The 2024 LEC lineup looks quite different from 2023, but these changes are not as drastic as they seem despite KOI Infinite Reality, Astralis, and Excel seemingly disappearing and being replaced by KCorp, Giantx, and Rogue.
The LEC has had its fair share of teams coming and going over the year. In 2024, one brand returns, new alliances are formed, and a new challenger joins the lines. The European league will continue to feature 10 teams and is keeping the three-split format. The LoL esports competition starts earlier than in other regions, with Europe jump-starting what will be a transformative year of League of Legends.
Some might look over the many changes that have come to the LCS in 2024 and wonder if the LEC is in similarly dire straits with Astralis, KOI Infinite Reality, and Excel all vanishing. That’s not the case though, as the changes are mostly just a matter of mergers and new partnerships. Mostly.
What happened to KOI and Infinite Reality?
KOI and Infinite Reality are both still in LEC, they are just using different branding.
The Spanish organization owned by former caster Ibai “Ibai” Llanos and Gerard Pique joined the LEC in 2023. KOI signed an agreement with Infinite Reality, the company behind Rogue. As part of the agreement, KOI took over Rogue’s franchise in the LEC during 2023.
KOI had its best result in the opening season with a third-place finish in the Winter playoffs. What promised to be an exciting journey for KOI quickly turned into a disappointing performance. As a result, The KOI and Infinite Reality partnership was dissolved, with Infinite Reality retaining the franchise and bringing back the Rogue brand to the LEC for the 2024 season.
Not one to give up on its dream to be in the LEC, KOI then signed a partnership agreement with MAD Lions. For 2024, Koi and MAD Lions united under the name MAD Lions KOI. LEC staple Excel Esports made a similar move that will see the brand taken out of the league in 2024.
Did Astralis shut down?
Astralis had little to no impact on the LEC during its three years in the league, joining after absorbing the franchise from its sister team, Origen. The only notable result is second place in the 2023 Spring regular season, which it failed to capitalize on during the playoffs.
It doesn’t come as a big surprise that Astralis decided to put its LEC slot up for sale, especially considering the struggles the organization has been facing across many of its rosters. In October, popular French organization Karmine Corp confirmed the partial acquisition of Astralis’ slot.
According to a press release by Astralis, the organization has retained 33% of the slot so it technically still has its foot in the LEC’s door, but it’s gone by all appearances with Karmine Corp taking its place. This deal also wouldn’t afford an opportunity for a KOI or Rogue-style comeback to the LEC down the road unless something shocking happens.
KCorp was one of the most popular brands in European League of Legends despite competing in the LFL and was reportedly looking for a way into the LEC for the 2023 season, though this didn’t come to pass. The organization has a large, loud following that could redefine how live competition feels in Europe.
Why isn’t Excel in the LEC in 2024?
British team Excel Esports and Spanish team Giants have merged to form Giantx, which includes the LEC franchise. Both organizations are betting big on this union, deciding to stop using their established social media channels in favor of the Giantx account.
Excel fell short of qualifying for the LEC playoffs more often than not, though it found some success in 2023 with a second-place finish in the Summer Season. Giants was among the best SuperLiga teams on an almost annual basis, and notably finished second in EU Masters Summer 2019. Both organizations have something the other wants, with Giants getting Excel’s LEC franchise and Excel getting Giants’ fanbase. It will be interesting to see whether Giantx works out either commercially or competitively.