The Roar of European Lions: How MAD Lions can rise to the occasion at Worlds 2021

Things could get a little MAD with one of LoL's western success stories.

Image via DJ Esports

This article is sponsored by DJ Esports.

The League of Legends World Championship 2021 is taking place in Iceland, and 22 teams from around the world will play against each other to determine who takes home the Summoner’s Cup.

MAD Lions have come to represent the LEC as the region’s first seed. Over the latest season, MAD achieved good results in the spring and summer double crowns. They are coming to the World Championships as Europe’s top contender.

In 2020, they finished in second place in the regular season of the Summer Split and finally reached that year’s Worlds play-in stage, as the fourth seed of the LEC. Their performance was underwhelming during their first trip to the big stage, though. In the end, they were the first team from one of the four major leagues to be knocked out of the play-in stage for the first time in the history of Worlds.

Despite a heartbreaking performance at last year’s World Championship, MAD still maintain their signature style. Their teamfighting ability is outstanding and marks their best shot at grabbing a win. MAD are experts at securing a gold lead in the early stages of the game and in holding onto it throughout the later stages. This strategy has allowed them to dominate the LEC throughout 2021, securing them the number one seed in their region.

Their dominance can be seen from the recent record. Over their last 10 games, MAD have lost only once, in a game two against Fnatic. Not only did they win the LEC championship in the Spring Split, but they also achieved a top-four finish at the Mid-Season Invitational. In the Summer Split, they continued to assert their dominance and won the championship again, becoming the first seed in the LEC division.

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“I don’t think the LEC teams know how to play past 20 minutes,”  MAD mid laner Humanoid said in an interview with “I think all of them are doing really random plays and if those plays don’t work, they lose so much from it. There are a lot of teams who do similar things, so that’s why I think we are making a lot of comebacks.”

The data DJ Esports has backs this claim up. Humanoid is right: MAD have an average 25-minute gold lead of 2.86k in their recent games, the highest in the LEC. Their decision-making has a very clear purpose. Their 20-minute Tacha came to 0.7, which also shows they are proficient at teaming up and launching an offense in the early stage, gaining the economy of Tapie to bring the team ahead and rolling snowballs. 

MAD’s laning and jungling abilities are incredible, and they will likely use these to establish an early lead. This is bound to continue into the mid game, considering their first dragon and first Baron rates are some of the highest in the league. MAD’s first dragon rate has climbed as high as 64 percent, and they are highly skilled at finding opportunities to compete for the dragon, further expanding their gold lead. Also, their first Baron rate has reached 56 percent, which has laid the foundation for their already strong late-game teamfights.

The performance of jungler Elyoya is going to be key to the rise of MAD. Elyoya is skillful at linking with mid-laner Humanoid, controlling neutral resources, and dominating the jungle, making him a deciding factor in fights. His teamfighting skills are a perfect 20/20 in DJ Esports’ data, and his performance in that competition was a whopping 18. As a young but mature player, Elyoya has shown that he can handle the pressure and has come out big in crucial moments.

Elyoya’s recent performance is reminiscent of Blaber’s campaign from last year. Blaber’s role as a rookie jungler was the talk of the LCS. In terms of mentality, however, Elyoya has more grit. He’s not concerned with stats and numbers and can focus entirely on the challenge at hand. He has a real knack for keeping a cool head under pressure and rising to the occasion.

In addition to his demeanor, Elyoya has better stats than Blaber. Elyoya has clear leads in participation rate, KDA, and carry rate. Elyoya’s participation rate is seven percent higher than Blaber’s, and his KDA is 4.15 higher. Elyoya did better in cooperating with teammates and surviving in teamfights. In the 2021 World Championship, we’ll finally see these two go toe-to-toe.

At Worlds, MAD will need to pay attention to the LPL’s Funplus Phoenix. As the second seed of the LPL, they have the opportunity to meet MAD in the knockout round. The chaotic rhythm of MAD may not be enough to drag the game out to the teamfighting stage, where they truly excel. If they encounter FPX in the knockout stage, MAD need to do a good job of defense, trying to drag the game out to its advantage to find the flaws in FPX.

MAD have emerged as an up-and-coming force in the LEC Division. They have already won the LEC Spring and Summer Championships. Now, they are waiting for the chance to show their prowess in the 2021 World Championship’s group stage.

For more insight on the 2021 League World Championship and up-to-the-minute updated data and odds for all of the competing teams, you can view them on DJ Esports.