What a tension!
Three-way tie for LEC top continues after week 6
There were no upsets against the favorites in the Saturday games and the neck and neck race for the top places continue. Three teams share the number one spot in the current LEC standings, but four more are within three wins of them - and with three weeks to go, we may be in for a wild ride until the end.
Misfits bounce back against SK
After a disheartening loss against Fnatic on Friday, Misfits Gaming did not want another loss for the week. They started strong in the first match of the day against SK gaming, using their strong early vision control to catch Kim "Trick" Gang-yun for first blood, then took down SK’s mid laner Janik "Jenax" Bartels shortly afterwards. After dominating the early objective game, around the 22-minute mark Misfits went for their third dragon and SK spotted an opportunity. They burned through the Baron, securing it despite Misfits jungler Iván "Razork" Martín Díaz making it to the pit and disengaged safely. With it, SK set several slow pushes and with careful map movement took several towers to equalize the game. Several minutes later, they stole an ocean dragon to deny Misfits the ocean soul buff, keeping the game close.
Misfits were careful not to allow another surprise and 29 minutes in, the teams clashed near the respawned Baron. SK landed good poke damage, but got too close to Danny "Dan Dan" Le Comte’s Vladimir, and the Crimson Reaper took his toll. Between his damage and Razork’s flank, SK lost three and could not contest the baron. Now sporting the purple buff, Misfits pushed all lanes and eventually broke the inhibitor towers. SK opted for a last-ditch engage, but they were routed and Misfits took the win. With this victory, they remain in fourth place and will be only one win behind the leaders, hoping for a stumble. SK, on the other hand, played a fairly good game, but this loss sees them end the week with a 2-10 record and they are all but assured to miss the playoffs.
Excel Esports secures key win against MAD
While several teams were fighting for the first place, both MAD Lions and Excel Esports wanted to make sure they end in the top six spots that give them a playoff berth, making this match so much more important. A blind hook from Tore "Tore" Hoel Eilertsen’s Thresh gave XL a level 1 first blood, and with it and the pushing priority in the middle lane they had a lot of pressure, leading to a 2K gold lead after the first 10 minutes of play.
Things soon went from bad to worse for MAD as they tried to punish Ki "Expect" Dae-han’s Renekton, but the Korean secured his team two kills in a 1v5 tower dive while his teammates pushed across the map. While MAD did land some punches, Excel was knocking on an inhibitor tower 20 minutes in and secured the Baron two minutes later. Soon after, the Lions punished a careless push in their jungle where they flanked and aced Excel, but that was their swan song in this game. A kill 27 minutes in gave Excel the lead they needed to secure the air dragon soul and they chased MAD for two more and ended the game off the power play. This was a key victory for Excel as it leaves them at 6:6, currently at seventh place but just one win away from a playoff spot.
Fnatic continues winning streak
The third match of the day saw FC Schalke 04 take on Fnatic, hoping to find their third win of the season. The veteran squad was not accommodating, however, and after growing a slight lead throughout the first 10 minutes got two kills in the top lane, first jumping Nihat "Innaxe" Aliev and then catching his support. Importantly, one of the kills had gone to Martin "Rekkles" Larsson’s Aphelios, giving him a lead in what was supposed to be FNC’s weak side. This advantage was crucial 15 minutes in minutes in when Fnatic towerdived Felix "Abbedagge" Braun, setting off a long 5v5 fight that ended in an ace and a triple kill for the Swedish AD carry. With it, the favorites quickly accelerated the game, using the Rift Herald to take a pre-20 minute mid inhibitor, then exploited S04’s poor positioning to take another.
Fnatic looked on track for a quick win as they started a hidden baron 21 minutes, but they were not in position when Schalke came to contest and, in a prolonged fight, took the objective. The Royal Blues had little margin for error, however, and when they failed to kill Oskar "Selfmade" Boderek 28 minutes in, Fnatic collapsed to drive them away, break the two respawned inhibitors and secure the baron. Schalke came to fight for the subsequent elder drake and even managed to steal it, but Fnatic won the fight - and with a baron, man advantage and two open inhibitors, quickly ended the game to retain the joint first place.
Origen fend off Rogue
Rogue were eager to take down Origen and get one step closer to the top, but despite a generally good draft and some proactive moves it was Origen who took the first blood via a counter-gank by Xerxe in the top lane. Despite some early nerves like giving back a kill in a 4v2 tower dive, they pressed their advantage hard remained the better early team, coming out of the first 15 minutes with a 5K gold lead. After their opening moves, Rogue had almost no control of the map. Origen secured an inhibitor just 22 minutes in and an uncontested Baron shortly afterwards. The game came to a short lull in action until 29 minutes in, when after a close fight Origen secured the infernal soul but lost their jungle in the contest. However, they foiled Rogue’s attempts to reply with a baron, then used their inner track to take two inhibitors and escape. Rogue was on the ropes, and a catch on Kacper "Inspired" Słoma signaled the last fight. Origen killed the Rogue jungler and two of his teammates, then pushed to end the game. It was a confidence-raising win against a team that was expected to be one of their main competitors, and it keeps OG in the fight for the top spot.
G2 stays in the race after smashing Vitality
The final game of the week saw a struggling Team Vitality square off against G2 Esports. After a relatively even start, G2 got a good counterattack in the bottom lane, with two kills going to Marcin "Jankos" Jankowski.
Vitality tried a 4-man dive in the bottom lane to compensate, but a well-timed Taric ultimate by Mikyx extended the fight long enough that the rest of his team collapsed to get three kills. G2 were getting the better of their opponents in every exchange and had a gold lead of over 4K gold just 13 minutes in. The pressure on Vitality continued unabated, to the point that a Rift Herald push saw G2 take a bottom lane inhibitor and a nexus tower before the 20-minute mark. The underdogs tried hitting back, but G2's better coordination and team lead inevitably turned the tide back. The champions had practically set camp the enemy base, playing with their food instead of retreating to buy for a final push. In the end, the result was the same - a confident win for G2, who after two shaky weeks are back to a 2:0 weekend. Vitality showed some fighting spirit, but the mauling they got in the early game made a comeback impossible.
The LEC continues next week, bringing us several highly anticipated matches as 2019 LEC champions G2 face off against the two teams currently sharing the first spot with them - Fnatic and Origen. Misfits will be taking a shot at Origen as well, hoping to get back in the fight for the first place, while MAD Lions and Rogue will have a showdown to determine which of the teams will have the lead in the fight for the remaining playoff spots. Stay with us to see who will be the best team in Europe for the spring split – and if you have missed our Friday games review, you can catch up here.