MAD Lions end SK Gaming’s Cinderella run through 2023 LEC Winter Split

A chaotic, scrappy series on the path to the finals.

Many people didn’t expect SK Gaming to make it this far in the 2023 LEC Winter Split.

The team was filled with inexperienced prospects, and both League of Legends fans and analysts alike predicted them to drop out after the group stage. But even after dropping out of the playoff race following an exciting five-game series against MAD Lions today, it is safe to say that this team has plenty of success to build upon for the rest of the year.

This series might have been one of the most exciting of the split, with both teams scrapping it out on Summoner’s Rift. The wins were back-and-forth, and each roster showed resilience and fearlessness as they battled throughout the five games. In the end, however, MAD’s superior macro and decision-making prevailed over SK’s fiery young squad.

Throughout the series, MAD Lions mid laner Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer was a menace on champions like Zoe, Gragas, and Jayce. He led the way by catching out enemies with perfect Zoe bubbles or well-placed Gragas ultimates, which eventually led to easy kills to gain tempo. He was always a threat, especially when posturing for various objectives like Baron and dragon.

Game three did feature a monster performance from MAD’s AD carry Matyáš “Carzzy” Orság, who crushed the competition with 11 kills on Draven. But overall, it was Nisqy who found unique angles to dish out some punishing damage. MAD support Zdravets “Hylissang” Iliev Galabov also had an incredible Rell performance in game five, where he constantly found multiple enemies in her Magnet Storm ultimate.

Not everything was doom and gloom for SK in this series, though. In game two, for example, SK showed signs of life when Daniel “Sertuss” Gamani popped off with 11 kills on Akali, while in game four, top laner Joel “Irrelevant” Miro Scharoll became unkillable on Sion and Thomas “Exakick” Foucou blasted away enemies from the back as Aphelios.

There are plenty of great aspects that SK fans can take away from this first split, including the growth of the team’s rookie members, like Exakick and Irrelevant. Sertuss and Markoon were also consistent rocks that the rest of the team could rely on to perform and are some of the most underrated talents in the league today.

MAD, on the other hand, have now entered the top three for the 2023 LEC Winter Split. If they can best KOI in their next five-game series tomorrow, they will return to the finals to take on one of the most iconic organizations in LEC history: G2 Esports.

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