday’s LEC slate. The LCS champions 100 Thieves kick off the Lock In tournament with a matchup against TSM. 100T’s roster remains largely unchanged except for the fact they will be running a six-man rotation with Academy top laner sharing time with veteran top laner Kim "Ssumday" Chan-ho. Meanwhile, TSM will be playing with their Academy lineup. With visa issues delaying the arrival of several of their new players from China, the team has said it will run with their Academy lineup instead. It’s an inauspicious start for one of the premier orgs in the LCS and it comes on the heels of a recent report from Wired detailing allegations of bullying and verbal abuse by team owner Andy “Reginald” Dinh. There don’t appear to be many competitive LCS matchups on Friday, so the drama surrounding TSM and the chance to see the reigning LCS champions makes this the most intriguing matchup of the day.
Team Vitality vs. Fnatic
Saturday, 3 p.m. ET
The most exciting matchup this weekend might be the showdown between Team Vitality and Fnatic. Vitality have reloaded in a big way this offseason, adding MAD Lion’s Matyáš "Carzzy" Orság and bringing legendary European player Luka "Perkz" Perković back to Europe after a one-year stint with Cloud9 in NA. Vitality open up the LEC 2022 Spring Split with a matchup against MAD Lions on Friday, and you should definitely check out that game too. But, this one should be more interesting because Fnatic should be better than MAD Lions this year. In fact, both sides will have a former MAD Lion on their side. The aforementioned Carzzy is now with Vitality, and Fnatic added Marek "Humanoid" Brázda in the offseason. These two teams should battle it out all year to be the best in the LEC, and this will be a little preview of what’s to come.
Evil Geniuses vs. Team Liquid
Saturday, 6:30 p.m. ET
Photo credit: Riot Games
Team Liquid are one of the most improved teams, according to our offseason grades. Despite losing one of the premier European players in Perkz, TL have brought in European stars Gabriel “Bwipo” Rau and Steven “Hans Sama” Liv. Oh, and longtime TSM star Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg has come out of retirement and joined this team too. Excitement is high for TL, and one of their first matchups in the Lock In tournament will be against a young, rising Evil Geniuses squad. Kyle “Danny” Sakamaki was the 2021 LCS Rookie of the Year, and the org has promoted 17-year-old Academy mid laner Joseph "jojopyun" Joon Pyun to join him. EG likely will be one of the most exciting teams to watch this year. This clash with TL should be one of the most competitive matchups this weekend and a good indicator of how the rest of the tournament will play out for these two teams.
MAD Lions vs. G2 Esports
Sunday, 3 p.m. ET
MAD Lions challenged G2 last year in a way that really only Fnatic had managed to do in previous years. Unfortunately, MAD Lions have lost a couple key players and G2 have as well. As mentioned above, MAD Lions lost Carzzy and Humanoid, and G2 no longer have Rekkles. G2 also lost Martin "Wunder" Nordahl Hansen to their bitter rivals Fnatic. Meanwhile, Mihael "Mikyx" Mehle, although still under contract with G2, is currently inactive as G2 sought a buyout for him in the offseason. This G2-MAD Lions matchup will look very different than it did last season, but it’ll be a good chance to see how competitive they might be this year.
Cloud9 vs. TSM
Sunday, 5:30 p.m. ET
Photo credit: Riot Games
What you see in this matchup is not what you’re going to get when these two play again later in the year. As mentioned previously, TSM’s fortunes in this tournament will rest on their Academy squad, and it probably won’t be a good indicator of how the rest of the season will look for them. Cloud9 also is dealing with visa issues that are preventing Korean players on the roster from joining the team for Lock In. Newcomers Park "Summit" Woo-tae and Kim "Berserker" Min-cheol as well as head coach Nick "LS" De Cesare and rising Academy player Kim "Winsome" Dong-keon won’t be joining the team until February. C9 will field a lineup that looks a lot more like their ideal 2022 lineup than TSM, but both teams will ultimately be playing at a disadvantage compared to the other LCS teams. Still, these are usually two of the top teams in the LCS, so it will be interesting to see how competitive they can be during Lock In.
Full weekend schedule (all times ET):
- 12 p.m. – Team Vitality vs. MAD Lions
- 1 p.m. – SK Gaming vs. Rogue
- 2 p.m. – G2 Esports vs. Excel
- 3 p.m. – Misfits vs. Astralis
- 4 p.m. – Team BDS vs. Fnatic
- 4:30 p.m. – TSM vs. 100 Thieves
- 5:30 p.m. – Golden Guardians vs. Cloud9
- 6:30 p.m. – TSM vs. FlyQuest
- 7:30 p.m. – Golden Guardians vs. 100 Thieves
- 8:30 p.m. – FlyQuest vs. Cloud9
- 11 a.m. – Rogue vs. Misfits
- 12 p.m. – Team BDS vs. Excel
- 1 p.m. – SK Gaming vs. MAD Lions
- 2 p.m. – G2 Esports vs. Astralis
- 3 p.m. – Team Vitality vs. Fnatic
- 4:30 p.m. – Team Liquid vs. Dignitas
- 5:30 p.m. – Immortals vs. Counter Logic Gaming
- 6:30 p.m. – Evil Geniuses vs. Team Liquid
- 7:30 p.m. – Immortals vs. Dignitas
- 8:30 p.m. – Evil Geniuses vs. Counter Logic Gaming
- 11 a.m. – Team BDS vs. Misfits
- 12 p.m. – Team Vitality vs. Excel
- 1 p.m. – Rogue vs. Astralis
- 2 p.m. – SK Gaming vs. Fnatic
- 3 p.m. – MAD Lions vs. G2 Esports
- 3:30 p.m. – FlyQuest vs. 100 Thieves
- 4:30 p.m. – Team Liquid vs. Counter Logic Gaming
- 5:30 p.m. – TSM vs. Cloud9
- 6:30 p.m. – Evil Geniuses vs. Immortals
- 7:30 p.m. – Golden Guardians vs. FlyQuest
Lead photo credit: Riot Games