MAD Lions 2022 LEC Line-Up Has Been Finalized
The defending LEC champions MAD Lions will look a fair bit different come 2022. After parting ways with Marek “Humanoid” Brázda and Matyáš “Carzzy” Orság, MAD had two options: sign a couple of seasoned veterans or, conversely, go over the ERLs and find two players who were worthy of the starting spot and could further grow and develop over time.
The fact that they’ve opted for the latter should really come as no surprise. After all, that’s their M.O. and it has yielded spectacular results in the past — to put it mildly! So, going forward, Steven “RKR” Chen and William “UNF0RGIVEN” Nieminen will be competing under the MAD Lions banner. They’ll have some pretty big shoes to fill but, with enough time and the right guidance, there’s no doubt in our mind that they’ll be able to step out of the shadow of their predecessors and leave a mark.
Still, we’re probably a ways off from it happening. MAD Lions will now have to rebuild their synergy from the ground up and will surely fumble and fail throughout the first half of 2022. Fans should, therefore, temper their expectations as they might not be able to deliver right from the very get-go.
2022 LEC | MAD Lions Starting Line-Up
The starting five will feature both familiar faces and a few new greenhorns who’ve been cutting their teeth in the ERLs. All in all, it’s an interesting mix that could, in time, yield great results.
Top Lane: İrfan “Armut” Berk Tükek
Jungle: Javier “Elyoya” Prades
Mid Lane: Steven “RKR” Chen [formerly of Berlin International Gaming]
AD Carry: William “UNF0RGIVEN” Nieminen [formerly of SK Gaming Prime]
Support: Norman “Kaiser” Kaiser
RKR has garnered a ton of attention for his play, and his decision to sign with MAD (instead of someone else) makes all the sense in the world: they’re one of the few orgs in the LEC with the right infrastructure to build him up into the next great EU mid laner. It’s a no brainer, really. Whether he’ll deliver on the biggest of stages still remains to be seen, but there’s definitely reason for optimism!
UNF0RGIVEN, on the other hand, doesn’t have nearly as much hype behind his back, but we’re not going to doubt MAD’s selection process — they’ve struck gold in the past and they obviously know what they’re doing. In any case, he’ll have one of the best supports in the LEC by his side, so he’ll surely grow and learn a lot faster than he would’ve otherwise.
It’s hard to say, really. Despite losing Humanoid and Carzzy, MAD Lions are still a top-tier contender with some of the best players in all of Europe. They’re dangerous beyond measure and have a stacked coaching staff that’ll help them out every step of the way. Still, some growing pains will be inevitable. Both RKR and UNF0RGIVEN will bring something new and different to the table, and that means that MAD Lions will have to rebuild their identity from the ground up. We’re not talking about huge, tectonic changes here, but the point still stands.
Armut, Elyoya, and Kaiser are all spectacular and will surely put on a show. Heck, they’ve won the LEC two times a row, and even though they’ll face an uphill battle going forward, they still have all the right tools to fight for a spot near the very top of the standings. All RKR and UNF0RGIVEN have to do is not get in the way and, hopefully, carry their fair share of the weight.
Right now, as things stand, we simply have to give the edge to Fnatic, Team Vitality, and perhaps even G2 Esports. They, too, will fumble their way through the Spring Split in an attempt to synergize, but once enough time has passed, there’s a very good chance they’ll be more dangerous than MAD Lions.
In any case, we’ll find out soon enough as the LEC returns to action on January 14!