Team Xenex could not have hoped for a better group stage. They ran riot throughout, never taking their foot off the pedal while MnM Gaming suffered a number of roster changes and this cost them games, upsetting their balance week in week out.
With rosters locked in and places on the ESL Studio One stage secured it was the 2016 Summer Champions who returned to clinch the title as they ended Xenex hopes in a clean 3-0 sweep.
Xenex - Shikari, Sancus, Backlund, Innaxe, Prosfair
MnM - Teimpo, Candyfloss, Larssen, Luddehz, Hadow
Xenex - Shen, Elise, Cassiopeia, Caitlyn, Tahm Kench
MnM - Poppy, Rengar, Vladimir, Ashe, Karma
It started off so well for Xenex, after a hectic first blood and mid lane trades. Xenex began to build up a lead, winning a team fight in the lower jungle after Tahm uses Abyssal Voyage to come in behind MnM and only Poppy is able to flee with her life as Xenex grab the drake as the game heads into the mid game
Momentum was with Xenex but MnM gaming had other ideas and won a crucial team fight in the mid lane, picking up 3 kills with no reply before taking an easy Baron. With the buffed minions on their side MnM farmed up and pushed in waves to take down the Xenex mid and bottom inhibitors before take down the Nexus for game 1.
MvP - Larssen
Xenex - Poppy, Lee Sin, Viktor, Kog’maw, Lulu
MnM - Camille, Rengar, Orianna, Caitlyn, Braum
Game two started well for Xenex, stealing the infernal drake away from MnM and picking up first blood in the process. All they had to do was escape through the jungle and the lead was theirs but MnM didn't read the script as they chase down two and secured an early lead. This got the snowball rolling into a solid 15-minute gold lead, piling on the pressure as they looked to take the series 2-0.
A team fight breaks out in the mid lane as two kills go over to MnM and their lead continued to increase, putting heavy pressure and the group stage winners. MnM kept up the farm as they pushed Xenex into their own base while securing Baron control and clearing wards and setting up traps for the Xenex players to stumble upon.
With the base broken and two inhibitors down Xenex still managed to secure the baron pit and shut out the MnM baron play. At least that's what we all thought but Luddehz had other ideas and with what might be the most random play in LoL's history, he sniped the baron steal with a tick of his red buff off of his hurricane, destroying the hopes of Xenex. Pushing down mid with empowered minions they take the nexus and bring the series to 2-0 leaving Xenex with all the work to do.
MvP - Candyfloss
Xenex - Rumble, Olaf, Viktor, Ashe, Bard
MnM - Renekton, Evelyn, Ahri, Caitlyn, Lulu
It all kicks off in the bot lane, first blood over to Xenex as both top laners TP in for the battle but the fight goes the way of MnM with 3 kills ending up on Teimpo's Renekton, before a tower dive picks up the 4th. Shortly after Larssen grabs a kill for himself as Xenex collapse on the MnM bot lane to secure two kills but lose two towers in the process. Kills are being traded all over the Rift but MnM still maintain their early 6k gold lead.
A decisive 5v5 fight breaks out in the mid lane and it goes the way of MnM as they pick up 4 kills from Xenex before moving onto Baron, though they're shut out by some aggressive plays from the remaining Xenex member. Xenex then get greedy as they make a push for Baron only to lose 4 members for the cost of 1 as MnM push towards their base.
MnM secure both mid and bottom inhibitors before sweeping back to Baron Nashor and baiting Xenex into a poor team fight that results in the ace and the team securing their the 2017 ESL Premiership Spring Split Trophy.
MVP - Tiempo
With LAN experience on their side, the MnM gaming roster looked dominant in a one sided finals. They now move on to the EU Challenger Series Qualifiers and it might be just the start of something special for this MnM gaming team.