After a banger of a series, MAD Lions
secured their first LEC title. They came back from a 2-0 in the final best-of-5 series versus Rogue
, taking game 5 against all odds.
It was the summer of 2014 when a team not named Fnatic or G2 last won the LEC title. It was Alliance beating by 3-1 a Fnatic roster with sOAZ, xPeke, and a younger Rekkles. That was the only title the two European giants had conceded until last Sunday.
In the only LEC finals without Fnatic or G2, Mad Lions beat Rogue in the first reverse sweep of the history of the LEC Finals.
In November of 2019, Splyce rebranded into MAD Lions. In only three splits, MAD Lions have finished 3rd, 4th, and 1st, securing their first LEC title, went to Worlds’ play-in where they fell to Armut’s Supermassive Esports and now, they will represent Europe in the MSI from May 6-22.
Let’s break down the key moments of the LEC finals.
The mental game
Rogue clearly won Game 1, but Game 2 was a different thing. MAD Lions were 5.7K gold ahead at minute 40. Our win prediction model almost gave them the victory, but MAD Lions threw the game at the end.
The most fed player of game 2, Humanoid
on Orianna, recorded a 2/0/13 KDA, 446 CS at minute 43 and with the Zhonya’s Hourglass in his build.
However, in a single team fight for the ocean soul, Orianna misses the Shockwave and gets caught by Inspired
on Hecarim followed by Trymbi
on Rakan. The game ended less than a minute after that pick:
How could MAD Lions mentally recover from throwing a game and being 2-0? In the postgame lobby of the LEC broadcast, they mentioned that they always believed they could win the series and that all that they could hear in the voice comms was laughter.
Humanoid mentioned that it was the first time that he was on a team that could beat any opponent instead of fighting to go to the next round to then get stomped by G2 or Fnatic.
This team atmosphere only says good things about their players and coaching staff and staying mentally positive played a major role in the rest of the series.
This is how Armut
came back to the stage after the 2-0 for Rogue:
Things would go in MAD Lions’ favor in game 3, where Rogue were ahead and with the Baron push, but after Armut on Wukong used the TP, MAD Lions found the fight they were looking for to turn the game around:
Game 4 was the only one that MAD Lions were ahead of Rogue during the whole map but coming back from Game 5 was another mental challenge for the Spanish team.
Despite losing the game, Rogue finished with a 4.0K gold advantage. At minute 26, they had a 7.0K gold lead and nearly an 80% win probability that they ended up wasting:
This series confirms their brilliant early game plan but also their problems to close out matches in the mid-late game.
What’s MAD Lions playstyle?
Clearly, team fighting and looking for bold engages.
And that’s exactly what they found 3 times from minute 26 to get their first LEC title:
At minute 27: MAD Lions had 4 members mid and a TP on Gnar.
Ryze and Renekton showed themselves on the side lanes, Elyoya
recognized the situation and went for the engage. Hans sama
on Senna instantly flashes back ending up in an awkward position between two walls, the perfect place for Rakan’s ‘The Quickness’ (R), Viktor and Gnar:
Humanoid on Viktor got a triple kill (instant 1200 gold) that got him one ‘Needlessly Large Rod’ and charged his Dark Seal.
- Minute 30: Fight for the Mountain Soul, Elyoya and Kaiser spot Hans sama and instantly engage into him. Trymbi on Tahm Kench saves him, but Hans sama steps way too far behind his team. Carzzy goes in and trades his life for Senna’s. It's a completely worthwhile move as MAD Lions get another 3x2 and the drake that would buy them another 5 minutes.
Minute 34: MAD Lions pushes a mid wave and goes for Baron. Rogue don’t contest the wave so they are forced to fight for Baron from their own jungle, and that’s exactly what MAD Lions were looking for.
Kaiser goes in, Trymbi instantly flashes out, but Inspired flashes into MAD Lions who find the first pick. At the same time, Armut on Gnar gets the mega form and uses his Flash + E + R + W combo to get into the backline, stunning 2 opponents.
MAD Lions then will chase Senna and ace Rogue, killing Odoamne
right before taking down the Nexus:
In Games 3 and 4, Rogue opted for a composition with an AD mid laner, Tristana and Lucian respectively. A composition with so much AD damage in those two games (Karma was the only AP threat in the former and Lillia in the latter), can get countered by one of Armut’s signature picks, Wukong.
The explanation lies in the champion's passive ability as he “gains stacking armor and max health regeneration while fighting champions and monsters”.
Armut has played the champion 5 times this year with a 100% win rate. Let’s take a look at his impressive performances on Wukong in games 3 and 4 (Wukong got banned for Game 5):
Armut stepped up during the Playoffs and he was named MVP of the finals especially because of these two games.
Rookie of the Split
Right before the start of the LEC Finals, Elyoya was named Rookie of the Split. As we analyzed in this previous article,
Elyoya has been impressive in this Split.
After being named Rookie of the Split in Spring 2020 Spanish Superliga and his team, Movistar Riders, being the runners-up in that tournament, Elyoya got the MVP of the Summer Split and his team clinched the Summer 2020 Superliga trophy.
The eyes of many LEC teams were on him after such a rookie year, and he finally accepted MAD Lions’ offer.
He has been described by many as a "cerebral player." He plays a major role in the shot-calling, especially in the early game, and the truth is he doesn’t look like a rookie at all on the rift.
As you can check here on TrackLoL
, Elyoya has finished 2nd between junglers in KDA, 3rd in Damage/min, and 1st in CS and Gold per minute:
In this Playoffs, in all 13 maps played by MAD Lions, he’s had to face the arguably two best junglers of the Split, Inspired 9 times and Jankos the other 4.
Despite these hard matchups, he has been one of the main engage providers of his team with Volibear and able to carry some games and put his teammates ahead on the Udyr.
Now, in his first Split, Elyoya is the Rookie of the Season and his team is the LEC Champion. The short career of the Spaniard is already astonishing and it has just begun.
Carzzy and Kaiser are just in their second year in the LEC. They come from two organizations that we will be able to watch in the European Masters Main Event starting on Wednesday, the former comes from BIG (Berlin International Gaming) while the latter left Mousesports to join MAD Lions in 2020.
After a brilliant rookie season, Carzzy has struggled during the Spring Regular Season but has stepped up in these Playoffs playing Kai’Sa, Jinx or Ezreal.
Both bot laners struggled during the finals but their team, with performances like Humanoid’s, were able to carry them.
The Czech midlaner, just 21 years old, is the most experienced of the team in the LEC (5 splits), has already been to Worlds twice and he is the only remaining member of Splyce after the rebranding.
He had to face one of the toughest in-lane matchups in the League in Larssen and yet he was brilliant. Let’s take a look at his performance during the series:
He played against one of the best mid laners in Europe picking lane bullies like Tristana or Lucian and still, he did not only hold the lane but was able to be one of the team main carries.
MAD Lions made history winning the LEC after beating G2 and Rogue twice on the way. They’ve adapted really well to the meta and they’ve shown that the whole team is on the same page.
In a meta of team fight-oriented compositions like this one, the MAD Lions shine, and they have proved that they never give up no matter what.
The experience they will live in the MSI will be for sure valuable to grow as a team as they will scrim and play against the best teams of the World.
Long live the MAD Lions, see you at MSI!