LEC Winter 2023: Groups Stage Week 2, Day 1

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LEC Winter 2023: Groups Stage Week 2, Day 1

The group stage continues as the LEC moves toward the Winter split playoffs!

The group stage continued with 2 more fantastic match-ups that led to dicey teamfights, big-brain escapes and dominating killfests.

After 4 weeks of LEC action, the Winter split's Group stage will start pitting last week's winners against each other in the top bracket. The 8 remaining teams progress towards the Season Finals wherein the winner will become a contender for a spot at Worlds 2023. This best-of-three's (bo3s) play structure came as a new addition to this year's LEC format. Check out the standings of all 8 teams that made it to the Group Stage here!

The Group stage also started just in time for the LEC's 10th anniversary. Over 2,600 games played ever since it's inaugural match between SK Gaming and Fnatic.

The 2023 Winter Group Stage Draw

Winner's Bracket

  • Vitality
  • SK Gaming
  • Heretics
  • KOI

Loser's Bracket

  • MAD Lions
  • G2 Esports
  • Team BDS
  • Astralis

How are the rest of the Groups decided? Following the new 2023 format for the EMEA League, the winners for Game 1 & 2 will face off in an upper bracket match. The same will be done by the victors of the 3rd and fourth match. Afterwards, all the losing teams compete in lower-bracket bo3's. Those that win in the loser's bracket can climb their way back up for a spot in the Play-offs by defeating the losers from the upper bracket match-ups. With only 8 top teams remaining, expect top-tier plays as the strongest teams in the LEC duke it out on Summoner's Rift.

SK Gaming vs Team Heretics

Game 1

Evi and Jackspektra's early-game dominance made SK extremely hesitant to answer back. Avoiding an enemy snowball, Team Heretics played their cards just right for a confident teamfight on top lane. After eliminating Jankos, Jackspektra and Mersa, SK Gaming were able to take Baron at 22 minutes with some smart zoning from Irrelevant's Gnar. The lack of any kind of effective coordination led to Heretics losing another clash down mid, leaving their base wide open for SK to take a Game 1 win.

  • Teams: SK 1 – 0 TH
  • Time: 29:21
  • Kills: 10 – 5
  • Turrets: 8 – 5
  • Gold: 53.1k – 50.0k
  • Dragons: 2 – 2
  • Barons: 1 – 0
LoL Devs Target Turrets to Curb Lane Swaps

Game 2

Heretics laid down the pressure at botlane as Jankos found a strong start on Kindred. With a 1k gold lead in less than 10 minutes, more control over the jungle meant that TH claimed the first Chemdrake. With Ruby's Azir continually getting suppressed, SK's Rift Herald punched past the midlane's first tower. Heretics owned a big lead and all 3 dragons 20 minutes in, that carried them to midgame until they started faltering. A fast retreat and a sacrifice from Evi's K'Sante meant that Heretics could keep their lead going, but it was hard taking any chances considering SK's powerful snowball potential. Motivated to close the game, TH was keen on staking their claim on Baron to get their win. Even when they were down 5 kills, SK saw the opportunity and initiated a risky midlane clash to throw off their plans. With more picks under their belt, they quickly dove into Nashor's pit, got the buff and contested the 5th dragon. From then on, the match-up slowly ended in favor of SK.

  • Teams: TH 0 – 2 SK
  • Time: 39:20
  • Kills: 9 – 15
  • Turrets: 3 – 10
  • Gold: 62.7k – 70.4k
  • Dragons: 3 – 3
  • Barons: 0 – 1

Team BDS vs Astralis

Game 1

A very aggressive botlane skirmish resulted in an early trade between Kobbe and Labrov. Nuc's unkillable Kassadin made sure to keep the pressure up while Astralis took the first Rift Herald of the game. Even with 2 more drakes under their belt, the Spanish pro-team couldn't stop BDS' superior macroplay. After a successful engage on top lane gave them enough space to take Baron, another game-ending clash put BDS 5 kills ahead of their opponents. This snowballed until BDS closed their first game of the day.

  • Teams: BDS 1 – 0 AST
  • Time: 38:09
  • Kills: 18 – 7
  • Turrets: 10 – 4
  • Gold: 71.3k – 59.6k
  • Dragons: 2 – 2
  • Barons: 1 – 0
LoL Devs Target Turrets to Curb Lane Swaps

Game 2

Another game repeated the pattern of early first blood trades on bot side. 113 and Finn couldn't maintain control over the jungle while Jeonghoon picked up his team's slack. The game could have gone either way when the clock ticked down to minute 30. What would have been a very close game shifted in favor to AST very late into the game. Four dragon objective kills gave them the force they needed to push through for the second game win.

  • Teams: AST 1 – 1 BDS
  • Time: 38:55
  • Kills: 16 – 7
  • Turrets: 10 – 2
  • Gold: 73.0k – 62.8k
  • Dragons: 4 – 2
  • Barons: 1 – 0

Game 3

BDS vs AST Game 3 was an absolute domination match. AST chose to take the red side this time around as finn took first blood as Kled. With more overextends getting punished wtih 3-man ganks, AST saw another early game lead. After establishing superior map presence, Sheo's Wukong just couldn't keep up. 113 focused more on lane ganks than camps, and it paid off beautifully in the midgame. With the red team in a split push, it took everything BDS had to juggle objectives with lane clears. Defending against AST's fed Sejuani just wasn't possible as the team built up enough momentum to close out their third and final game for the day.

  • Teams: BDS 1 – 2 AST
  • Time: 28:45
  • Kills: 3 – 14
  • Turrets: 10 – 0
  • Gold: 41.8k – 55.1k
  • Dragons: 0 – 4
  • Barons: 0 – 1

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LEC Winter 2023: Groups Stage Week 2, Day 1
Paul Goño
Paul started writing for ESTNN in 2022, the same year he beat his first Souls game. An avid fan of RPGs, his all-time favorites include Baldur's Gate 3, Assassin’s Creed and Kingdom Hearts 2. Besides being a professional nerd, he still struggles to get over the broken PS2 memory card that stored years of his save files.