LEC Playoffs Round 1 Preview: G2 Esports vs. MAD Lions

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /

The 2020 Spring Split LEC Playoffs begin on Friday 3 April with G2 Esports vs. MAD Lions! Here’s our preview of the first Round 1 match-up!

There could not be a better team to kick off the third-ever LEC playoffs than defending champions G2 Esports who will be looking to make it three out of three and continue their European dominance with a 2020 Spring Split triumph.

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Since Europe’s top League of Legends division was revamped from the EU LCS to the LEC back in 2019, G2 have run rampant and no team could come close to stopping them on their path towards back-to-back trophies. Standing in their way this year are MAD Lions, an exciting rookie line-up of players with next to no prior LEC playoff experience.

The victor will face off against Fnatic or Origen next weekend for a chance to reach the playoff final, while the loser will drop into the lower bracket and must run a gauntlet against other top six teams to be in with a chance of making it to the final two.

G2 Esports

It’s clear that G2 Esports don’t take regular season games 100% seriously and like to test their limits against lesser opposition on a regular basis. So, to finish comfortably top of the standings with a 15-3 record is an impressive feat, even for a team as dominant as the reigning European champs.

Despite MAD Lions getting the better of them once already this season, the problem for G2 isn’t the possibility of being outplayed by their opponents on the day, instead, complacency is the biggest threat to their playoffs run.

As we’ve seen plenty of times before, G2 like to have fun when the pressure’s off and it can result in upset results, like their loss against a struggling Schalke 04 in Week 4 of the regular season.

Nevertheless, losing their round 1 fixture would result in being forced to play more best-of-five series over the course of playoffs, so surely that should act as enough motivation for G2 to press their foot on the gas and fly through to the final with minimal complications.

One to Watch – Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle

It’s at times like these when the G2 squad need a cool, calm head to steady the ship and guide the team through a best-of-five without inting too hard. The most likely player to provide this level-headed approach is Mikyx.

Not only is G2’s support the player the team turns to when they need a game-winning play, but he’s also the most underrated player on the roster by LEC fans. This is evidenced by Mikyx’s absence in the Spring Split MVP discussion despite being far and away the best European support of 2020 so far.

An expansive champion pool over 10 unique champions during the regular season, the highest KDA of any support player in the LEC at 5.4, and all while assisting Caps during his transition to an unfamiliar role.

Mikyx deserves a lot more recognition for his performances during the Spring Split and will hopefully receive praise during the playoffs, starting after an MVP display against an inexperienced MAD Lions bot lane.

Humanoid, MAD Lions, LEC, League of Legends.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /

MAD Lions

One of the most unexpected stories of Season 10 so far has to be MAD Lions qualifying for playoffs just three months after over half of the roster made their LEC debuts. The MAD squad will be hoping their magnificent run of form continues with an upset win over the defending champions in the org’s first-ever playoff match on Friday.

The LEC newcomers (formerly known as Splyce, now rebranded as MAD Lions) have made a name for themselves as an incredible 5v5 team, often coming out ahead of their opponents in close team fights, particularly in the key late game stages.

Regular LEC viewers will quickly realize that this playstyle directly clashes with that of G2 Esports who dominated League of Legends both domestically and internationally in 2019 by showcasing unmatched team fight skill and individual mechanics. MAD Lions will have to beat G2 at their own game if they want to come out on top in their playoff round 1 match-up.

One to Watch – Zhiqiang “Shad0w” Zhao

G2 have a tendency to choke out opponents early on through aggressive ganks, roams, and dives to either side lane, which is where MAD Lions jungler Shad0w must step in and track Jankos and PERKZ during the laning phase.

While praise is being heaped on the MAD Lions bot lane who are both being tipped to claim the Rookie of the Split award, Shad0w has failed to make his mark in the LEC so far. What better way to announce his arrival on the European stage than with an MVP performance against G2 Esports?

If MAD Lions want to have any chance of winning this best-of-five, Shad0w has to be aggressive, but mindful early on, setting up for counter-ganks while also looking to get his bot lane ahead. The sometimes shaky Humanoid will undoubtedly be a target for G2, so setting up camp around the south-side river would be a wise choice for the MAD jungler.

Prediction: G2 Esports 3 – 1 MAD Lions

It goes without saying that G2 Esports are the far superior team in this match-up and rightfully favorites heading into the opening game of the LEC playoffs. That being said, complacency could be an issue and it’s likely that the Spring Split’s number one seed will drop at least one game in the best-of-five.

Overall though, the quality of Jankos, PERKZ, and Mikyx will simply be too much for MAD to handle over five games and G2 will most likely come out on top in what could be a very bloody and entertaining series.

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Round 1 of the LEC Playoffs begins on Friday 3 April with G2 Esports vs. MAD Lions at 18:00 CEST! Catch Ready Check from 17:30 CEST on the LEC Twitch channel and LoL Esports YouTube channel!