More than half of the spring split is now in the books. MAD Lions in many people´s minds have outperformed expectations so far. This article aims to shine some light on different statistics like gold at 15 minutes and champion pools. A sample size of ten games is not the biggest, but at least more than 50% of the scheduled games. While some extreme outliers will distort some of the statistics (think about all the Soraka games that mess with the top laners CS average), in other aspects some early trends and general tendencies will become obvious.
The biggest struggle: Earlygame
Especially in recent games in the LEC, MAD Lions struggled to hit the ground running. Against Misfits last week, they were never able to keep up with Razork´s aggression. G2 on Saturday started off with a similar lead, tallying up to 3000 gold at around 12 minutes in the game. Looking further back, the game against Rogue comes to mind as well. In that game, Rogue absolutely dismantled MAD Lions early on and sat at a 4000-gold lead coming mid-game. For a team with 6 wins, the early game of MAD Lions is quite poor. While an average of -977 gold is not detrimental most of the time, that average, of course, includes games against the almost winless bottom half of the league. Interestingly enough, the highest gold lead MAD has achieved so far was in the very first game on stage against G2 at 2,500.
Oracles elixir ranks MAD Lions seventh when it comes to early game rating. According to their definition, a value of 60 is very good while 40 and below is very bad. MAD Lions barely escape the “very bad” rating with 42.6. Only the three severely struggling teams SK, Schalke and Vitality slot in beneath them.
The redeeming quality: Lategame
On the flipside, MAD Lions actually rank second in the “mid/late rating” via oracles elixir. This statistic measures how likely it is for a team to win a game based on the 15-minute mark. If a team wins exactly as often as the average competitive team they get a MLR of 0. Everything above 0 can be translated to this team is x% more likely to win the game than the average team.
As MAD Lions currently have a 6-4 record while consistently falling behind in the earlygame, they have to be in the upper echelons of MLR. And in fact, they slot in behind only Origen in second place.
Throughout the last few weeks, they have come from behind multiple times to win against strong opponents. Some of those wins, however, like the stunning comeback against Rogue in week three, have to be evaluated with a grain of salt. The reason being that MAD won off the back of some very strong champions. However, both the victory against Rogue, which featured a Soraka, as well as the victory against G2 that introduced Europe to Kalista Taric, are still quite impressive. No matter how strong a champion, or how unprepared the opponent to a specific pick, it takes a lot of skill to win with these kinds of deficits against strong opponents. Only time will tell if MAD Lions can repeat these great feats or if there consistently sub-par early game will come back to haunt them in the second half of the split.
What does this mean for their champion pool?
The champion pool displayed on stage so far is very intriguing. Even though most of MAD Lions´ wins have come through superior fighting in the mid and late game, some of the win rates would not suggest this outcome. Multiple roles feature more early game focused champions. Especially if one takes a look at the jungle pool, Shadow played seven of the ten games so far on either Lee or Elise, two notorious early game junglers. Of course, these two champs are also comfort champions for almost every jungler, but this is still an interesting sight. A similar tendency can be seen when it comes to Humanoids champion pool. Even though he tried his hands at Ryze twice, most of his success came from his mobility heavy assassins. His team finds the most success in later fights, but Humanoid seems to rely on a lot of mobility to avoid dying alone.
In this article, it points out the difference between a Ryze and a Leblanc game for MAD´s midlaner. Although this sounds like a weakness for the MAD Lions, Humanoid is able to perform on the strong lane-bully champions. He averages +9.6 cs @15 minutes.
A similar evaluation can be made looking at Carzzy´s champion pool. The young ADC played most of his game on very strong laning ADCs. That said, this is less of an indictment of him having to pick certain champions to mask certain tendencies. In his case, the meta doesn´t allow for too much wiggle room in his position. Nonetheless, he was able to succeed with Kalista.
Maybe the most interesting case is Kaiser. While he flew under the radar in the first few weeks and the spotlight was played on his jungler and ADC, he has well and truly stepped out of their shadows in the last few weeks. Kaiser not only is the only player from MAD Lions that ranks top 5 in KDA. He brought out two unique champs that landed his team crucial victories: Bard and Taric. With a surprisingly low amount of games on the big three (Braum, Nautilus and Leona) he has provided his team with a lot of scaling power from the support position.
The most obvious candidate for lategame champs can be found in the top lane. Unsurprisingly, Orome has played his fair share of late-game champs. With seven games on the likes of Gankplaynk, Ornn, Soraka and Cho, he is the primary scaling menace. Sadly, his three tank games did not help his team win anything. While everyone in the world is up in arms about Ornn, Orome hasn´t been able to find success on him. Instead, his strongest suit so far seems to be safe laners. Sett, Mordekaiser and most importantly Gankplank are his avenues to victory so far.
Following this exciting rookie squad has been very enjoyable. They bring everything to be the next big European success story. After ten games, the biggest problem seems to be how they conduct themselves in the early stages of the game. While they were able to steal some of the games, LEC competition remains fierce. Rematches will be the real test for this team. Misfits, Excel and Rogue are the main competitors in the race for playoffs. This week could either be a big step towards MAD´s goal, or a big set-back. MAD Lions have to show that they shored up their early game problems and can get past the 15-minute mark where they excel.
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