LEC Winter 2023: Groups Stage Week 2, Day 2 Recap

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LEC Winter 2023: Groups Stage Week 2, Day 2 Recap

We recap the strongest moments in the second day of Week 2 for the LEC Group stage.

Another round of spectacular games graced the LEC's Winter split group stage as 4 more teams duked it out for a shot at playoffs.

The 2023 Winter Group Stage Draw

Group A

SK Gaming

Group B

MAD Lions
G2 Esports
Team BDS

How are the rest of the match-ups 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.

Team Vitality vs SK Gaming

Game 1

All bets were off as SK's notorious snowball potential went up against Vitality's experience.

Markoon's pathing on top let SK get the better deal in an early game toplane 1-for-1 trade. After that, Vitality hit back in a double-roam effort with their team's jungler AND Kaiser's support Alistar on top lane. Presenting another united front in their botlane presence prevented SK Gaming from making aggressive moves. Exakick's failed tower dive and a chaotic start to the game gave their opponents a comfortable 2k lead. With big objective kills, getting Herald meant securing plates on the sidelanes while Bo's Elise continued to rack up kills. SK gave up a midlane turret to reset, but Vitality still focused on preventing their opponent any chance to snowball despite an enormous gold deficit.

A tense midgame ensued as both teams slowed the pace to play defensively. The experience of LEC veterans like Perkz really shined in Vitality's precise macroplay. Photon's barrel chains with Gangplank deterred SK from engaging them face-to-face. The underdogs had to be careful past the 20-minute power spike. Resorting to isolating enemy champs, their caution paid off after they played smart around the first Baron. While the blue side was able to steal Nashor, they fed SK enough kills to virtually close the kill gap. The glaring 7k gold lead still gave Vitality a wide margin of error. However, the teams erupted in a drawn-out brawl after Markoon's Baron steal. SK's strong specialization in long-term teamfights made sure that they held out 'til the end.

  • Teams: VIT 0 – 1 SK
  • Time: 39:40
  • Kills: 11 – 16
  • Turrets: 5 – 10
  • Gold: 73.6k – 72.8k
  • Dragons: 3 – 3
  • Barons: 1 – 1

Game 2

All bets were off in the second game of the day, especially after seeing Bo's jungle Karthus pocket pick. After securing the first couple of picks, the German-based team enjoyed another early-game snowball. Finding a reply for each enemy maneuver, Irrelevant's unkillable streak continued after retreating from top tower with only 33 HP to spare. A hectic clash for dragon saw VIT retreat from SK's superior macroplay, giving SK their 3rd dragon and flipping the script with a 7k gold advantage in the midgame.

With no kills on the board 20 minutes in, Vitality rallied for a Baron take that unfortunately ended in disaster. Irrelevant and Doss were nearly untouchable with their mobility throughout the game. Game 2 ended in applause as the unstoppable force finally earned their place at Playoffs. Stable and consistent improvement gave the young roster their best upset so far, and a straight path towards split championships.

  • Teams: VIT 0 – 2 SK
  • Time: 23:53
  • Kills: 2 – 17
  • Turrets: 2 – 10
  • Gold: 36.8k – 51.5k
  • Dragons: 0 – 3
  • Barons: 1 – 1

MAD Lions vs Astralis

Game 1

MAD's ability to clear spaces for jungle objectives slashed against AST better team comp. The blue side found first blood after 9 minutes, and crashed the Herald into top lane's tier one turret after Elyoya secured a triple kill. Good map control gave AST enough breathing room to catch up on the killscore.

The midgame saw both teams exploded into constant teamfights. The game stayed close until MAD committed for Soul point with a 2k gold lead. Taking first Baron earned MAD a 3k gold lead that let them confidently reset while AST ferociously defended their last mid lane tower. And while Astralis tried to contest for Baron, Elyoya's ult zoned half of the top jungle side long enoughf ro his team to secure. The last team fight was the final nail in the coffin, and bagged the win for MAD.

  • Teams: MAD 1 – 0 AST
  • Time: 31:30
  • Kills: 19 – 12
  • Turrets: 8 – 4
  • Gold: 60.2k – 53.5k
  • Dragons: 4 – 0
  • Barons: 1 – 0

Game 2

Game 2 was a feeding frenzy for MAD as no quick engage could turn things around for AST in the midgame. Even when they tried contesting objectives, AStralis couldn't risk a close engage for fear of an even bigger snowball. With no counterplay in sight, Hylissang and Chasy had to keep themselves in between the enemy and low-health allies to try to build their carries.

Impressively enough, at the 20-minute mark, AST was only 1k gold behind. Regardless, massive shutdowns by MAD ushered the game closer to the end. True to their name, the lions wouldn't give an inch as they used their crowd control to shift each fight to their favor. Better vision and overall map presence won the MAD Lions the fastest bo3 today.

  • Teams: AST 0 – 2 MAD
  • Time: 25:10
  • Kills: 8 – 19
  • Turrets: 4 – 7
  • Gold: 42.3k – 49.3k
  • Dragons: 0 – 3
  • Barons: 0 – 1

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LEC Winter 2023: Groups Stage Week 2, Day 2 Recap
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.