MAD Lions fought their way to the finals, but could not beat the final boss
G2 Esports Are The LEC Winter Champions
G2 Esports defeated MAD Lions 3-0 in the LEC 2023 Winter Split finals. On the way, the Lions defeated SK Gaming and KOI, but G2 proved to be a bridge too far.
The fast-paced LEC Winter Split culminated in a three-way weekend of playoffs. After KOI, G2 Esports, SK Gaming and MAD Lions made it through the groups, G2 sent KOI to the lower bracket in their first series last week. With that, last week's games had two questions - who would make it through the losers' bracket to face off against G2, and if they would be able to beat them in a Best of Five.
Day 1: MAD Defeat SK in a Five-Game Slugfest
MAD Lions 3:2 SK Gaming
After taking the last two playoff slots, MAD and SK Gaming clashed in the first round of the lower bracket. First blood went to the Lions, who had very strong objective control in the opening game and secured both the Mountain Soul and a Baron and used them to close the game. SK Gaming struck back in game two, having an early lead and then using Daniel "Sertuss" Gamani’s Akali to demolish MAD in teamfights. The third round looked good for SK at first, but MAD's teamfighting skills turned the game around and two aces at 17 and 21 minutes in turned a close game into a rout.
The series was not yet over, however, as SK's scaling composition for game 4 survived in the early game and Thomas "Exakick" Foucou’s Aphelios led his team to tie the series. However, MAD rallied and, with a very confident early game, secured the win in this series - their first Bo5 victory since 2021.
Day 2: First Blood is Not Enough for KOI
MAD Lions 3:1 KOI
After losing their bout with G2 last week, KOI pleased their fans with a strong first game in this series, and they snowballed their lead to a confidence-boosing victory. However, MAD Lions quickly retaliated, finding a strong early game and out-executing them in teamfights to tie the series. The third game was bloody and fast-paced. What looked like a KOI lead came crashing down as MAD turned the game around with a big teamfight 25 minutes in where they got four kills and the third drake. Five munutes later, an ace let them close out the game.
KOI needed to turn the series around, but instead the fourth game saw them get stomped early game as Kim "Chasy" Dong-hyeon’s Irelia went out of control. They tried to fight back, but as the mid-game went on, MAD was fully in control and closed out the series with little trouble.
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Day 3: Final Boss G2 is too Strong
MAD Lions 0:3 G2 Esport
MAD Lions had completed their lower bracket run to the finals. There, G2 squad that had been undefeated in playoffs was waiting for them, The first game was initially close, but G2's more coordinated roams let them build up their lead and control the objectives to secure the win. Things looked to be even worse for MAD in game two, where their initial aggression was punished hard and both of G2's carries became monstrously fed, leading to a very one-sided victory. Game three was the first time the Lions could get a break in the early game and despite falling behind in the bot lane, they looked on point to win before overreaching in a series of aggressive plays. G2 were able to punish those mistakes and eventually took over the game to complete the sweep, earning their record tenth LEC title in a very commanding fashion.
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The LEC is on a break this week in preparation for the upcoming Spring Season. The spring season will be kicking off next Saturday, March 11th, with a bout between Fnatic and Excel Esports - two teams we expected much more from in the winter. Could they show a different face in the Spring Split?
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