The main favorites and outsiders of the group stage of LEC Winter 2023


On February 11, LEC Winter 2023 – Stage 2 will begin at the Riot Games studio in Berlin. Simply put, it will be the start of the group stage of the winter split in the European regional league.

10 teams were fighting in one qualifying stage with Round Robin bo1 matches during the whole of January. Excel and Fnatic have left without the next stage of LEC Winter and the remaining 8 teams will have to fight for 4 slots in the playoffs.

The big European League of Legends begins this Saturday and due to this, we propose to learn about the participants of LEC Winter 2023. We will highlight the main favorites and outsiders, predict who advances to the playoffs and prepare for the start of the first matches.

The format of LEC Winter 2023

In the new competitive year, the European League of Legends will suffer changes. Now, we will see 3 stages of the winter split:

  • The qualifying stage – one group with 10 teams playing Round Robin matches
  • The group stage – two quartets, matches are carried out in the GSL format
  • The playoffs – a Double-Elimination bracket

The main reward for participating in LEC Winter 2023 is ~43,959 dollars of prize money. The main prize will be a slot in the final competition in Europe – LEC Finals and also a ticket to Mid-Season Invitational 2023.

The participants of LEC Winter 2023

After the end of the first stage of LEC Winter 2023, only 8 teams have left in the race for slots in the playoffs. They were divided into two groups.

Participants of Group А at LEC Winter 2023 – Stage 2

Team Vitality

Photon, Bo, Perkz, Neon, Kaiser

SK Gaming

Irrelevant, Markoon, Sertuss, Exakick, Doss

Team Heretics

Evi, Jankos, Ruby, Jackspektra, Mersa


Szygenda, Malrang, Larssen, Comp, Trymbi

Participants of Group В at LEC Winter 2023 – Stage 2

MAD Lions

Chasy, Elyoya, Nisqy, Carzyy, Hylissang

G2 Esports

BrokenBlade, Yike, Caps, Hans Sama, Mikyx

Team BDS

Adam, Sheo, nuc, Crownie, Labrov


Finn, 113, Dajor, Kobbe, JeongHoon

The principle of team distribution is based on their performance. Riot Games divided quartets hoping to balance the power of each four teams: the teams to place 1st, 3rd, 6th, and 7th are in Group A, and Group B includes the participants to place 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 8th, respectively.

The attempt is good but the idea is too utopic. Anyway, Group A looks much weaker than their colleagues from Group B. But it can be the first impression and everything will be different in action.

We will try to figure out the presence or absence of balance in the group stage in this material.

Group А at LEC Winter 2023 – Stage 2

4 teams are in quartet A: Team Vitality, SK Gaming, and Team Heretics. If we look at tags, paying no attention to what was happening in the qualifying stage, we could assume that the battle will be fierce but it will not.

There is a big chance that one of the teams will finish this stage first. This team is Team Vitality.

A free playoff entry for Vitality

The main favorites and outsiders of the group stage of LEC Winter 2023. Photo 2

Vitality has been a constant participant in LEC since 2016. For 6 years, the team was trying to reach the top of the European League of Legends without success.

Before the 13th competitive season, the team showed its best result in 2018: having Cabochard, Kikis, Jizuke, Attila, Jactroll on the roster, the club held 3rd place at LEC Summer 2018 and visited the South Korean Worlds, as a result.

At the World Championship, “the bees” predictably failed, being unable to resist the pressure of the more titled opponents: Vitality lost to RNG and Cloud9 in the group stage, although they beat their counterparts, finishing Group B with a score of 3-3.

In 2023, Vitality is as close as possible to the peak result of the French club. The team did a great job with players: the top laner Photon who used to play for T1 Challengers and the academy roster of Gen.G, Bo who played for FPX in 2021-2022, and Neon who represented Misfits joined the team.

The newcomers of Vitality reinforced Perkz and Kaiser. The refreshed roster of Team Vitality improved rapidly and showed its abilities at LEC Winter 2023 – Stage 1.

The team held 1st place in Round Robin, having played the first stage with a score of 7-2. On its way to the group stage, Vitality lost only to SK Gaming and KOI.

Now, Vitality has a chance to avenge its offenders. However, the scenario with a loss may repeat but it is less possible – matches are played to two victories in the group stage, which makes the life of Vitality’s opponents more complicated.

Having two strong legionnaires in the face of Photon and Bo, the team should pass the group stage without problems. We are waiting for the start of matches on February 11 to make sure of this.

The attempt to rehabilitate for KOI

The main favorites and outsiders of the group stage of LEC Winter 2023. Photo 3

Besides Fnatic, KOI was one of the main disappointments of LEC Winter 2023 – Stage 1. The group stage can become a lifeline for the Spanish club.

Nominally, LEC Winter 2023 is the first tournament of the prestigious series for the organization but in fact, KOI holds the title of the reigning champion.

