LEC Week 4 Day 2 Recap: Halfway There
- By Edward Brady
The final day of week 4 of the European League of Legends Championship has wrapped up and it was one heck of a way to reach the halfway point. Longstanding narratives were killed, massive throws were had, and the death of two of the most prominent memes in the LEC makes me wonder if we are reaching the end times. 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 Misfits Gaming (5-4) > SK Gaming (2-7)
TLDR: SK show some signs of life, but falters. Vetheo plays out of his mind.
Summary: For one of the first times this season, SK Gaming had an early game that wasn’t completely terrible. Jezu’s Jinx had a sizable lead thanks to some misplays by Mersa, Gillius was where he needed to be, and HiRit’s Renekton was being neutralized by Jenax’s Gragas.
Then SK took a fight at Rift Herald without Jezu in position, Vetheo got 4 kills on Yasuo, and SK were aced. Everything went downhill for SK from there.
Vetheo was untouchable and a complete menace in every fight after the Herald. His Yasuo worked with Shlatan’s Diana incredibly well and he probably could’ve won almost every fight Misfits took by himself. He ended up going 12/2/6 (That 2nd death only happened because he misjudged where his ultimate would take him while he was killing Jezu as MSF were taking the base). He had a very promising 2021 and I’m glad to see he is still capable of these massive carry performances. Misfits end the first round robin with a winning record. Given all the changes that happened and the uncertain expectations, things could be a lot worse.
As for SK, they have definitely proven themselves as the 9th best team in LEC. They are certainly no Astralis, but they are nowhere near competing for anything meaningful. You could make a case for 8/10 teams in the LEC to make playoffs in the league’s current state of parity. That talk stops at SK, who continue to disappoint.
Game 2: MAD Lions (5-4) > BDS (3-6)
TLDR: MAD Lions never say die and pull off the comeback. BDS lose a winnable game in brutal fashion
Summary: That was a very MAD Lions-esque game. It was long, bloody, a bit messy, but certainly exciting.
Team BDS actually had a good shot at winning that game. Xmatty’s Varus dealt massive amounts of poke every fight alongside NUCLEARINT’s Leblanc, Cinkrof’s Xin Zhao was as good as ever, and Adam’s Camille was very strong in a side lane. They had a 4k baron power play at 27 minutes, a 6k gold lead and were on the verge of cracking the mid inhibitor tower.
Then Adam dived into 3 members of MAD for no reason.
Thus began a long, painful series of events where BDS consistently shot themselves in the foot and wrested defeat from the jaws of victory. Almost nobody could properly translate their lead to a good team fight. They overextended and went way too deep (Adam in particular) constantly. The fight after Baron mostly consisted of BDS running in one after another to die. LIMIT face checked a bush with zero vision while his base was under siege. Xmatty got hit by a dodge-able Lee Sin Q from Elyoya and died with flash up after getting Guardian Angel popped in the final fight.
For MAD Lions, that was a much-needed victory on multiple accounts. After an unexpectedly strong start, MAD had begun to slip a bit and needed a confidence booster to end the round robin. From a standings perspective, this game was the difference between keeping up with the rest of the pack, and a potential 5-way tie for 5th.While MAD Lions still have issues to iron out, they have begun to correct their course and it’s looking to be a better year than expected.
As for BDS, they had a statement victory in the palm of their hands but let it slip away. And they have nobody to blame but themselves. Adam blew his lead and was almost nonexistent in every team fight in the late game. NUCLEARINT completely botched the Baron fight. Xmatty died with flash up at the worst possible moment. LIMIT failed at basic fundamentals in the clutch. It’s a young team so it is expected they aren’t going to be world-class, but it is severely disappointing to see a team with potential continually kill themselves via unforced errors. Cinkrof doesn’t deserve this.
Game 3: Vitality (5-4) > Astralis (0-9)
TLDR: Vitality narrowly avoid the upset in one of their ugliest wins yet. Astralis throw away a prime opportunity to avoid a winless season.
Summary: This was one of those games that you just want to give both teams a loss. Not only was Astralis beating Vitality, they were wiping the floor with them! Alphari was looking horrible alongside Selfmade while WhiteKnight was having his best game of the season on Jayce. The kill score was 12 to 3 at one point! Perkz was the only point of power as everyone on Astralis played way above what was expected.
