EG and RNG advance to groups as MAD Lions falter once again

After 1235 days of waiting, we finally got another best-of-five series between teams from North America and Europe. The... Scott Kostov | 6. October 2022

After 1235 days of waiting, we finally got another best-of-five series between teams from North America and Europe.

The last time we saw two Western teams battling it out on a big stage, was MSI 2019. As sad as this sounds, the more worrisome fact is that this matchup has happened only four times so far. Across both the World Championship and MSI, three of the four times this rivalry has been on the big stage, the game ended with a 3-0 sweep. And just like that, history repeated itself in the fifth series between the Western regions in 2022.

MAD Lions end 2022 on a sour note

What goes up, must come down. And in this case, the meteoric rise MAD Lions had during the 2022 LEC Summer Split turned out to be a complete fluke. The team added mid-laner Nisqy after finishing seventh during the Spring split, looking to turn their fortune. The move paid dividends, as they finished second in the regular spit. Having four of the five players named in the All-LEC team, led by league MVP Nisqy, meant that this team had high expectations. But then they fizzled out of the playoffs, losing two consecutive series, to Rogue and Fnatic. As much as the alarm bells were ringing, the MAD Lions managed to qualify for Worlds.

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Interesting offseason ahead for the MAD Lions. Credit: Riot Games

Without winning a single best-of-five series the entire year, MAD Lions were Europe’s fourth seed at Worlds. And this only happened because the actions of Vladimir Putin cost the LCL their spot at the World Championship. With the stage being set, they came to Mexico for the Play-In stage and lost both games against major regions. With RNG and DRX proving superior, their match against the Evil Geniuses was the last chance to save face. Qualifying for the Group Stage would at least offer some resemblance of success, on top of heating the NA vs EU rivalry.

Evil Geniuses and RNG advance to Group Stage

EG came into this match with a substitute bot laner, shaky form, and a horrible record facing European teams this year. But none of it seemed to matter, as they swept the MAD Lions 3-0, in dominating fashion. Game one was as close as it got, with a Baron steal from LCS MVP Inspired, turning the tides in EG’s favor. Game two was a complete stomp, ending in 24 minutes, while game three was close only in the first seven minutes.

On the flip side, the RNG and DFM series was a lot more entertaining. RNG advance to the Group Stage with a 3-1 win over the Japanese representatives, who made them sweat for it. Game one went the distance and despite RNG securing the Elder Dragon with a miraculous steal from bot laner Gala, DFM took a 1-0 lead. The rest of the series played out expectedly, with the MSI champions RNG winning three games in a row.

Header: Riot Games