Malrang, Larssen, Comp, and Trymbi who prevailed at LEC Summer 2022 play on the roster. The experienced core seems to feel uncomfortable after the transfer of Szygenda who used to represent Vitality.Bee.

The famous team played mediocre in the first stage: the team won 4 matches out of 9. This is a bad result for the team claiming the championship but there is still a chance to solve the situation.

SK Gaming and Team Heretics: a chance to shine

The main favorites and outsiders of the group stage of LEC Winter 2023. Photo 4

Together with the titled teams Vitality and KOI, SK Gaming and Team Heretics entered Group A. The group stage will be a real challenge.

Team Heretics has recently joined the LEC ecosystem. At the end of 2022, the club bought Misfits’ LEC slot, having become a part of the biggest tournament league in Europe.

SK Gaming, instead, has been a regular resident of LEC since 2013. Since that very 2013, SK Gaming managed to break into the TOP-3 only in 2014, after which they disappeared into oblivion until 2019.

Having returned to LEC in 2019, SK Gaming reached the top 6, holding this position in 2020 and 2021.

Looking at the performance in 2023, the second one shows the result, which is worth the playoffs. Having switched to the tactics of growing its team, SK Gaming placed 3rd in the first tour, having played with a score of 6-3 and defeated the teams like Vitality, G2 Esports, and KOI.

Heretics showed a good level of play in its debut year, having held 6th place out of 10 and won 4 maps out of 5. Like SK, they might create problems for Vitality but there is one big “but”.

Bo1 matches were played in the qualifying stage and this format is known as “the underdog format”. Complete bo3 matches will not benefit SK and Team Heretics.

Group B at LEC Winter 2023 – Stage 2

The main favorites and outsiders of the group stage of LEC Winter 2023. Photo 5

The teams to place 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 8th got in Group B: MAD Lions, G2 Esports, Team BDS, and Astralis. They will be competing for 2 slots in the playoffs and the situation looks more interesting here than in Group A.

MAD Lions – the first contender to advance to the playoffs from Group B

The main favorites and outsiders of the group stage of LEC Winter 2023. Photo 6

MAD Lions is an obvious candidate to proceed to the playoffs from Group B. The team demonstrated one of the stable results in the first stage and all was due to a wise approach to building in-team synergy and a very successful transfer window.

MAD Lions has been on top of the European League of Legends since 2020. The team has visited all World Championships since then and it did thanks to the core of Chasy and Elyoya. In 2022, the Japanese and Spaniard were joined by Nisqy who used to play for Fnatic, Hylissang (also a former member of Fnatic), and Carzzy from Team Vitality.

They look strong and the results are relevant: the team played the first stage of LEC Winter 2023 with a score of 7-2, having accompanied Vitality on the top of the standings. Two losses in the Bo1 stage are nothing amid Vitality’s overall play.

Elyoya is still good and will lead “the lions” to the playoffs.

G2 Esports – is it still a standard?

The main favorites and outsiders of the group stage of LEC Winter 2023. Photo 7

“The Samurais” have been engaged in hegemony in the European region for 5 years: from 2016 to 2020. There was a little decline in 2021, and a failure at Worlds in 2022, and the team is going to become the best one in Europe in 2023 once again.

At the start of the season, they received support from, probably, the most hyped player in the region, the Frenchman Hans sama, and, also, invited Mikyx to remember the old times. Accompanied by BrokenBlad, the Swede Yike from LDLC OL, and the G2 legend, Caps, G2 passed the first stage confidently, although losing three times.

G2 Esports lost to SK, Vitality, and MAD Lions in the qualifying stage. They will have a chance to avenge the last one in the second round of Group B but it is more complicated with the revenge for SK and Vitality – they will need to advance to Stage 2 first but there should be no problems.

A chance for BDS and the valuable experience for Astralis

The main favorites and outsiders of the group stage of LEC Winter 2023. Photo 8

BDS and Astralis are staying aside. Despite making it to the group stage, both teams look weaker than their colleagues in the quartet.

BDS advanced to the group stage, having shown a decent performance for the team that decided to rely on “the roster built the ground up”: the French prevailed in 5 matches and lost 4.

Astralis was the last one to enter the departing train. The roster of the Danish club played 3-6 and held the marginal 8th place.

Of course, it is not worth diminishing the achievements of teams but the case of Astralis and BDS is similar to the situation with Team Heretics and SK in Group A. Bo3 matches will be a drawback for the teams and, considering the fact that they will start their performance with matches against MAD Lions and G2 Esports, they are likely to be eliminated from the group after the second tour.

However, it is too early to write off both of them, it is better to wait for real matches. For example, BDS outplayed MAD Lions and which means that the young and prospective French players might have tricks up their sleeves.

The first matches at LEC Winter 2023 – Stage 2 start on February 11. Matches from Group A will be the opening ones.

We do not recommend missing the start of the new stage of the winter split. We will be following the action and analyzing the events of the European League of Legends.


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