After the action-packed last superweek at the start of the LEC winter split, the once-unthinkable has happened: LEC icon Fnatic, alongside the promising roster of Excel Esports, are out of the LEC 2023 Winter Groups
With only three weeks’ worth or rapid-fire games, the regular season of the LEC 2023 Winter Season has been a rollercoaster for the fans, upsetting many predictions and making every game count. While in theory the idea that only the bottom 2 teams would not continue on to the groups seemed like a pretty generous selection, we soon found out that the European pro teams are a lot closer than original expected and by the end of week 2, it looked increasingly likely that at least one roster that we had high hopes for would not make the cut. Only Team Vitality had secured a guaranteed top 8 spot. For everyone else - especially KOI, Fnatic, Excel Esports and Astralis - in the final stretch, it was sink or swim.
Astralis Comes Back to Keep Their Hopes Alive
The first game of the week already showed the wild rides were going to continue, as despite being behind for almost the entire game, Astralis held out against SK Gaming and in the late game, Finn "Finn" Wiestål’s Gangplank took over for a much-needed win. In the next game however, the early game did prove decisive as despite Excel’s best efforts, they let Team Heretics get a fed Draven and paid for it. The bout between Fnatic and MAD Lions, meanwhile, proved decisively one-sided. The Lions won several early skirmishes to be over 2K gold up before 5 minutes and proceeded to snowball the game hard The last game of the day saw KOI take on Team Vitality and while the former Rogue had struggled in the first two weeks, here we saw them fully in control, taking early objectives and inching ahead to get a much-needed winfans hoped for the same as their team racked up several early kills on their carries against G2 Esports, but a clutch went to the summer finalists and they took over to get the win.
The bout between Fnatic and MAD Lions, meanwhile, proved decisively one-sided. The Lions won several early skirmishes to be over 2K gold up before 5 minutes and proceeded to snowball the game hard The last game of the day saw KOI take on Team Vitality and while the former Rogue had struggled in the first two weeks, here we saw them fully in control, taking early objectives and inching ahead to get a much-needed win.
Penta for Nisqy Saves MAD Lions
SK Gaming kicked off the games on Sunday as well, this time against Excel Esports. While XL started well and got an early lead, a risky baron 27 minutes in ended in disaster as SK stole and took over the game. The second game featured an invigorated team BDS taking it to team Vitality and while the Siwss team kept the pressure throughout the game, a decisive fight 41 minutes in ended in an ace and the Elder Dragon for Vitality, allowing them to end the game. The next game had MAD Lions taking on Team Heretics, and despite a bloody early game where Heretics had the lead, several catches kept MAD in the game and what looked like a Heretics victory ended in a Pentakill for Yasin "Nisqy" Dinçer as MAD mounted their comeback.
With both teams on the ropes, the game between Fnatic and Astralis had higher stakes than ever. A big fight 17 minutes in saw Finn once more step up with a big Gnar ult that got Astralis the push and they finished the game to get a much-needed third win. Finally, we saw G2 Esports absolutely smash KOI, as despite the summer champions taking the first blood G2 quickly took over. A big fight 23 minutes in ended with an ace for G2, who won their sixth victory soon afterwards.
Sad End for the New Fnatic
Team Heretics had another near win against BDS on Monday, where they forged a good lead but a big fight going to BDS 27 minutes in turned the game around and gave the Swiss team the victory. KOI, meanwhile, allowed no surprises from Astralis, ending the day with a confident victory that secured their top 8 spot. For Fnatic, this was a chance to catch up and force a tiebreaker if they could defeat SK Gaming - but after the opening minutes, it became quite clear that they did not have what it took to shut the German team down and their Winter season ended in a whimper.
- Game in style with the Logitech K/DA XL Mousepad
With both teams standing at 6-2, the showdown between G2 and MAD was hotly anticipated and the game delivered. While the two teams traded blows evenly early on, one big fight was enough for MAD to surge ahead and just 24 minutes in, they caught G2’s defense unprepared and pushed in for the win. The day ended with an absolute grudge match between Excel Gaming and Team Vitality, and despite XL having a big early lead, an Elder Dragon steal turned the game around. The two teams fought for 54 minutes, with Vitality ending the game just before the Excel superminions could break their own Nexus.
- LEC Week 2 MVP: BDS Adam
- SK Gaming and Team BDS Rampage through the LEC in Week 2
- LEC Week 1 MVP: VIT Bo
The LEC Winter Split continues this Saturday, January 11th, with a series of Best-of-three matches. Don´t miss it!
This article contains affiliate links which are marked with [shopping symbol]. These links can provide a small commission for us under certain conditions. This never affects the products price for you.