Kings of the jungle

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The MAD Lions a Spanish team in the League of Legends European Championship took an upset win over the Summer Split champions, G2.  Photo courtesy of    @MADLions_LoLEN    on Twitter

The MAD Lions a Spanish team in the League of Legends European Championship took an upset win over the Summer Split champions, G2. Photo courtesy of @MADLions_LoLEN on Twitter

There are few things better in the sports world than an upset. Those are often the tales that we remember; the story of a scrappy young team taking it to a championship and winning. Underdog stories give the belief that anything is possible if you believe in it in a way that no other story in sports can.  

And over the weekend, MAD Lions proved once again that with a lot of fight and a little luck, you really can overcome any foe. Their series against last year’s Spring Split and Summer Split champions G2, who also claimed second place at the world championship in that season, was incredible. Both teams were performing well; G2, the No.1 team, didn’t play poorly. They had bad moments, but so did the Lions. The lineup, which is made up primarily of very young players — several of whom are in their rookie season in the LEC — just played better.  

They made the right calls at the right time, falling back to defend their base multiple times in Game 5 as G2 threatened to sneak a win, and then they executed better. Perhaps most importantly, when they had poor moments, like losing game 2 and game 4, they didn’t let it define the series. They bounced back, played better and when the chaotic game 5 finally came to a close, they won.

Now, G2 has to survive the lower bracket. They’ll play Sunday, against either Rogue or OG. OG lost a bloody, fast series to Fnatic, winning one game but losing three where they looked seriously outmatched. They’ll look to stay in the Spring Split against Rogue, who handily beat Misfits in another 3-1 series to keep their chances at a miracle run alive. In the Upper Bracket, MAD Lions will be facing the seven-time EULCS/LEC winners, Fnatic, in a match to make it to the grand finals. It’s another series where the Lions will need to pull out miracles to win. Fortunately, they’ve already shown that miracles aren’t too much to ask for.

In North America, things were a little less interesting in the bracket. The No. 1 seeded Cloud9 dumpstered the No. 4 seeded 100T in a 3-0 series, giving up a total of just 12 kills, five turrets and four drakes. On the other hand, Cloud9 got 53 kills, 29 turrets and eight drakes. It wasn’t a close game, which was good after fans watched G2, sort of the European equivalent to Cloud9, lose. That was a reminder of something else; that no matter how good the spirit of the underdog is, there are some games that it just can’t win.

In the other half of the upper bracket, the No. 2 seed Evil Geniuses took down the No. 3 seed FlyQuest. It was a closer series, 3-1, but Bang’s performance in the bot lane was solid and midlaner Jiizuke both performed well and played three solid games to advance. FlyQuest isn’t out, they play Golden Guardians in the lower bracket in an effort to keep going. 100 Thieves will play against TSM, who is looking to win again after a two-year championship drought.

As playoffs continue, teams will fight for every inch, every kill, every victory, in order to prove that they deserve their place as the best team in their region. But with so many teams still fighting and so many chances still open, more dreams are going to have to die before one team gets to lift the trophy as champions.  

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Ashton Stansel is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at ashton.stansel@uconn.edu.

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