The Lions are rattling G2's throne
LEC playoffs start with stunning upset from MAD Lions
To start off the LEC playoffs, MAD Lions took down the Kings of Europe in a five-game series that saw the 2019 champions bow down to the team they picked as their opponent.
The rookies made a statement: that while this might be their first season in the League of Legends European Championship, they belong among Europe's best.
Game 1: MAD draw blood
The underdogs started the series strong. Despite Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski getting first blood for G2, the Lions soon struck back and by the 10-minute mark, they were ahead with a kill lead and the first tower taken.
However, their overextensions were punished and it looked like the 2019 Champions would turn the game around when a series of kills and MAD securing the second Rift Herald blunted the G2 offense.
The teams traded blows until 23 minutes in, when a flank by Andrei “Orome” Popa deleted the G2 carries, leading to a 3-0 fight and an uncontested Baron. With it, they chipped away at their opponents’ defenses, eventually exposing an inhibitor.
MAD would take a second baron and were on their way to finishing the game when G2 finally hit back 32 minutes in, punishing them for overcommitting and winning a temporary respite. However, the Lions regrouped and won a close fight three minutes later that gave them the first win of the series.
Game 2: G2 equalize
The 2019 LEC champions were not going to give up easily, however. Just four minutes in, they punished MAD’s aggression, taking three kills when their opponents chased a kill too far.
With their early-focused composition, G2 pressed on, and around the 11-minute mark they were 5-0 in kills and over 4K gold ahead. The Lions had the better scaling but they were falling too far behind.
The Spanish side had occasional picks but would get defeated in the big teamfights. Luka “PERKZ” Perković’s Rumble was on fire, dominating teamfights with huge damage numbers.
After MAD finally secured a kill on the exposed Rasmus “Caps” Borregaard’s Winther 24 minutes in, G2 collapsed and turned it around, taking several kills. Soon after, a pick on Zhiqiang “Shad0w” Zhao secured them the Baron.
G2 appeared set to win and then, they had an overreach near the enemy bottom-lane inhibitor. The Lions pounced, taking an extended ace. Yet, despite this success, they were left with no margin for error.
G2 would finally get the teamfight they needed 34 minutes in, taking three kills and destroying the enemy Nexus to tie the series.
Game 3: Match point for the Lions
Both teams were scrappy early on, easily taking fights, but MAD took first blood in the bottom lane. Then, they proceeded to extend their lead throughout the early game. Matyáš “Carzzy” Orság’s Ezreal was set for success with three kills in the first 15 minutes.
G2’s early-game focused composition was struggling and even successful picks only let them stay close in gold. MAD’s dragon focus eventually paid off with a cloud soul 30 minutes in and they looked set to end the game.
But 2 minutes later, an overreach to kill Caps’ Aphelios saw G2 win a fight off a good flank. However, MAD were soon back in the driver’s seat, and only relentless split-pushing by PERKZ held them back.
The key fight broke out 40 minutes in as MAD took an inhibitor and retreated. G2 chased but the Lions turned the fight around, took down their opponents and ended the game.
Game 4: G2:2
With MAD on match point, they came out of the games swinging in Game 4, with a heavily early game-focused composition. They quickly took first blood, following it with several kills around the map and relentless pressure. This led to a nearly 4K gold win just 8 minutes in.
This aggression would be exploited 13 minutes in as G2 won a key fight in their jungle – and while the kills were only 3-2 in their favor, all three kills went to PERKZ’s Cassiopeia. The 2019 LEC champions stemmed the bleeding and despite being some 5K gold behind, they started slowly coming back into the game.
MAD forced a fight at the Baron 20 minutes in, starting the objective and then turning to fight G2 when they arrived. However, the plan backfired when G2 won the fight, taking four kills and the baron. With the buff and the huge gold swing, G2 took over the game and three minutes later, they already destroyed a MAD inhibitor.
The Lions’ defense was powerless to stop the G2 juggernaut, and just 25 minutes in, the favorites broke the nexus to bring the series to a decisive fifth game.
Game 5: What a way to end
In the decisive game, G2 picked a damage-heavy composition with a Kalista top and a bot-lane Ziggs, while MAD opted for several tanks, Quiana and Syndra.
The Lions’ bottom lane would once again start strong but G2 dominated the top lane, taking an early first blood and then focusing on keeping Orome down. However, a sloppy fight in the top lane resulted in them losing three kills.
This left the two teams within an arms’ reach as the mid game started. Once again, MAD had good dragon control and just 24 minutes in, they secured an ocean soul off a won teamfight.
Soon, however, the Lions made a decision that would nearly cost them the game twice as they took a Baron while Martin “Wunder” Nordahl Hansen was split-pushing. Even after a heroic defense from Carzzy, MAD were left with an open nexus.
After their inhibitor respawned, MAD went for another baron but Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle snuck in their base and left a ward for Caps to teleport to. The duo nearly took down the nexus, leaving it one attack away from death before they were taken down.
MAD would spend the next several minutes making sure there were no surprises, until 37 minutes in. Then, Shadow took what seemed like a suicidal play, following Mikyx into two more G2 members. But the fed Olaf, backed by the ocean soul regeneration lasted long enough for the rest of MAD to arrive, take three kills and chase the remaining G2 members in their base.
Before the respawns could come, the Lions completed the ace and soon ended the game, completing one of the most impressive upsets in European League of Legends.
It was a spectacular series as the two teams traded blows and adapted to their opponents. While we have to admit G2 were not playing their best, MAD deserve a lot of credit for stepping up, especially in the bottom lane and the jungle. The 2019 LEC champions are now in the lower bracket and have no more room for errors.
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Tomorrow, the LEC games continued with Origen vs Fnatic, and we only hope you’re going to find them as crazy as this one. If you want to read up on the format, you can check our guide here.