- Edward Brady
LEC WEEK 3 DAY1 RECAP: NEW YEAR, NEW FACES
Updated: Jan 31, 2022
It’s a special time whenever a league starts back up. Hype builds, fans rejoice, and everyone wants to see their favorite pros take to the rift. What people tend to forget is that teams are still working out synergies, ironing out flaws, and the quality of play at the start of the split is usually quite low. Even the broadcast and tech teams are usually working off rust and nerves in the early weeks. Nothing is really indicative of how things usually are. Thus, you can’t really start judging teams by 1 or 2 games, that would be a massive overreaction.
That said, the first 2 weeks are out of the way, so let’s overreact to the first day of games! We saw a Match of the Weak, what should have been Match of the Week, and narrowly avoided a throw so powerful it could try out as an MLB pitcher. I will be breaking down the results of each game in-depth and giving a quick headline of how it went. Let’s get started...
GAME 1: BDS (2-4) > Astralis (0-6)
TLDR: Team BDS play a clean game from start to finish in the “match of the weak”
Summary: That was one of the more one-sided games of the season. Cinkrof continued to be the shining star of Team BDS as the young lineup secured their 2nd win. His Diana helped secure an early lead for BDS, and this time, it actually translated into good late-game fights. NUCLEARINT did a great job at spotting out WhiteKnight’s Kennen when he tried to go for flanking ultimates. Adam had a solid performance on his signature Olaf top. BDS would secure all 4 dragons, Baron, and a sizable gold lead on their way to victory. Cinkrof posted an 8/0/5 scoreline as he ran Zanzarah’s Viego over. The bot lane continued to be a bit underwhelming as they got caught out a bit in the early game, but overall, it was a clean victory and a much-needed morale boost for the young roster.
As for Astralis, what more is there to say about them. Nobody is looking like they are even top 5 in their roles, they still haven’t learned how to play the early game, and at 0-6, the split is looking to be all but dead. I honestly feel nothing when I look at this team. It’s a shame considering how close they were to playoffs last year, but it finally looks like Astralis will be living up to their nickname of “Lastralis” in Spring 2022. The only title they will be fighting for is the title of the worst team in the LEC when they play SK Gaming next week. For the first time in their history, they are a favorite to claim a title of some kind.
Game 2: MAD Lions (4-2) > Excel (2-4)
TLDR: MAD Lions win a game of objective flips. Excel shows good things but can’t secure a win in MikyX’s 1st game back
Summary: Before the match even began, Excel Esports announced a huge change in their roster. They would be benching Advienne for the rest of the split and signing G2 legend MikyX. This elicited 2 reactions from people. The elation that MikyX got a starting spot in the LEC. It was practically criminal that the man couldn’t find a team for his services after everything he has done on the highest level. On the other hand, there was mass frustration that Excel continued its tradition of completely leaving rookies out to dry. The benching was not discussed with Adrienne, came right out of nowhere, was at the beginning of a split thus ruining his chances at finding another team, and Adrienne was not an issue. While it is great to see MikyX back, Excel should be criticized for its continuous mismanagement of young talent. This might come back to bite them in the long run.
As for the game itself, it certainly was… interesting. MAD Lions took a pretty considerable lead over XL in the early game, but this was expected. XL ran a heavy scaling comp with a Gwen for Finn, Senna for Patrik, and Veigar for Nukeduck. When it came to the mid and late-game fights, that was when it got weird. XL did not look to be on the same page in some key fights (because they added a new player just days before game day) and they ended up getting a baron stolen from them thanks to some heroics from Elyoya. MAD couldn’t quite hit the jugular, but they did have the Hextech soul and were looking to pick up a 2nd Baron. Then Markoon stole it because the Baron knocked up Elyoya’s Lee Sin before he could get back in the pit. The game became close again, the scaling was online. But a great flank from Armut’s Akali quickly dropped Nukeduck and allowed the rest of MAD to stomp the team fight. XL continues to be underwhelming, but MAD Lions are starting to hit their stride. They appear to have struck gold with the rookie development yet again. Reeker and especially UNF0RGIVEN are the real deal, and I am excited to see what they do next.
Game 3: Vitality (3-3) > SK Gaming (1-5)
TLDR: The super team plays a team that hasn’t been relevant in almost a decade. It goes about as expected.
