LEC Week 5 Day 2 Recap: Upset City
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 end the week. The top team fell flat, old rivals picked up key wins, and long dead teams either received the killing blow or found a second wind. 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 XL (6-5) > BDS (3-8)
TLDR: XL claw their way to a 2-0 week. BDS continue to find new ways to lose.
Summary: At the highest level of League of Legends, some matches have been compared to chess matches.
This one was a bar fight.
The fighting started early between Adam’s Jayce and Finn’s Irelia and it never stopped for even a moment. The game was bloody, messy, and mostly consisted of the two teams trading picks with one another while the gold remained even.
At the end of the day, XL had more in the tank and made fewer mistakes in the clutch. Patrik’s Aphelios continues to be an incredibly scary pick and helped carry XL over the finish line. With this win, Excel are actually in a decent spot for playoffs. They hold head-to-head with Vitality and can split games with Misfits and MAD Lions. If there is any split to break the curse, it would be this one.
Meanwhile BDS continue to have flashes of great play that are tainted by failing fundamentals and shooting themselves in the foot. Adam got incredibly fed very early on. He later teleported into a Rakan W+ultimate and did very little in teamfights. Cinkrof wasn’t the shining/only light he usually was. Xmatty was good early but was outclassed by Patrik. They left the Rift Herald’s eye after they killed it. They dropped wave after wave in the bot lane. At 3-8 it is looking like a lost split for the rookie squad.
Game 2 SK (3-8) > MAD (5-6)
TLDR: SK fight back from the early deficit as lightning strikes twice. MAD plays too scared and lets SK back in.
Summary: When looking at that early game, there was very little to indicate that SK Gaming would be able to pull off the sweep of the defending champions. UNF0RGIVEN and Kaiser stomped Jezu and Treatz in lane, Elyoya completely out jungled Gillius, Armut was doing solid, and Reeker was on his comfort pick/only solid champion Viktor. Unfortunately, MAD Lions composition had one major flaw, and the way they played the game only exacerbated it.
They had almost no way to kick off a fight on their terms. With almost no hard engage, (Viego has to land W, Braum has to land Q/ult, Viktor W isn’t a way to start a fight) MAD Lions couldn’t put their foot on SK’s throat. They had a gold lead and stopped SK from stacking dragons, but there was no back breaking fight. And SK slowly but surely clawed their way back in. They found critical picks in sidelanes and before objectives. Jezu was allowed to scale and get back in the game while MAD had very little to threaten him. Sertuss had free access onto UNF0RGIVEN and Reeker on the Akali. Gillius and Treatz had the engage on Hecarim and Leona that MAD lacked. MAD also lacked any sort of killer instinct, and it cost them dearly.
This win is a much-needed breath of life to an SK Gaming that looked all but dead. They are now tied with BDS and are not eliminated from the playoffs yet. Meanwhile, this loss hurt for the MAD Lions. A supposed easy victory ended in disaster. They are now below .500 for the first time this season. Excel have leapfrogged them. Vitality could do the same. It’s far from a death sentence (1-0 vs XL and VIT) but if things go down to the wire and MAD is in a do-or-die scenario, they will look back to this game and cringe.
Game 3 Misfits (7-4) > Rogue (9-2)
TLDR: Misfits shut down the bot lane early and play the fights better late. Rogue fall flat again.
Summary: How ironic, the team that experienced the textbook definition of regular season collapse (2018 Summer: 8-0 to 11-7 and 5th) handed the previously unbeaten Rogue their first winless week of 2022.
Misfits won this game through the one path I don’t think anyone expected. The bot lane. The traditionally lane dominant Lucian/Nami was given jungle attention early and never did anything to the Jinx/Lulu lane of Misfits. Comp was practically nonexistent in the mid to late game. Trymbi still looked quite shaky on the enchanter. Malrang couldn’t get his early game pressure going once again. Shlatan simply did more than him. Larssen and Odoamne were great points of teamfighting power on the Ryze and Ornn respectively. But Misfits had ways of neutralizing them through their superior range. Vetheo’s Orianna kept Comp and Larssen at bay. HiRit was consistent on the flanking Camille. It was yet another dismantling of Rogue as none of their usual tactics worked.