Yet somehow, Astralis found a way to lose that game. Selfmade and Perkz stole a Baron to bring Vitality back from the brink. Despite the gold lead and the soul, Astralis got slaughtered in the final fight. Dajor was caught out and bursted down. Zanzarah and WhiteKnight could do nothing. Kobbe only killed Labrov and Selfmade. Promisq wasn’t even there for the first few moments and missed everything by a country mile as he and Kobbe were quickly cleaned up.
Team Vitality almost loss to Astralis. That somehow feels worse than the 0-3 week. At least that one can be chalked up to covid and new roster issues. This one was a completely inexcusable game for a supposed super team. I expect they will turn it around when it matters, (worse teams have had bigger turnarounds in the clutch) but I highly doubt this is what people expected they were getting when they saw this roster at the beginning of the offseason.
For Astralis, what more is there to say? This is an organization that uses Twitlonger for major announcements. They had a prime opportunity to do something right this season and they let it slip away. It was their game to lose and they did just that. At this point, I just want them to embrace going 0-18. It’s quite possibly the only way people will care about them.
Game 4 Excel (4-5) > Fnatic (6-3)
TLDR: The curse is broken! Solid performances all around net XL a critical win
Summary: After 13 games, 7 splits, and 3 years of losses, Excel Esports have finally taken a win over Fnatic!
It wasn’t even Fnatic really choking like the rest of the games have been today, it was just XL playing great LoL! Finn was a monster on the Graves, completely unstoppable throughout all parts of the game as he went deathless on a pick that has had horrible results in LEC so far. Markoon and MikyX were critical parts of the win with great engages to kick off fights as they gave their carries room to work. Patrik matched Upset blow for blow despite the latter’s great performance and impressive reputation. When push came to shove, he ran over Fnatic in the crucial fights ending with only 1 death and an 89% kill participation. Nukeduck had Humanoid’s number and his Corki was both a critical carry and an insurance policy if the game went long. That was Excel’s most complete game of the season and it came against a team that was favored to win the split. This was a much-needed momentum boost for a team that was disappointing their fans and puts XL back into the pack hunting for the last playoff spots.
As for Fnatic, that was another not so solid game. I still wouldn’t throw the panic switch, but the luster of the first two weeks are starting to wear off a bit. These next two weeks will be great opportunities to correct their course as they play 2 bottom feeders and the two teams above them. They just need to shake off the past two weeks and get back to business.
Game 5: Rogue (9-0) > G2 (6-3)
TLDR: Rogue finally slay their demons on their way to an unbeaten first half.
Summary: Despite all statistics and common logic saying this should have been completely expected, I still can’t believe it finally happened.
Much like XL/FNC, after 13 attempts, Rogue have finally beaten G2 Esports in a regular season game. This one felt especially big considering G2 was always Rogue’s kryptonite. FNC/XL was usually just a top team vs a bottom team. Rogue was considered good, but their constant playoff failure and complete inability to beat G2 took them out of the conversation for true contenders.
But despite losing two of their franchise faces and being considered all but dead, Rogue slaughtered G2! It honestly wasn’t even close! Odoamne’s Akshan into Broken Blade’s Akali worked wonders. Caps never really got to make use of the strengths of Twisted Fate. Larssen was dominant on the Corki. Comp was a great source of clean up damage and was an absolute sniper with the Jinx ultimates. Trymbi did everything he needed to do. It was a complete stomp almost from start to finish and must have been very cathartic for the long time members or Rogue.
A team people considered mid-tier at best did what some of the best players EU has ever seen couldn’t do. We are only halfway through Spring Split and nothing makes sense.
That wraps up week 4, and the first round-robin. Rogue stands alone unbeaten at the top of the pack. G2 and Fnatic tie for second with February 19th being one of the most important days of the season. MAD, Misfits, and Vitality all make up the final 3, but Excel is hot on their heels. BDS sits on the outside looking in. And SK and Astralis are all but dead already. With the second round-robin beginning next week, many of the bottom of the table teams will be looking for revenge against those that slain them. The LEC will resume Friday at 11 am CST with Rogue vs Astralis. You can catch all the actions on https://www.twitch.tv/lec, the LEC YouTube channel, lolesports.com.