G2 Esports defeated KOI 3-1 today, securing their spot in the 2023 LEC Winter Split finals. G2 easily won the rematch of the 2022 Summer Split grand finals, dealing KOI their first loss since the group stage. Since the two teams continue to face off in the LEC’s upper bracket semifinals, the history between G2 and KOI seems to be repeating itself. Yet unlike their last match in a best-of series, G2 won this one, making it the LEC match of the week.
It was KOI who had the advantage in the opening game until they no longer did. G2 Esports reversed the course of the game by taking advantage of KOI’s errors after a solid early game that was dominated by Malrang’s ganks. Hans Sama’s performance on Miss Fortune in particular, where the champion’s damage blasted through the KOI lineup, was essential to G2’s triumph.
The pivotal teamfight took place around the Baron pit, as G2 defeated KOI’s back line before taking control of the Baron boost. KOI persisted in engaging their opponents across the Rift, but G2 pushed in the bot lane, taking out KOI’s inhibitor and eventually their Nexus with the Ocean Soul and the Baron bonus. The early favored KOI, but their rivals found several key fights, got back in the game, and then it snowballed to the finish.
The G2 dominated the second game of the series from beginning to end. G2 repeatedly eliminated members of the opposing team by being present throughout the Rift and making proactive plays. The Samurais had 10 more kills than KOI and increased their lead over them to 14,000 gold when the clock reached 25 minutes. G2 brought the series to match point by capturing objective after objective on the map and several times crushing every member of KOI.
Malrang’s ganks helped KOI establish a big edge early on in the third game, giving them the means to take on G2 head-on and triumph in a number of important battles. Although G2 started multiple objectives and battles surrounding them, it was KOI who consistently defeated their foes and took the victory, whether it was a dragon or a Baron. But in the end, neither of those were required for KOI to defeat G2. Just before eliminating G2’s Nexus, Comp obtained a pentakill in their base.
The match’s fourth game saw the most intense competition of the whole run, both on and off the Rift. From the very beginning of the game, the two teams traded blows, but whenever one team had the upper hand, the other responded swiftly to restore parity. This back-and-forth was interspersed by a number of breaks brought on by external issues with the game, which surely increased the tension in a match where a lot was at stake.
Without either squad truly achieving the goal, conflicts surrounding the Baron bonus continually being started and resolved. Everything came to a head when G2 made the choice to leave the Baron and dedicate himself to the Dragon Soul, provoking KOI to challenge the goal. In one bout, where G2’s positioning and coordination were superior to KOI’s, the game was decided. G2 assaulted KOI’s base and completely destroyed it with the use of Chemtech Soul and the Baron bonus.
The Samurais are now guaranteed a spot in the 2023 LEC Winter Split finals and are just a step away from qualifying for the MSI this year. But, similar to what occurred during the Summer Split of 2017, KOI could still resurface and claim the championship for themselves. The match between SK Gaming and MAD Lions on February 24 will determine KOI’s opponents before then as they attempt to reclaim a spot in the split finals.
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