For Misfits, this game was an incredible boost. Their first 2-0 week of the season. Game of the split for Neon and Mersa. They now sit above the struggling peasantry and have risen into the LEC’s elite. At 7-4, they now have a shot at catching the top 3 and are comfortably above Vitality and MAD, the two teams they were expected to be fight for the last spots with.
For Rogue, this is a very worrying game. 1 game is an anomaly. 2 is the start of a potential trend. This wasn’t a complete stomp like the Astralis game. It was far more worrying. Rogue looked like they got solved. If teams have figured out the formula to beat Rogue (attack early, don’t let Malrang do his thing) that is a problem. It might not be exaggeration to say that next week will be split defining. They have MAD Lions and Vitality, 2 teams that are also struggling. Win those and they shake off the doubters and likely clinch playoffs. Lose those, and the freefall continues. Given Rogue’s history for collapsing when it matters most and the expectations are highest, I am not willing to write this week as a one-off until they prove me wrong.
Game 4 G2 (8-3) > Astralis (1-10)
TLDR: G2 ends the Astralis 9-9 dream before it can truly begin.
Summary: Well that was a nice enough dream while it lasted. It wasn’t even that Astralis reverted to status quo, Zanzarah’s Trundle found quite a few kills early on. It just wasn’t enough to take out a G2 that is surging at the correct time. Flakked’s Jinx and caPs’ Viktor were given plenty of room to work. Targamas continues to have a champion ocean, Broken Blade’s Yone can still carry. G2’s “rebuild” is growing faster than most had anticipated and with Rogue faltering and h2h with Fnatic, G2 could very well be on top by the end of Spring! All credit goes to the young guns who have adjusted to the spotlight in a natural way and the old guard for returning to form. Astralis meanwhile is now all but dead. It’s good to see there were signs of life, but they will need divine intervention to sneak into a playoff spot for Spring.
Game 5 Fnatic (8-3) > Vitality (5-6)
TLDR: Fnatic complete the sweep and move into prime position. Vitality is running out of time.
Summary: Fnatic not only completed the sweep of Team Vitality, they did so in rather dominating fashion. Hylissang busted an old favorite in the Pyke support, and despite the KDA not being all that impressive, he was an absolute menace on it. Vitality never had room to breathe. Razork, who has received a bit of criticism for being a bit quiet in the jungle and not quite living up to the hype had easily his bet game of the season. He ended up going 6/2/6 and was everywhere he needed to be. With Hylissang, and Razork keeping Vitality busy and Humanoid with the gold cards, Wunder’s Graves and especially Upset’s Zeri had all the time in the world to rip through Vitality.
With this win, the two preseason favorites have taken two vastly different paths. Fnatic have lived up to the expectations and are only a game back of the lead. With key matches with Rogue and G2 still on their schedule, things are looking great for the orange and black!
Meanwhile, Vitality have not done this. All the doubts surrounding them after the 0-3 week that were shaken off are starting to come back in full force. Below .500 heading into week 6, Vitality are tied with MAD for the final spot and lose out on head to head. This team was expected to contend for a championship and maybe even do great things internationally. Maybe they will turn it around in the postseason (Perkz is legendary in the clutch and Alphari turned around the drama ridden TL in Summer playoffs last year) but you have to make it to playoffs first. Vitality need to start picking up key wins fast lest the organization turn into even more of a punchline than it has been for the past 4 years.
That wraps up week 5. Rogue still holds the top spot, but thanks to their bungling, Fnatic and G2 are hot on their heels. Misfits and Excel have solo control over the 4th and 5th place spots respectively. MAD Lions and Vitality are deadlocked for the final spot. And the bottom 3 have shown signs of life but would need to play perfectly and get a ton of help to challenge for a playoff spot. The LEC will resume Friday at 11 am CST with Misfits Gaming vs Excel Esports. You can catch all the actions on https://www.twitch.tv/lec, the LEC YouTube channel, or https://lolesports.com/.