Evil Geniuses and MAD Lions make history at League of Legends World Championship, but for very different reasons

At least once: NA>EU

Photo via Riot Games

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Evil Geniuses crushed MAD Lions today in a match with qualification for the group stage of the 2022 League of Legends World Championship at stake. The NA team made history, becoming the first team from their region to beat an EU representative in an international best-of series, without counting the Rift Rivals competition. MAD Lions made history again, but for being the only team from a major region to not pass the play-in stage—again. 

MAD have been eliminated from the World Championship while EG move on to the group stage, thus bringing all three NA teams to the main event of the tournament. EG had a dominant performance throughout the series, with all of their players outplaying their counterparts on MAD Lions. In what was probably the most anticipated matchup of the play-in stage, EG showed their best selves on stage today, crushing their opponents on every occasion.

The first game was the most hard-fought, with both teams being proactive in their strategies. Although it was MAD Lions who got first blood, EG reacted fast to their opponents’ mistakes and secured a double kill for Kaori in the early stages of the game. Twenty-eight minutes later, both teams were still on equal footing. But EG’s composition was much tankier than MAD’s, allowing the NA team to be more secure of the outcome when initiating a teamfight. Once they built a small gold advantage and gained control of the majority of the map, EG moved to secure the first Baron of the game but only pushed through MAD’s defense with the second one that was stolen by Inspired a few minutes later.

Screengrab via Riot Games

With this, EG had won their first game in 2022 against a team from EU, striking first in their series toward qualifying for the group stage. But their blows did not cease to hit MAD Lions in game one. Instead, EG cemented their fighting spirit in the series by picking Sett in the mid lane for Jojopyun. But once again, it was Elyoya who secured first blood for his team in the top lane, although his sole effort and drive for proactive plays was not enough to prevent EG from once again building up a gold lead from the early game. 

Screengrab via Riot Games

The NA representatives kept on finding successful teamfights, splitting MAD Lions and taking down single players, gaining more map control as the game progressed thanks to their vision and lane pressure. MAD wanted to prevent the gap from widening even more by stopping their opponents from taking the first Baron of the series, but EG’s teamfight once again shut MAD down and they quickly ended the game once they conquered the Baron buff too. 

As if to replay the second game of the series, EG quickly picked up an early-game lead in the last game as well. By picking up a high mobility champion like Lee Sin for Inspired, EG enabled their jungler to pressure all lanes, while allowing both Impact and Vulcan to roam across the map to further strengthen the other lanes’ pressure. On one of those occasions, Jojopyun succeeded in taking down Nisqy with the help of Impact, eliciting expressions of joy and surprise in fans and analysts alike. 

After the 10-minute mark, the game stabilized with neither of the two teams wanting to trigger a teamfight before scaling for a bit longer. But after the first Baron spawned, both teams’ priority changed and EG were the first to make a move toward the monster’s pit. 

Screengrab via Riot Games

MAD couldn’t find the right timing and positioning to engage onto the NA team but still prevented them from acquiring the buff—until a mistake was made. Kaiser overstepped into the enemy Aphelios’ turret and got shut down, triggering a manhunt for the other MAD Lions’ players from EG. Once the EU team was ripped to shreds, EG took the Baron buff and moved to close out the game and the series. There was nothing MAD could do at that point as their opponents’ strength had grown and become insurmountable. 

Screengrab via Riot Games

EG showed a dominant performance in every game of this series, scaling in strength and boldness with every teamfight. Once they got a hold of some form of a lead in the game, they snowballed it until the victory screen appeared. 

With their win, all three NA teams will play in the 2022 World Championship group stage, with EG in particular set to play in Group B. Their first match will be against LPL champions JD Gaming this Saturday, Oct. 8 at 7pm CT. League fans can watch the game on the lolesports website


Cecilia Ciocchetti
Freelance writer mainly focusing on the League of Legends and VALORANT esports scenes. Sometimes at events interviewing professionals of the scene, from players to the talented people working behind the curtains. You can reach out to me via Twitter.

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