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February 6th, 2021

“How to surprise your opponent” - SK vs MAD Lions match review

You don't have to constantly follow trends and play by the textbook. Sometimes an opponent's draft simply forces you to come up with a non-standard approach to the game, and it is at this moment that it is important to correctly make an unusual decision. Today we will analyze how SK Gaming were able to upset MAD Lions within the third week of LEC Spring Split.



Results of the first stage of picks SK vs MAD

Results of the first stage of picks SK vs MAD

In the first stage of the peaks, the lions take Azir, Udyr and Rell. The setup of these three champions already suggests that they want to go to a lategame, and they also have two dense characters, and if you give time to farm such a setup, it will be extremely difficult to break through in the future.

SK Gaming are responding  with Twisted Fate, Nidalee and Pantheon to the top, which is already quite unusual, but the main surprise will come later. TF and Pantheon have the ability to quickly find themselves almost anywhere on the map, thanks to their ultimates. This strengthens the team's ganking potential Nidalee scales well and, with good farming, is strong at any stage of the game, due to her ability to deal a huge amount of damage to one target.

Following MAD Lions banned, as it seemed to them, the only opportunity to penetrate two tanks - Vayne. They also get Ornn, and the three tank setup seems impenetrable.

Final picks SK vs MAD

Final picks SK vs MAD

However, SK Gaming responded with a masterful solution that shocked everyone - Kalista and Jarvan to the bot. Kalista has a huge potential for kiting the enemy, Jarvan will add a little density, and besides, in conjunction with his ADK, he has the ability to rush into the fight three times, while remaining safe, thanks to the summoner spells and help from the team.

MAD Lions, on the other hand, get Tristana to the bot, thus they show that they will go late with their composition.

Let's take a look at the victory conditions for each team.

SK Gaming:

  • Line pressure;
  • Competent use of global ultimates to gain an advantage at an early stage;
  • Early game on objects (towers, dragons, heralds), with the aim of capturing space on the map.

MAD Lions:

  • Neat play on the lines;
  • Dodge fights in the early stages, or competent counterattacks, using a huge amount of control in their setup;
  • Playing on dragons, and protecting buildings, in order to get time for further scaling.

A game

The lions wanted to get an advantage earlier on the bot, and having received the 2nd level before their opponents decided to earn first blood, however, they did not take into account that instead of Cleanse or Healing, Kalista took Exhaustion. It was this that prevented Tristana from inflicting the necessary amount of damage to kill, and, having spent all the summoner spells, MAD Lions give FB.

After 5 minutes, SK decided to use the fact that Ornn gave the Teleport to return to the line, and Azir has Cleanse instead. Duo on the bot initiates a fight, and TF connects to them from the ultimate. Easy two frags.

It should be noted that MAD Lions coped with the task of controlling the dragons, because even despite the early kills, the buffs remained with them throughout the game and could help in the late stages.

At the 11th minute, the idea with Jarvan is fully manifested. He cuts Tristana off from the fight, saves Kalista with her ultimate, and finishes off the enemy team's ADC.

If you thought the surprises were over, then I hasten to please you - they have just begun. Support SK decides not to go through the tank build, but collects Zhonya's Hourglass and then the Moonstone Renewer, which will allow the team to restore a large amount of health in teamfights. This assembly fully justifies itself on the 17th minute, when in two ultimates, in a 2v3 situation, SK Gaming knocks out 3 flashs from Lions, and then takes the kill on Ornn.

At the 21st minute, the farming situation looks depressing for Lions. Although Udyr was able to take two dragons, he did not help the team to gain an advantage in killing. Both SK botliners took part in all the kills on the map, and even more so in terms of farming. Nidalee has +20 minion difference and 2 assists, and Pantheon has a faster build rate than Ornn.

Farm and item situation at the 21st minute

SK Gaming were also able to take one tower on each lane, and now, with the advantage gained and global ultimates, it is even easier for them to catch their opponents on mistakes and move around the map. A good example is Azir's death at mid.

A few seconds later, MAD Lions catch the Pantheon, which is lost on the map. A competent and beautiful use of their ultimates helps them to take a support and a topper, but the advantage is already great, and as a result, a 2 on 2 exchange is obtained.

The last opportunity for the Lions to “catch” on the game was a fight on Nashor, but they had to start a 3v5 fight, due to the lack of TP on Ornn and Azir, besides Nidalee was on a level higher than Udyr, and was able to smite Nashor. As a result, a 4-on-1 fight and the game is almost over.

With the next fight, Jarvan puts an end to this confrontation, completely destroying the position of MAD Lions. SK Gaming are winning.


Following this match, both teams tied for fourth place in the spring split with Fnatic and Excel Esports with a 3-3 record.

The following team matches:

Excel Esports vs SK Gaming - February 6, 18:00 CET

MAD Lions vs Vitality - February 6, 19:00 CET