MAD Lions brought an end to one of the most miraculous winning streaks in competitive League of Legends history and secured their spot as the LEC’s fourth and final representative heading into the 2020 World Championship.
MAD beat Schalke 04 3-1, knocking them out of the 2020 LEC Summer Split playoffs and bringing an end to an 11-game winning streak after Schalke’s shaky start to the season.
MAD entered the best-of-five series after a sharp downturn in performance, most notably seen in their crushing loss to G2 at the beginning of the playoffs. And with Schalke taking the first game in this match, League fans were quick to jump aboard the Schalke miracle run hype train with fan predictions leaning in Schalke’s favor.
With jungler Gilius drafted onto his perennial professional favorite tank in Sejuani, Schalke secured a quick and efficient win in game one after a teamfight at Baron. As with many of their wins in this split, Gilius was the catalyst, proving that you don’t have to be doing a ton of damage to win the game for your team. With backup from Neon’s Ashe, Schalke headed into the second game of the series looking as strong as ever.
One of the key issues with having one primary shotcaller is that when they underperform, the whole team suffers—something that was made painfully apparent in this series. Despite Gilius’ performance in the first game, his lack of presence in the subsequent three games made Schalke look almost invisible. Although the team secured comfort picks like Azir and Orianna for mid laner Abbedagge, without their trademark early jungle pressure, Schalke’s gameplan quickly fell apart. MAD jungler Shad0w focused early ganks around the top side of the map to quickly snowball a lead.
The series can’t simply be attributed to Gilius underperforming, however. MAD’s bot lane played a masterful early two-vs-two, constantly taking favorable trades and locking in the famously lane-dominant Ashe pick for AD carry Carzzy. The early wave clear Ashe can provide with her Rangers Focus, in combination with the engage-heavy supports favored by Kaiser, meant that Schalke’s bottom lane was constantly left under its tower, unable to provide help to the rest of the map as it slowly began to catch fire.
Perhaps the most dominant performance of the series, however, has to be given to Shad0w’s Lillia in the final game of the series—possibly the best game the jungler has played so far in the competitive scene. He showed numerous game-changing uses of her Lilting Lullaby, ending the game with 68-percent kill participation and one of the most dominant farm leads in the LEC this year.