The LEC Preview: Schalke 04

Welcome to the fourth LEC Preview! We here at Gromp News have made it our goal to go through all of the new (and old) sides in the upcoming League of Legends European Championship.

In this preview, it’s time to talk about one of the originators of inter-branding between conventional sports and Esports. Let’s talk about Schalke 04 Esports!

600px-Schalke_04_Esportslogo_square

The organisation caused a storm last split securing second place, eventually losing to worlds finalists Fnatic. However, with a major roster shakeup by almost every team in the league, have their changes, both on the rift and behind the scene, helped them stay competitive?

A backroom from abroad

Schalke 04 have made two major changes in their backroom staff. Firstly was the announcement that former Fnatic head coach Dylan Falco is the German org’s new head coach. This came as a shock too many people as he had just led Fnatic to a Worlds final appearance. Falco has performed as well as he possibly could with all the teams he has been the coach of. However, to say that it was solely because of Falco’s coaching that Fnatic was so dominant would be wrong. Many have seen YoungBuck (Fnatic’s current head coach) as the mastermind behind the scenes of the teams’ success. Still, this does not discredit the work Falco has done. He has the chance to show everybody his skills now that Youngbuck’s shadow is not in the way.

It’s not only Falco who has joined the organisation this season. Making his European debut, DLim has joined Schalke 04. DLim is another Canadian who has made his way into the LEC. he has coaching experience with Clutch gaming and Team Liquid in the LCS so he could become a huge asset for Europe in the coming years. We here at Gromp news love the arrival of DLim and expect him and Falco to excel in coaching the Schalke roster.

Finally, Amazing has decided to step down from the Jungle to become Schalke’s strategic coach. This is a bold move but one which should pay off. Amazing is always known for his knowledge of League of Legends and if he can communicate well with the roster as a coach, he should improve their game as a whole (Corrected: Amazing is the Schalke Academy strategic coach. However, I still expect him to have an input with the whole organisation. Credit: G4l4dor). Overall, the whole backroom staff has a good mixture of experience and innovation. Something that is expected from a German team. Many people may discredit Falco’s achievements but, he is certainly wanting to show the world that he can take this team to the top.

Schalke’s underdog lineup

Top Laner: Odoamne
Jungler: Memento
Mid Laner: Abbedagge
ADC: Upset
Support: IgNar

Schalke’s side this year is mostly a mixture of familiar faces with various degrees of experience. But, it would be unfair to not start with the new face on the block, Abbedagge. The German-born mid laner is yet another European player looking to dominate the centre of the rift. While it’s hard to state how well he will perform, the track record for EU mid laners speaks for its self. While players like MagiFelix and Nemesis have been the more heavily touted European mid laners, Abbedagge cannot be considered a cheaper option. He played alongside highly rated and now TSM’s Broken Blade in the Turkish league with Royal Bandits last split. Whilst also having a stint with Vitality’s Academy roster. While there were safer options, Schalke has decided to take a risk in the hopes they find a superstar. His inexperience could show at first however as the split develops, he may become a vital part of Schalke’s success or downfall in spring. Still, the big overarching question is, can he perform to the extent Nukeduck did last split?

Memento and Upset are back together at Schalke yet again. This time in the top tier of European League of Legends. When Schalke qualified for the then EULCS last spring, it was a shame to see Upset and Memento split up considering their performances in the challenger scene. However, with ROCCAT sadly not making it into the franchise system, it paved a way for the Jungler to return to the German team. Memento didn’t have a successful time at ROCCAT and considering this was his first full season with a top tier side, it left a bitter taste in people’s mouths. So, it’s understanding why many people weren’t overjoyed when this signing was announced unless you were a Schalke fan in the challenger scene. Much like Abbedagge, Memento carries his own risks, what he has in mechanical skills he lacks in showing his full ability on the big stage. Possibly going back to Schalke and Schalke’s trust in him as a player is enough to push Memento to unlock his untapped ability.

Nobody will be better at making Memento’s job easier than Upset. The ADC was a standout player in the summer and regarded as one of the carries of the side alongside Nukeduck. It was vital that if the midlaner was leaving. Upset was staying. Going into his second full year more will be expected from the German player, considering he will be no longer a rookie he will have more pressure to perform. It’s essentially a role reversal from last season as Nukeduck had the expectation to carry. The main issue with Upset is his consistency if he can remain influential throughout every game the players then he has the ability to win a game due to his mechanical skill. However, he has a tendency to not show up in some match-ups and this could cause more of a problem this season. If only he had a Korean Worlds quarter-finalist who could keep him consistent as his support…

Oh, it’s former Misfits support and Worlds quarter-finalist IgNar as Upset’s support. All jokes aside, this is a massive acquisition for Schalke. After leaving Misfits in 2017, IgNar returned to Korea where he had a calamitous time with BBQ Olivers. We here at Gromp News can happily say that we are glad that he is back in Europe. He will be ready to prove yet again that he could be one of the best supports in the west. IgNar will be able to provide Upset with the right tools to succeed in lane, meaning this bot lane should be one of the most threatening in the league. If both can reach the form they have had in prior seasons. The most interesting matchup will see IgNar face up against his former Misfits partner Hans Sama, who has a new Korean in GorillA backing him up. The support landscape has changed since IgNar was last in Europe. But he should be able to perform in this Schalke side and put his Korean nightmare behind him.

Last but not least Odoamne will be leading this side from the top lane. The Romanian player swapped his life at Splyce to Schalke following essentially a swap with former top laner Vizicsacsi. While nothing has been confirmed we here at Gromp News speculate that it was more Schalke wanting Odoamne, than Vizicsacsi wanting to leave given Schalke’s performance last split. The German team clearly sees a leader in Odoamne and somebody who can push their side in the top lane, similarly to his role with Splyce. Mechanically it seems very close between the two top laners. However, maybe the best for both players were to swap teams and see if they can drive their respective organisations to success. The former H2K player should have no issues adapting to a new Schalke line-up and expect him to be a dependable figure for Schalke this season.

Hit and Miss?

To conclude, while we here at Gromp News like all the staff and players involved with the organisation. There doesn’t seem to be a player, right now, which makes us believe that they are a title winning side. With every other team seemingly improving their rosters, it seems that Schalke’s side in terms of quality has remained the same. Memento and IgNar are coming off the back of sub-par performances for their sides last season and the loss of Nukeduck will certainly hurt while Abbedagge is finding his feet. However, the potential of this side is higher than most teams in the league. If Odoamne and Upset can remain consistent, IgNar and Memento show their true form and Abbedagge prove his worth. Then this side could be an unlikely underdog. With all that being said, you have to commend the organisation as a whole. They are giving German players and players in the surrounding area a chance to succeed. We here at Gromp News wish Schalke all the best.
Rating
Coaching: B-
Players: B
Predicted finish: 6th

By Tom Daniels

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