The LEC playoffs continue! FC Schalke 04 tore through Fnatic and eliminated them from the playoffs before losing to Rogue in a hard-fought series. Meanwhile, MAD Lions proved they are among Europe's best teams by defeating G2 Esports to reach their first LEC finals.
LEC Recap: Fnatic’s (royal) blues
Despite a higher position at the end of the season and a losing a very contested series to playoff favorites G2 Esports, Schalke 04 was seen as somewhat of an underdog in their game against Fnatic. Yet fans of Europe’s iconic team were about to be disappointed.
Difficult drafts and early game misplays plagued Fnatic throughout the series. In both, Schalke surged ahead and had a significant gold lead at ten minutes and had a more active mid-game, facilitated by jungler Erberk "Gilius" Demir and support Dino "LIMIT" Tot. While Fnatic had a dragon lead, they were unable to counter Schalke’s proactive play and made many mistakes, losing the first two games.
Even in the third game, where they actually had an early lead, their aggression backfired. They chased too far after a won fight several minutes later and ended up giving a triple kill to Felix "Abbedagge" Braun’s Corki. Fnatic’s play became increasingly desperate, leading to a sub-25 minute victory for the Royal Blues.
After several years of guaranteed finals, this is Fnatic’s worst performance since 2016. Schalke, meanwhile, would come in hot for their showdown against Rogue on Sunday.
LEC Recap: Kings of the jungle
In the second series, MAD Lions took on G2 Esports. In the opening game, the champions built a composition around their mid laner Rasmus "Caps" Borregaard Winther. They started strong, but the Lions pounced on the Baron and outplayed G2 in multiple fights to claim victory. Game 2 was even worse for the favorites as MAD jungler Javier "Elyoya" Prades Batalla helped his team get an early lead and G2 kept falling behind. MAD dropped the ball only once, getting aced after securing the first Baron, but quickly recovered and won the game.
Now staring defeat in the face, G2 changed their draft and took multiple threats. This worked for Game 3, where they got a lead from the opening 10 minutes and used it and their dragon control to keep MAD down before acing them near the elder dragon. It was not enough, however, as the Lions had a nearly immaculate performance in the fourth game, winning nearly all fights to end the series in an impressive manner.
With this 3-1 victory, MAD has secured its first ever finals spot and once again sent G2 to the lower bracket after their 2020 spring upset. The 2020 champions must play the victor of the Rogue - Schalke 04 series for a chance at a rematch.
LEC Recap: Rogue hold the line
After their smashing of Fnatic, FC Schalke 04 faced a Rogue team that lost to MAD Lions. This time, however, Rogue came out swinging with great early games focused around Steven “Hans Sama” Liv. They took the first game before the German team hit back in the second, coming from a gold deficit to dominate the teamfights.
The two teams fought hard in the next two games. The third bout saw Rogue have an amazing start, but Schalke played the mid-game beautifully. The match was nearly equal until, in the decisive fight Emil "Larssen" Larsson survived and helped his team get an ace, infernal soul and Baron.
Schalke changed their tactics in the fourth game and focused on shutting down the enemy botlane, but Rogue punished an overreach and took over the game. The German team fought back even after conceding a Baron, until a 4-0 fight won Rogue the game and the series.
With this, Rogue will now face off against this season's rivals G2 Esports next Saturday to decide who will take on MAD Lions for the title. Schalke finishes in fourth place - but this run with several new players shows this roster has a lot of promise.
The LEC playoffs resume next Saturday with the semifinal between Rogue and G2 Esports. Will 2020’s summer champions once again conquer the lower bracket to get a rematch for the title, or will Rogue complete the series of upsets that marks the rise of LEC’s new blood?
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