Tomorrow starts the biggest event of professional League of Legends of the year, the 2020 World Championship. In this atypical edition, where the games will be played in empty arenas, and the list of participating teams had to be reduced due to the coronavirus pandemic, there is still room for excitement.
The pandemic times we are living are not the only feature that makes this edition special. Historical Worlds teams like Cloud9 won’t be representing North America, Faker’s T1 won’t be there for Korea either, and the last world champions, Invictus Gaming and FunPlus Phoenix, were far away from qualifying.
Also, for the first time ever, Europe is going to be represented by four teams. This has opened the doors for all the LEC teams to qualify for the most important League of Legends tournament. Every team could have made it, but there was one that nobody expected at the beginning of the year: MAD Lions.
The team, originally from Spain, got a spot in the League of LEC after one of the most historical teams, Splyce, was rebranded to Mad Lions right after a successful year in which they managed to qualify to Worlds and advance to the Quarter-Finals, where they were eliminated by SKT Telecom T1.
During the 2019 offseason, the snake transformed into a lion, and the roster was almost completely changed. Marek “Humanoid” Brázda was the only Splyce player that was left. It was his first year as a LEC player, and his performance, consistency, and skills made him become a leader around whom to build the new team.
From being a rookie, to be the captain of the lions. The story of Humanoid began four years ago. The mid laner started his professional career back in 2016, competing with several teams in minor leagues.
One of those teams was MAD Lions itself, in the Spanish league, but Humanoid had to join Dark Passage in the Turkish league and Illuminar Gaming in the Polish league before becoming a LEC player.
After a very successful 2019, and with the rebranding of the team, a new roster was to be built around Humanoid, and nobody was surprised when MAD Lions started hiring rookie players… this project was just born, they didn’t have the best ratings in the power rankings, but they had plenty of room to grow.
And they grew. Indeed.
During the 2020 Spring split, MAD Lions sent a message to everyone in the LEC: they were there to grow, but also to compete. The team managed to qualify to Playoffs in the 4th position and reached Semi-Finals after beating G2 Esports.
In Summer, they qualified 2nd in the Regular Season. They were no longer considered a “rookie team”. MAD Lions had gained respect and became one of the strongest teams in Europe.
Despite having a poor performance in Summer Playoffs, Humanoid‘s team managed to earn the LEC’s fourth seed at the 2020 Worlds Championship… in their first year of existence, with four “rookies”.
One of the biggest strengths of MAD Lions is the bot lane, with Matyáš “Carzzy” Orság as the AD Carry, and Norman “Kaiser” Kaiser as Support.
Being only 14 years old, Carzzy had already reached Challenger on EUW and now has become one of the most popular AD Carries in the LEC at the age of 18. His explosive playstyle and personality fit perfectly in his team and after one year as a LEC player, we have witnessed not only his potential but also his ability to adapt to any matchup or in-game situation.
These skills are well used in MAD Lions, probably thanks to Kaiser, who arrived as a rookie in the Spring Split and now is one of the most valuable players in LEC.
Coming from Mousesports, the 19 years old German support (previously known as Gistick) has earned the respect and admiration of all the fans, by showing very consistent performances, leadership in the team, and insane skills in the game. Actually, he has been a strong candidate for the MVP of the split and appears in the “All-Pro Team rosters” in both of the splits he has played in LEC.
To complete the roster, we have Zhiqiang “Shad0w” Zhao in the jungle and Andrei “Orome” Popa in the top lane.
Shadow shares his story with Kaiser. Also coming from Mousesports, the 19 years old jungler started his path in the LEC early this year as the main jungler of MAD Lions. Very well known for his Lee Sin, Shadow brings an explosive playstyle, very proactive, that has helped him to become a key part of the team’s strategy, where the mid-jungle synergy has been crucial this year, and also one of the most valuable players in Europe, being chosen as the jungler of the “All-Pro Team” in Summer.
Having one of the most powerful bot lanes of Europe and this amazing mid-jungle combination in the same team makes Orome the big “sacrifice” of MAD Lions.
He is, together with Humanoid, the most veteran pro player of the team. He had already played with Splyce when MAD Lions Madrid was the academy team for the snakes, and his experience, personality, and ability to adapt to every situation have been well rewarded this year.
We could say that his role in the team is “to hold steady”. This hard job doesn’t allow you to shine, but the 22 years old Romanian top laner has proven that he can follow his team’s aggressiveness and bring calm when needed.
These five guys are now facing the most important games of their careers under James “Mac” MacCormack’s command. It is their time to prove their full potential, to see how far they can get, and they have their first test tomorrow against INTZ and Team Liquid in the first day of the Play-in Stage.
Will the lions become kings of League of Legends?