The 2021 LEC Spring Finals brought the end of an era. The long-standing kings of Europe G2, as well as Fnatic, weren't even part of the action and a new contender was crowned to represent Europe at this year's Mid-Season Invitational in Iceland. The MAD Lions have had an insane split, but was it enough to convince fans that they're the rightful LEC representatives? What can we expect from this young team?
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The League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational is a miniature Worlds. From every region, the winning team is sent to the event to compete for the MSI trophy. The MAD Lions are going to be representing Europe and the LEC after they managed to net third place during the regular season, but then went on an insane run in the playoffs to take home the crown.
But do they have a chance to make it out of groups and into the rumble stage at this year's MSI? Or is there a chance of them winning the whole tournament?
The MAD Lions will have to compete on the international stage during the Mid-Season Invitational, but are they used to this pressure? Last year, the team managed to make it into the play-in stage of the League of Legends World Championship and let's just say their performance wasn't all it's cracked up to be.
The team looked sloppy and didn't even win against a Turkish Supermassive Gaming, losing to the TCL representatives. Amrut, the MAD Lions toplaner, was the player to kick the MAD Lions out of the tournament last year.
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So, did anything change since their embarrassing loss at Worlds in Shanghai? The core of the team stayed the same, but there were a few additions to the team which could make the difference at MSI 2021:
- Toplane: Irfan "Armut" Berk Tükek (New)
- Jungle: Javier "Elyoya" Prades Batalla (New)
- Midlane: Marek "Humanoid" Brázda (part of the 2020 roster)
- ADC: Matyáš "Carrzy" Orság (part of the 2020 roster)
- Support: Norman "Kaiser" Kaiser (part of the 2020 roster)
As you can see three of five players stayed the same from the Worlds 2020 team. Armut – whom we have already mentioned in our players to watch article – was added in the top lane and had an impressive rookie split with the highest gold-per-minute score of all top laners.
Elyoya, the other new addition to the MAD Lions, also had an incredible split with high kill participation numbers. He managed to turn games around for the team whenever their bot-lane or mid-lane was struggling.
Can the MAD Lions make it through the Group Phase at MSI 2021?
The MAD Lions are in Group B at MSI 2021, alongside PSG Talon from Taiwan, the Istanbul Wildcats from Turkey, and the Brazilian paiN Gaming. Looking at these teams making it out of groups is the only option for the MAD Lions. Unfortunately, teams only play best-of-1s during the group stage, so a single mistake can cost you in the next round.
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The Wildcats shouldn't be too much of a problem for the LEC representative – at least we hope so. But PSG Talon is probably the team who will give the Lions the most trouble. The team had looked amazing at the 2020 World Championship and hopes to continue their hot streak even without their starting ADC. The MAD Lions should also be able to beat the Brazilian paiN Gaming, even if the team has veteran talents like brTT as well as tinowns in their roster – a player known for his upsets.
The MAD Lions really could make a splash at this year's Mid-Season Invitational. Their aggressive playstyle, strong teamfights could put a stop to the dominance which most expect from DAMWON, RNG and Cloud9. Come on, G2 has shown that Europe is a contender, so it's time to show that the LEC is more than just G2.
And hey, even if the MAD Lions might not win, they can always make the LEC proud by gaining that extra Worlds 2021 slot for the best region.
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