With roster moves occurring every day it’s important to note that while many first teams are slowly being built, they still have to field an academy team.
As per Riot rulings, all of the franchised teams in Europe are obliged to create an Academy team in order to further develop upcoming talent. However, with the destruction of the challenger series the question is asked. Where will these academy teams play.?
For those who are unaware of the changes that have occurred, the challenger scene was completely revamped last season, making way for the European Masters and the European circuits. The European circuits are mini-leagues set in different countries which feature smaller brands in the League of Legends ecosystem. Teams such as Mad Lions, Panathinaikos eSports and newly franchised exceL our among the names who have been associated with the new regime.
It is more than likely that all of the franchised sides will insert themselves in these circuits to provide competition for these smaller organisations. Whilst also developing their academy rosters. Some have confirmed which league they are participating in, while others still haven’t decided. However, we here at Gromp News will go through all the academy teams and where they are confirmed to go or rumoured to be going.
The Confirmed Academy team’s destinations
G2 Academy = SulperLiga Orange (Spain)
During an interview with Movistar, G2 CEO Carlos Rodriguez confirmed that their academy would be competing in the Spanish league next season. It is unsure whether any of these teams will be replacing current organisations in the league or if they will just be added into the league system. However G2, a German company, has decided to apply themselves to the Spanish academy scene. This seem like a strategic approach as it will boost the ever growing fan base in Spain. Also, the SLO is widely regarded as one of the best national circuit leagues in Europe right now. Players such as Nemesis have recently moved from Spanish organisations to the LEC showing the calibre of talent that is available in the SLO.
Origen Academy = Nordic Championship (Scandinavia)
Origen’s choice to move to the Scandinavian national circuit logistically makes a lot of sense. Astrails, Origen’s major backers, are predominantly of Danish origin. The first team roster is also living in Denmark while the spring split commences. So by having Origen’s academy roster also staying in Denmark to compete in the Nordic Championship makes a lot of sense. From a commercial stand point as well it allows Origen’s brand to be more recognised to the Nordic community.
Now the remaining destinations for the teams are not confirmed. However, given their current alignment it is expected that these are the destinations the teams will confirm.
A British Trio
- Fnatic Academy = ESL Premiership (UK)
- exceL Academy =ESL Premiership (UK)
- Misfits Academy = ESL Premiership (UK)
It is heavily expected that Fnatic, exceL and Misfits will all deploy Academy teams into the UK scene. Both Fnatic and exceL originally started in the United Kingdom before securing other backers from around the world. Considering excel just last season were a team involved with the ESL and Forge of Champions system, it is almost a guarantee that they will continue to develop their talent in the UK . While Fnatic did not have an academy roster in the UK last split. Given their English roots it would take a big shift in their approach if they don’t settle their side in Britain. As for Misfits, despite being an american Organisation they have proudly taken the UK as their second home, also competing in the ESL last season with their own academy team. We here at Gromp News would expect Misfits to continue their development in the UK as they have done since the national circuits began.
Viva La Vitality
Team Vitality Academy = Open Tour France (France)
It is widely expected that Vitality will continue to run their academy team in the french league. Vitality are the only side in the franchise system that originate from France, and the organisation already has a strong foothold in the nations amateur League scene. Last split Vitality Academy won the Open Tour France and the side will be looking to continue their dominance leading into the LEC franchise era.
- Schalke Academy = Premier Tour (Germany, Austria and Switzerland)
- SK Gaming Academy = Premier Tour (Germany, Austria and Switzerland)
It’s almost certain that SK Gaming and Schalke will make the Premier Tour their stronghold for their academy team. Let’s get the obvious information out of the way. Schalke, a German football club, will certainly want their academy team playing in Germany as it further boosts their brand as a legitimate Esports investment to their fans. SK Gaming on the other hand, could have had a different outcome. Despite being a German org, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will stay in Germany. With G2 being a big example of changing their academy location. However, considering SK Gaming took part in last years Premier Tour, finishing fourth. It seems that the organisation will want to remain part of that circuit.
Rogue and Splyce keeping it secret
Now, Rogue and Splyce are two American run organisations who have never aligned themselves with any specific nation in Europe. So, their placement in the National Circuits remains to be a mystery until they officially confirm the information. But, for the fun of it we here at Gromp News will predict were we think they will end up. Warning: This is purely guess work!
- Rogue = ESLMP (Poland) or Nordic Championship (Scandinavia
- Splyce = ESLMP (Poland)
The reasoning behind these choices comes down to the organisations recent movements. Again I cannot stress enough, at this point this is purely guesswork. However, Rogue have been linked on other websites with moving to Poland. this would be a great move considering no other team has announced their academy team in that region and overall their player base is pretty strong. Still, considering Rogue announced an all Swedish CS-Go team in 2017 for their academy roster, it has us at Gromp News not leaving out the possibility of their League academy team joining the Nordic Championship.
Splyce on the other hand, has no link to Poland, apart from the fact that they have recently singed Humanoid to their roster. The player had been applying his trade for Illuminar Gaming in the ESLMP, possibly hinting that they may have been looking at the circuit from the beginning? Like we said it’s a long shot. The obvious option would be the ESL/UK circuit considering Splyce’s European Operations Manager is from Britain. But, their are already three teams heavily linked in joining the British scene so it looks unlikely.
To conclude, it’s unbelievably interesting seeing these organisations branching into the amateur leagues. With the European Masters as well being a worlds-like tournament for the best teams in the National Circuit, it’s yet another way for European teams to get one over on their rivals. We will make sure we keep up to date with all confirmed destinations when they are available and any rosters that will be announced. Academy matters as well.
By Tom Daniels