Summary: Not really much to say about this one. After the 1st blood for SK turned into double buffs for Perkz, the game was a complete slaughter in Vitality’s favor. Selfmade’s Gwen ran rampant over SK, Perkz was unstoppable, Carzzy and Labrov were far ahead, and Alphari was solid on Jayce. The only thing of note was that SK did get a good fight in their own base down a ton of gold. Vitality quickly snuffed that hope out. Their death was greatly exaggerated, and the team looks to be hitting its stride. SK still looks incredibly underwhelming in most positions.
Game 4: Rogue (6-0) > Fnatic (5-1)
TLDR: Constant early pressure from Malrang win Rogue the battle of the unbeaten
Summary: What probably should’ve been Match of the Week lived up to expectations. From start to finish, Malrang was everywhere! His Viego lived more in the lanes than he did in the jungle. Fnatic didn’t roll over and get stomped, however. Despite the massive kill deficits they were in, the gold and objectives were remarkably even for the longest time. Malrang might have had 5 kills, but Razork was out farming him by a massive amount. Larssen may have had a ton of presence on the Twisted Fate, but Humanoid kept up the CS. Upset and Hyli were still a win condition despite Trymbi’s excellent Janna play and Comp’s very solid Jhin. The kill score didn’t sell how even the game was. If Fnatic ever got to drop an Orianna/Diana/Renekton combo, the immobile carries of Rogue would drop dead in an instant.
Rogue did a good job of making sure that never happened. Larssen and Malrang were playing the games of their lives. Malrang got at least something on almost all of his ganks. Larssen got a few kills early and never looked back. The bot lane of Comp and Trymbi was a stable rock that was very capable of carrying. Comp did a great job of staying safe and Trymbi kept his team healthy and kept Razork and Wunder out of the backlines. Rogue didn’t make stupid decisions, they didn’t throw a lead, they just kept up the pressure and put the foot on Fnatic’s throat. Larssen and Comp went deathless. Malrang finished with an 8/1/6 scoreline and 2k gold ahead of Razork despite being down over 40 CS. It is strange to say, but Rogue looks at least as good as they did last year! They now hold the sole position of 1st, have started 6-0 for the first time in their history, and are tied for their longest winning streak ever. The big question will be if they can translate this to postseason success. Regardless, Rogue has been one of the biggest surprises of 2022 so far and I am actually excited to see where they go next.
As for Fnatic, they need to simply shake this off and move onto the next one. “Regular season Rogue” is a thing for a reason after all. It says a lot that despite now winning 6 of the last 7 regular season matches, the FNC/RGE head-to-head is 12-7 in Fnatic’s favor. They are still in prime position for a top spot and there is no need to panic.
Game 5: G2 (4-2) > Misfits Gaming (3-3)
TLDR: How on God’s green earth did G2 almost lose that???
Summary: Seriously, what just happened?
That should have been an easy victory for G2. A good gank from Janoks’ Jarvan IV landed caPs’ Ryze first blood and G2 never looked back. G2 completely ran over the game in almost every aspect. G2 had ocean soul and a massive gold lead. The game was all but over and it was a strong bounce-back game from G2 with caPs and Broken Blade being stars of the show. Targamas looked great on Rakan, Flakked had scaled well on Senna. It was absolutely one-sided and routine.
Until G2 embraced a tradition they created in 2021. They threw at Elder Dragon.
It’s almost incredible how G2 manages to consistently do that. Only a few minutes later, Shlatan’s Xin Zhao won the 50/50 smite fight against Jankos and took the Baron. Misfits barreled down the mid-lane after winning a fight and they looked to secure the game and cement G2’s throw of the century. Then Flakked got a quadra-kill as he stopped Misfits from ending the game. That base defense was enough for G2 to finish off Misfits.
Can we just hand both teams a loss? I don’t think either team is happy with that. G2 isn't happy because they almost managed to lose an unlosable game. Misfits isn’t happy because they got slaughtered for 28 minutes and fumbled the comeback at the last possible moment. It was certainly entertaining, but both teams will be going back to the drawing board.
The LEC will begin tomorrow at 10 am CST with SK Gaming vs Team BDS.
You can catch all the actions on https://www.twitch.tv/lec, the LEC YouTube channel,