Even the most hardcore League of Legends esports fans find keeping track of every region, including the minor regions, a tall task. As a result, the majority of fans will be unacquainted with many of the teams and players attending the most prestigious LoL Esports event of the year. So Worlds Spotlight was created to help educate and inform the fans of the stories and narratives surrounding these players and teams. Welcome to our MAD Lions Worlds 2021 Spotlight.
Top: Irfan “Armut” Berk Tükek
Jungle: Javier “Elyoya” Prades Batalla
Mid: Marek “Humanoid” Brázda
Bot: Matyáš “Carzzy” Orság
Support: Norman “Kaiser” Kaiser
Head Coach: James “Mac” MacCormack
Regular Season Placing: 3rd
Playoffs Placing: 1st
Throughout summer, it felt like MAD Lions were taking it easy. According to coaching staff and players, this was in fact true as a means to deal with and prevent burnout. Although MAD was taking it easy, it did not mean they were not winning. They went 12-6 in the regular season and secured third place, qualifying them for the upper bracket of playoffs. Then in playoffs, MAD dominated G2 Esports convincingly 3-1 and subsequently embarrassed Rogue 3-0. Finals were just as easy, where they beat Fnatic 3-1 to win their second championship in a row and secure the first seed from the LEC.
Ever since their insane reverse sweep against Rogue in the spring finals, the feeling around MAD Lions reminds me of SKT during their glory days. No matter how behind MAD is, there is a small, nagging thought in the back of my head: How is MAD going to stage a comeback? We saw demonstrations of this on full display in the spring finals against Rogue, where they pulled off a reverse sweep with a huge fifth-game comeback. We saw it in summer in their series against Rogue again, where they made a comeback after comeback to beat Rogue 3-0, and Game 2 against Fnatic in the finals, where they made Fnatic struggle despite a 10K gold difference. However, this does not mean MAD’s early game is anything to scoff at either, which they proved in their heated Finals series versus Fnatic. In the LEC playoffs, MAD felt unbeatable. Now at Worlds 2021, it’s time to see if MAD can match or even surpass the achievements of the past LEC kings, Fnatic and G2.
Players to Watch:
Two-Time TCL AND LEC Champ: Armut
Similar to what PapaSmithy said about Peanut joining SKT back in 2017, Armut beating the MAD Lions at Worlds 2020 in the Play-In stage was almost like his audition to join the team. When the two-time TCL champion joined the roster for the 2021 season, fans were excited for a MAD roster that seemed like an upgrade over 2020. While Armut champion pool is joked as encompassing only the skins of Gnar, his dominant picks have expanded to champions like Jayce and Gangplank. With that said, nothing beats his comfort picks. When he has his Wukong or Gnar, Armut creates insane engages that pull MAD Lions out from the jaws of defeat, just like in their spring final reverse sweep against Rogue. After crushing them last year, Armut is coming into Worlds 2021 with the hopes and expectations of Europe on him and his team to return with international success.
Worlds 2021 is Humanoid’s third-consecutive Worlds. In his last two appearances, Humanoid performed exceptionally well, even when his team was floundering around him in 2020. Not only has Humanoid shown us on stage that he can match up against elite international mid laners like ShowMaker and Doinb, but even eastern pros are praising him as one of the better mids in the west. Coming into Worlds 2021, Humanoid and MAD are favorites to make it out of Group D, but MAD had similar expectations put on them last year in Play-Ins. However, if Humanoid can show us the same level of play he did at 2020 Worlds, MAD should comfortably secure a top 2 finish in their group.