Papara SuperMassive of the TCL defeated the LEC’s MAD Lions today in a thrilling five-game series to close out the fifth day of the 2020 League of Legends World Championship play-in stage.
In stark contrast to the day’s first best-of-five, a clean three-game sweep by LGD Gaming over Rainbow7, this all-European matchup went the distance.
The first game of the series saw SuperMassive jump out to an early 1-0 lead when the contest completely snowballed out of control for MAD Lions. An off-meta team composition that featured a Wukong-Senna bottom lane resulted in a spectacular failure for the LEC’s fourth seed, while SuperMassive quickly established control of the series.
But in game two, things turned around quickly. MAD Lions re-established their presence in the series on the backs of strong, turnaround performances from Shad0w and Humanoid. A Baron steal from Shad0w just before the 24-minute mark was all MAD needed to lock up the series at 1-1.
From there, SuperMassive and MAD Lions traded shifts in momentum throughout the series’ third and fourth games. After SuperMassive went up 2-1, MAD answered quickly with a comeback victory in game four, bringing the match to a decisive fifth game.
In that fifth game, though, SuperMassive silenced all hope for the LEC, finishing the series with a convincing 29-minute stomp. As a result, MAD Lions have been knocked out of the 2020 World Championship.
Since the play-in stage was introduced in 2017, the representative from the LEC has always advanced to the Worlds group stage. This year marked the first time that a European squad was knocked out of the play-in stage without reaching the tournament’s main event. To further that point, this best-of-five also marked the first time that a team from the TCL has beaten a team from a major region at an international event.
Still, SuperMassive’s road to the Worlds group stage hasn’t reached its terminus. The TCL champions will go on to face the Unicorns of Love in a decisive winner-take-all series tomorrow to determine who will snatch up the tournament’s final berth.
As for MAD Lions, the promising team filled to the brim with young superstars will return home with priceless experience under their belt. Perhaps next year the organization can seek redemption.