Week Four in the LEC was a mess. Seemingly everything we knew was thrown out of the window and the standings right now are as messy as ever. G2 lost both of their games this week. Schalke won a game. Three teams went 3-0 and none of these teams was Fnatic or G2. Results wise MAD had a quieter week. Especially when compared to their rookie counterparts MSF. That said, this week posed a big test to the young squad and they passed it.
Week 4 Review
MAD Lions vs Origen 0-1
“Origen assembles Exodia”
As the very first game in the LEC this week, this game was also the first game around the globe on the new patch. 10.3 brought some interesting new priorities: Yuumi, Karthus – and to a lesser degree Ezreal. MAD´s approach to the first 10.3 draft was to secure the botlane that reentered the meta: Ezreal-Yuumi. In order to do so they had to give up the most powerful ADC Aphelios and quickly stared at another Gankplank on the side of Origen in the hands of the talented Pirate Commander Alphari. So far so good. But the second round brought impending doom upon MAD. Another champ that was kept out of the meta for a while made his triumphant reentry: Karthus. The final line-up for Origen looked a lot like a dream from one of league´s most well-known and most controversial analysts.
Sadly, there is not a whole lot to talk about from MAD Lions perspective in this game. A map-split into vertical jungling gave Xerxe´s Karthus a lot of free time to farm up. Shadow was forced to play on the bottom side of the map, which deprived him of a good lane to gank and play around. Bad came to worse when Botlane died in an isolated 2v2. On top of those struggles, Orome was not able to contain Alphari´s GP either.
MAD Lions fell behind and stared down the barrel of a far superior scaling composition on OG´s side. A shining light for MAD, as well as potentially the only thing to look back on with a smile, were the picks MAD was able to orchestrate in the midgame. Ultimately even those kills were never able to give MAD any kind of advantage though. The Lions had absolutely no chance in 5v5 fights. Origen closed out a controlled game in just over 30 minutes.
Player of the game:
In a very clean and controlled game of League of Legends, Origens´s Jungler Xerxe stood out on the first Karthus of the Split. With the fall of the enemy´s Nexus he hit the coveted “legendary” status.
MAD Lions vs Fnatic 1-0
“No one likes Structures.”
Coming from a crushing defeat against Origen, many people debated that MAD was not worthy of being called a challenger to Fnatic. This game was “The game of the week”. Alphari, who destroyed MAD the day before agreed with YamatoCannon in the analyst segment, that MAD had lost the draft heavily. Another criticism levied at MAD was pointed toward their early game in comparison with Fnatic´s. Analyst desk´s consensus was that MAD would struggle to keep up with Fnatic.
Looking at this game´s draft one thing became apparent very quickly: The coaching staff had realized what happened in the draft against OG and adapted to the meta. With 8 more games played on 10.3 to observe some of the priorities were now easily banned away. MAD, this time on red side, got rid off Yuumi as well as the Karthus that had caused them so many worries the day before. Another crucial adaptation was the Gankplank prioritization.
This last game of Week four was very different from the first one. Fnatic attempted some very pro-active dives in bot and toplane, but both didn´t quite yield the expected results. Time and time again players tried to create favorable situations by roaming around the map. This let to an accelerated game in terms of kills, as some of those players were caught in transition. Especially Hylissang struggled to get a foot on the ground. At roughly ten minutes, MAD flipped a switch and found the first very successful play of this game. They secured an early Rift-Herald and immediately grouped mid to push down the first turret. Fnatic was unwilling to send enough members to defend their midlane, as they tried to outdo MAD utilizing cross-map advantages. But the rookies did not let go and punished Fnatic for their greedy approach. Prior to the ten-minute mark, MAD had razed two midlane turrets.
The next few minutes were dominated by very fast map play. It became the main goal for either team to avoid the enemy and grind down all the structures as quickly as possible. Merely 17 minutes into the game seven towers had been destroyed already. MAD always stayed ahead, albeit only slightly, which gave them a significant advantage when it came to the dragon-count. A small fight around the third drake had resulted in 2 kills and that dragon.
Five minutes later Shadow was ready to decide the game as he sneaked around the pit and kicked Rekkles into his own team – determining the fight and providing his team with the opportunity to break open the game. On the back of very accurate Skillshots from Humanoid MAD was able to snowball this victory into another objective and take Baron. The rest of the game was smooth sailing. MAD displayed a great ability to close in a textbook style.
Player of the Game:
Multiple members of the MAD Lions had a great game. Even though Humanoid´s damage and skillshot accuracy contributed a lot to the teamfights, Shadow not only played an immaculate early game, he also found the pivotal flank and initiated the deciding fight.
Week 5 Preview
MAD Lions vs Misfits 21.02.2020 6pm CET
The last match of the first-round robin couldn´t have been more exciting for MAD fans and Misfit fans alike. The two successful rookie teams will finally face off against each other. MAD enters the week tied for second place at 5-3. Misfits are even higher up in the standings and tied for first, one game ahead. In a previous article this author tried to assess expectations for MAD this split. The most important goal is to come out of spring as the strongest rookie team. So far MAD has overperformed relative to expectations. In PGL MAD´s coach James “Mac” MacCormack admitted to being surprised by the consistency that the team has already displayed. The clash against Misfits is a very important test for the team. Not only is Misfits a team tied for first place at 6-2, they are also one of the other rookie squads. Whoever can win this Friday claims the title of “best new team of the first round”.
This game is almost impossible to predict. Especially when reflecting on MAD´s performance in Week four. From the first eight games, Misfits seems like a stronger early-game team. To beat them, MAD need to play a very similar game to the one they played against Fnatic. Side-lanes should, in theory, be advantageous for the MAD Lions, but they can only really rely on their advantage if Humanoid and Shadow are able to contain their counterparts. The center of the map is the cornerstone in this clash. My bet is on MAD this time and I am predicting a MAD win.
MAD Lions vs G2 22.02.2020 9pm CET
Scheduling has turned out in a very strange manner for MAD again. As in Week four they will once again play the very first game of the week as well as the last. Their opponent for the first game of round two will be G2. The last time the two teams met was back in week one. MAD had a great start to the game, but ultimately fell prey to midgame shenanigans from G2. There is almost no value in looking back to that first game though, as both teams have honed their skills and gotten better. Especially MAD have displayed a better understanding in terms of how to close out games. If they can get another head start against G2, chances are they run away with a victory this time.
G2 win. Betting against G2 just doesn´t really make a lot of sense. There are ways for MAD to win this game and with G2 looking out of swords in week four, maybe the “kings of Europe” are vulnerable. One of the ways in which MAD could find success is to attack Caps. After an atrocious showing against Misfits Caps started to look like a liability for G2. Mikyx´s tendencies to die more than he should sometimes add unfavorably to this volatile botlane set-up. Kaiser and Carzzy on a good day – and backed with a solid draft – can exploit that weakness and lead MAD to an upset.
All pictures are Courtesy of LoL Esports