The six best teams of European League of Legends have entered the playoffs to fight for a place at the World Championship. Can MAD Lions defend their spring title, or will another team become LEC champions of the summer split?
After eight weeks of games, it’s time for the six strongest teams in Europe to duke it out and see who the best in the West may be (apologies to NA) The LEC playoffs begin on Friday, August 13, as spring finalists Rogue will take on the summer pop-off favorites Misfits Gaming.
All games will be best of five series, with a pseudo-double elimination format. The winners in the first two series - Rogue vs Misfits Gaming and MAD Lions vs G2 Esports - will continue playing in the upper bracket. The losers drop down to the lower bracket. Fnatic and Team Vitality will start there as the fifth and sixth team of the regular split.
Sunday: Fnatic 3-2 Team Vitality
In the first match of the lower bracket, a Team Vitality that had been ramping up met the flagging Fnatic. The opening game of the series was basically a stomp - led by Selfmade, Vitality had a strong start and kept snowballing the game. Fnatic found a few picks, but a single overstay saw them overwhelmed. Vitality get a Baron and needed just over 24 minutes to close out the game.
We saw a much different Fnatic in game two, however. This time, it was Fnatic to show off what their dominant performance looks like, and it was just as inspiring. Bwipo was on fire, running circles around his former jungler. A 3-0 20 minutes in gave Fnatic an early baron and 12K gold lead soon afterwards, leading to a quick win of their own.
Both teams were now on the board. It was once more Vitality's turn to get a good opening few minutes, but Fnatic would not allow them to run away with the game again. The early game stayed close for a while, but Fnatic eventually inched ahead. Bwipo and Upset were again having a good game, but so was Vitality's Szygenda. In the mid-game, though, Fnatic had a few narrow wins that proved to make a difference. Two barons solidified their lead and 29 minutes in, they smashed into Vitality, got four kills and were soon on match point.
Vitality were with their backs against their wall, but they did not lose heart. A series of early game plays around the top once more supercharged Selfmade's Diana. Fnatic kept the gold close for a while and counted on their scaling and early dragon control. It all came apart in one big teamfight, where Vitality's great execution gave them the ace and a Baron. When an attempted pick by Fnatic went south, Vitality pushed forward and took us to Silver Scrapes.
Fnatic struck early in the decisive game, getting two early kills in the bottom lane. Vitality tried to punish Adam's Dr.Mundo, but it was not enough to catch up. Fnatic's teamfight coordination carried them through several fights, eventually allowing them to secure both infernal soul and Baron. A single misstep by Szygenda was enough for Fnatic to take him down and use the 5v4 to win the hard-fought series.
Saturday: MAD Lions 3-1 G2 Esports
Saturday brought us the much-awaited fight between spring champions MAD Lions and the best European team of 2020, G2 Esports. The first game saw G2 get an advantage early and slowly open it all game. The patient, methodical game favored them and they got several early dragons. A decisive teamfight win 26 minutes in allowed them to secure both the mountain soul and the Baron. With those two buffs, they were unstoppable as they quickly secured the first win of the series.
MAD came back in game two, however. While G2 got several early kills, the Lions showed that they didn't win the spring title off outplays alone. They persevered in the game and used their teleport advantages masterfully, setting several advantageous fights. One such victory gave them an early Baron and with it, they pushed top, defeated G2 in their base and tied the series.
The next game started poorly for MAD as Caps got an early solo kill on his Leblanc. The Lions tried to fight back, but the G2 mid laner was on a tear, getting several early kills and eventually opting for a Mejai's Soulstealer. Things looked dire for MAD after they got aced 18 minutes, but they managed to turn things around with a series of plays near the Baron. It was a hotly contested game, but MAD's ability to find picks proved clutch as they wrong-footed G2 time and again to turn the game around.
Now facing defeat, G2 once more had a good start, but several skirmishes narrowly went MAD's way and gave them the lead. Things went from bad to worse for the 2020 champions as they secured the third drake but were unable to safely retreat. MAD aced them in the jungle and got an early baron, with which they took over the map. G2 tried to find a way back into the game, but the Lions parried them all - and a single kill 30 minutes in gave them the advantage they needed to break the G2 base and secure the key win.
With this, MAD advance to the upper bracket semifinal. With their position in both splits, they also guarantee at least a third place finish and a position at Worlds. G2, meanwhile, will face against the victor of the Fnatic-Vitality match on Sunday.
Friday: Rogue 3-2 Misfits Gaming
Rogue came into this series as the best team of the regular split, and in game one, they showed they have something to prove. They got kills in all lanes from the opening minutes, even the counterpicked Tahm Kench top, and never looked back. It was a show of force by the favorites, who kept the pressure on and ended with 26 kills in a 28-minute game.
When the teams returned to the Rift, however, Misfits looked far better. This time, they were the ones with a good opening, getting a key early kill top before focusing the bot lane. Rogue looked to equalize the game, but 22 minutes in they overstayed to get a tower and ended up losing three kills and the Baron for it. Misfits controlled the map and after acing Rogue in a masterful teamfight 29 minutes in, they charged in the base to tie the series.
Game three started promisingly for the underdogs as HiRit got first blood in a 1v2 on his Fiora. However, Rogue kept up the pressure top and got several more kills in the early game. Once more, they dominated the mid-game skirmishes with a great performance by Inspired on Viego, The spring finalists secured the Baron and the infernal soul, before crashing down the mid lane and routing Misfits to get to match point.
Rogue started strong in game four with a 2-1 tower dive just 3 minutes in. However, Misfits quickly struck back, and after several early skirmishes took the lead. HiRit on Jayce and Vetheo on Leblanc both had a great start. Misfits got the better of Rogue in several mid-game fights. Eventually, they got ocean soul and after a big teamfight on the footstep of the base won to get to game five.
SILVER SCRAPES— LEC (@LEC) August 13, 2021
Both teams had shown they had what it takes and in game five, they left it all on the line. After an even start, Misfits surged ahead and even secured the infernal soul - but it cost them several kills and Rogue got Baron. When things were looking grim, Inspired put the team on his back with a standout Viego performance that included a clutch Pentakill where he aced Misfits despite at one time being 1v3. It all came down to a showdown at the elder dragon, and there, Rogue got a fight on their terms. In it, they got a clean ace, and they ended the game in style to win the series and guarantee their spot at Worlds.
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