MAD Lions triumph in their playoff showdown with the resurgent FC Schalke 04, ending the German team’s miracle run and denying them a Worlds seed. Schalke took the first game, but MAD Lions won the next three to ensure a successful end of their season.
Game 1: Good start for the Royal Blues
Schalke started strong taking out Zhiqiang "Shad0w" Zhao in two separate fights in the first few minutes. With an early advantage in taking objectives, they maintained a small lead. The teams kept fighting in the mid lane until the German team got a big fight near the dragon 23 minutes in. Schalke went for the Baron, securing it alongside yet another fight. With it, they opened up the map and extended their gold lead to over 8K. Around the 30-minute mark, MAD tried to get a pick to prevent the cloud soul, but instead got aced and lost the game.
Game 2: MAD strike back
The former rookies had a much better early game in the next round, however, getting the better of Schalke in numerous fights and taking the first two towers to get a sizable gold advantage in the first 15 minutes. Having taken away the Tahm Kench in the draft, they unleashed their pick potential and progressively extended their lead.
What started as a pick on Marek "Humanoid" Brázda’s Akali ended in disaster for Schalke as the MAD mid laner survived while the rest of the team came into fight, then teleported back in at full health. MAD got four kills and the Baron, followed by an infernal soul several minutes later. A tower dive in the S04 base resulted in three kills for the lions and they quickly ended the game.
Game 3: Carzzy lets fly
MAD got an early advantage in the bottom lane with two kills in the first ten minutes going to Matyáš "Carzzy" Orság’s Ashe.They used this to take the early dragons and the first turret in the bottom lane, then rotated them to press their advantage around the map. Andrei "Odoamne" Pascu’s Ornn was a rock in a key fight for Schalke 23 minutes in. However, MAD replied just two minutes later, taking three kills and securing the Baron, then using it to take the bot lane inhibitor.
The teams clashed in a vicious fight 29 minutes in, ending in a 4:4. Odoamne tried to corner Shad0w at the drake and the teams teleported in to restart the fight. This time, however, Carrzy’s Ashe reigned supreme, taking three kills and leading MAD to victory.
Game 4: Map control wins
MAD Lions’ bot lane superiority was on display in the fourth game as well, as they took the first blood in a bot lane dive and continued getting better fights in the sidelines. Schalke kept brawling and found some picks, bringing the gold close. Even more importantly, they maintained control over the early drakes, reaching soul point before the first 20 minutes had passed.
What was an even game tilted hard in MAD’s favor when they flanked Schalke in the top lane, getting an ace and the Baron to take control over the game. Schalke tried to defend themselves, but the Lions prowled their jungle, ready to pounce. A catch on S04’s AD carry Matúš "Neon" Jakubčík 29 minutes in was a close fight but eventually ended in an ace and inhibitor for MAD. A minute later, they got another great flank, acing Schalke again and ending the game.
With this victory, MAD Lions secure a top 4 spot in the LEC playoffs and a spot at Worlds. For FC Schalke 04, meanwhile, the season is over: despite an amazing run from a dead-last team to a playoff contender, on Friday they could not deal with MAD’s high-octane play and end the split in fifth place, just out of reach of a Worlds seed.
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The LEC continues on Saturday with a repeat of the summer split grand final: G2 Esports vs Fnatic. Follow our League of Legends page here for more news and analysis!