MAD Lions quietly sneaked into second place with a 2-0 week in week 3 of LEC Spring 2020. A 4-2 start looks very promising for the rookie team, and the two games showed many different strengths, but the common factor was a very good draft. Although handing the MVP award to coaches has a very controversial history in European League of Legends, this week´s most impactful member of the MAD squad has to be their coaching staff.
Week 3 Review:
MAD Lions (2-2) against SK Gaming (1-3) 1:0
The Game of missed Skillshots
This game saw MAD Lions play their first game of the split on blue side. Which in hindsight is quite remarkable, as the Lion´s coaching staff went with a very interesting approach in draft. They focused on responding to the enemy´s team-comp. This strategy historically has been much more common on the other side of the draft. Fans got to see the GP into Ornn answer as well as the first “Mage”-Support champ in Bard as a direct response to Braum.
The game went relatively slowly, with Kaiser picking up the first kill on a roam to midlane. MAD Lions never lost the initiative and continued to run away with the early game, quickly amassing gold leads through superior map movements. MAD secured multiple plates as well as the first Rift Herald.
Overall fans got to see a very disciplined MAD incrementally grow this lead in the midgame. In a very low-kill game MAD controlled both sides of the river and were sitting at a 3.5k gold lead at 23 minutes. Which grew even bigger in the next two minutes leading to a substantial 5,000 gold lead at 25 minutes. Around this time a fight broke out at Drake number four. MAD trounced SK, took Baron and ran away with the game. Only in the very last push did the first member of MAD fall. It was too late for SK to come back and thus MAD closed out the first game of the week rather comfortably. Another remarkable detail about this game was the almost comical imprecision of skill shots. This problem especially plagued both junglers.
Player of the game: This game was a team effort, which makes it very hard to decide on an MVP. For me the MVP of the early game was Kaiser. But Orome had a little bit more impact in the later fights. Hence I personally would like to honour Orome for his solid Gankplank performance.
MAD Lions (3-2) against Rogue (3-2) 1:0
Even though both teams came in with the same record, Rogue was the heavy favourite to win this game. They had pushed G2 to the limit the previous day, while MAD played a bottom of the table opponent in SK. Once again, the draft was a very crucial part of this game, even more so than in the game against SK. Rogue prepared a very specific draft to attack Carzzy and set up Hans Sama for success on his famous Draven. As one can see in the picture below of the draft, Rogue got rid of all the A-tier ADCs in round one to force Carzzy on a weaker pick.
The plan seemed solid, until Rogue forgot about Soraka and gave up one of the strongest champs in one of her safest match-ups in the toplane. After the game, Inspired admitted, that they had forgotten about Soraka in the heat of the moment. This lapse of judgment from Rogue´s side let MAD forge an incredibly strong team-fighting team composition.
Rogue was still able to get off to a head start. They secured First Blood in the enemy jungle, chasing down Shadow. The biggest highlight of the game was a filthy wombo-combo at nine minutes at the Rift Herald fight. The newest champ on the roster got to show off his wrestling skills as Rogue routed MAD in a four versus five situation.
Afterward MAD made some great picks happen to recover from the early deficit, but a vital mistake from Humanoid led to Draven finally cashing in on his passive. Rogue looked like they could potentially overcome the scaling disadvantage as they accrued a 4,000 Gold lead by the 17-minute mark.
Seven minutes later MAD was able to win a teamfight and turn the game in their favour as they were also able to get the Baron off of that one skirmish. All the following fights were unwinnable for Rogue who couldn´t get on top of Orome´s Soraka. MAD won this game after Rogue tried to go for a hail Mary Teleport play and Carzzy got dunked into Rogues fountain.
Player of the game: While many people may not admit to being a big fan of Soraka, Orome showed one of the best understandings of how to position on Soraka in later fights. As well as how to make the game incredibly hard to play for Rogue´s solo-laners by utilising his silence to block engages and pathways.
Week 4 Preview
MAD Lions (4-2) vs OG (4-2)
This is an intriguing matchup. MAD enters week 4 on a high note. On the flipside, OG had to suffer a defeat at the hands of a team they were not expecting to lose to. After a very good week from Orome the coming weekend will be his next big test. In this match Alphari will look to punish him as much as he can. On the other side of the map Carzzy will face off against one of EU´s longest-standing prodigies in the botlane. For anyone who didn´t follow the ERL´s and EU Masters last year the player match-ups in this match certainly look like an insurmountable skill-gap in favour of OG. That said, if MAD´s laners can prove that they can stand up to the veteran talent as they did in the first half of their game against G2, the stocks of this rookie squad will continue to rise.
Prediction: OG WIN.This time OG will win out. But MAD will show everyone in the league that their players are capable to contain some of the best in the league. This will be a slow and methodical game with few kills.
MAD Lions (4-2) vs FNC (4-2)
A very different opponent than OG on Friday, Fnatic will constantly ask the question of: “Can you stand this pressure”. Smart and efficient communication are necessary to prevent FNC from rolling over a team. Carzzy and Kaiser need to be on top of their game to not fall prey to one of the infamous bot-lane dives FNC is likely to attempt. Bwipo, one of the most aggressive laners in LEC, will test Orome´s resolve and laning prowess. The most important match-up, under the condition that neither sidelane for MAD collapses, will be the mid-lane fight for priority and roam-access between Humanoid and Nemesis. If FNC cannot accelerate through one of their bot-lane dives, Selfmade and Nemesis become the pivotal pieces that shape FNC´s earlygame. Humanoid and Shadow need to step up to pose a challenge for the FNC duo.
Prediction: FNC WIN. FNC´s playstyle of ceaseless pressure will overwhelm MAD this time. At this point in time, it´s no shame to lose to FNC. MAD will be thoroughly tested in the early-game. A good showing against FNC would be a great foundation to build upon.