Two of the LEC’s biggest surprises also played the most EMEA Champions Queue games this split

Hard work will always pay off.

Around the world, there are some League of Legends players that are born with great mechanical and macro-based skills. But for the majority of the player base, you simply need to put in the time in order to improve, and in Europe, two professional LEC teams have shown that you can break expectations by putting the time into one’s craft.

After watching the North American pro scene gain access to a high-rank, invite-only server called the Champions Queue, high level EMEA League players were given access to the EMEA Champions Queue this past January. Over the last two weeks, high ranked players have been battling it out on the Summoner’s Rift, but only two LEC teams have stood tall among the rest of their peers: SK Gaming and Astralis.

As of Thursday, Feb. 9, there have only been 14 different LEC players who have recorded more than 20 games in Champions Queue, with nine of those pros coming from the two organizations. Astralis’ new support Lee “JeongHoon” Jeong-hoon currently has the most win of any player in the server with 28 wins over 45 games, according to Champions Queue stats aggregate Prock.

Astralis’ jungler Doğukan “113” Balcı is right behind with 27 wins over 53 games, while the team’s top laner Finn Wiestål has 26 wins through 45 games. Overall, the organization has prioritized practice through the service, and it is paying off in spades with the team qualifying for the group stage of the 2023 Winter Split over Fnatic and Excel Esports.

SK, on the other hand, has four of its five players with more than 20 games played in Champions queue, while also skyrocketing into third place in the regular season with an impressive 6-2 record. The team’s jungler Mark “Markoon” van Woensel currently has the eighth-most LP of any players in the server, boasting 22 wins through 36 games.

These teams have seen great success this season, and in practice, Champions Queue is a great tool for pro players to get some games against the best players in Europe. There are, however, a few pros that are already complaining about the lack of games in the server.

For example, Team Vitality’s star jungler Zhou “Bo” Yang-Bo asked why pro players weren’t using Champions Queue on his social media today, while former SK support Erik “Treatz” Wessén lamented around the “absolutely horrendous” state of the server, and how hard it was to find a high quality game.

Some people are still hopeful that the server will start to get more use from professionals, so they can help improve the level of competition in the region one game at a time.

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