It was the end of the long and winding road to MSI this weekend for many major regions this week, and we were treated to some absolute bangers!
In the LEC, our first matchup of the week saw G2 Esports, 8 times champions of Europe, face off against Rogue for the final spot in the Grand Final. It was a chance for redemption for G2 and a chance for Rogue to show the world that they’re no flash in the pan, and the stakes were high.
Despite taking the first game in a scrappy but dominant fashion (as is the G2 way), the Kings of Europe collapsed in the following 3 matches, handing Rogue the right to play MAD in the following day’s Final to decide who goes to MSI. Special kudos must go to Inspired this series, who made Jankos, widely known as the best in his role to ever come from Europe, a complete nonfactor for the matches after Game 1.
On Sunday, MAD & Rogue met in the Grand final for a series that more than lived up to our hopes, and has sown the seeds of a new rivalry in the LEC to rival Fnatic & G2.
It was the wild aggression of MAD vs the pressure-soaking abilities of RGE on display, and in the first 2 games, RGE were coming out clearly on top. Their read on the gamestate, particularly in the Bot lane and in Mid, was impeccable, and they had MAD Lions staring down a 3-0 drubbing in the final.
Then out came Armut, ensuring those watching it would be a 3-2. And the Top gap begun.
The ‘Turkish Stage Beast’ proceeded to lock in Wukong for the next two games, not only winning lane but also dominating players across the map with impactful ultimates that swung pivotal teamfights in their favor. It was soon 2-2, and Silver Scrapes was playing.
Rogue proceeded to ban out Armut’s Wukong in Game 5& forced Armut back onto Gnar- the champion he lost the first 2 games on. For a good portion of the game MAD were behind, and it was looking like Rogue would be heading to MSI. However, all it takes is one good teamfight to swing a match in your favor, and that was all MAD needed to secure the trophy. A clutch Gnar ult, shortly followed by an ace for MAD, ended the series, and made MAD Lions the first team not named G2 or Fnatic to lift the trophy in over 4 years.
Similar to the LEC, the LCS had a game before the Final to decide who would be opponents to Cloud9.
Team Liquid and TSM faced off in this 3rd place decider, and TL had their work cut out for them from the beginning. Santorin was out of the match- medical issues over the last week meant he had been unable to get out of bed for some time, and TL would be playing Armao in his place throughout the weekend.
However, you wouldn’t be able to tell Armao was a sub- he was incredibly solid. TSM pulled one game back to give TL some food for thought, but they responded with a strong win, shortly followed by a game that was 1 tower away from being a ‘perfect game’. TSM were out, and TL were in the Grand Final.
For C9, this one was personal- they won Spring last year, but due to COVID restrictions, MSI was cancelled that year. They had been robbed of their chance to play against the top teams, and a collapse in Summer meant they wouldn’t be at Worlds either. And for the first 2 games, C9 were struggling. Team Liquid were playing very well, and Armao was able to more than keep Blaber, 2-time MVP of the split, under control.
Unfortunately for TL, Perkz found his comfort zone in the 0-2. He came out and smurfed the next 2 games, bringing them to Silver Scrapes. Game 5 saw a lane swap for C9 that was completely unexpected, but worked perfectly- C9 got an early lead, closed the game out rapidly, and made sure that this time, they’d get to play the best of the best at MSI.
As expected, DWG.KIA have been yet again crowned LCK Champions, after sweeping Gen.G 3-0 on Saturday.
It was largely an one-side series, with the exception of Game 2, where the reigning champions fought back after a nearly 10K gold deficit to claim a very unlikely win.
With their eyes set to Iceland now, DWG.KIA travels next month as perhaps the biggest favorite to win MSI, and bring the trophy back to Korea, for the first time in four years.