SuperMassive Eliminates MAD Lions From Worlds 2020
MAD Lions have officially been eliminated from Worlds 2020. This is quite a shock, as you can imagine. Still, it’s not just the sheer fact of them not reaching groups that are so mind-blowing, but rather the fashion in which it all went down. Being a major region representative (regardless of seeding) is always an immense burden, and this young MAD Lions lineup wasn’t up to the task. Competing on the biggest of stages (and subsequently finding success) requires a certain kind of poise and resilience that can’t be built overnight.
Still, had they been eliminated by LGD Gaming, for example, no one would cry “debacle” because that would’ve been an expected outcome. Losing to the TCL champions, however, is not something anyone honestly expected. The consensus was that the LEC was head and shoulders above most other regions (including major ones). Certainly, European teams didn’t showcase a lot of consistency throughout 2020, but their results from 2018 and 2019 prove that they’re amongst the best in the world. Wildcard regions should, naturally, pale in comparison.
But 2020 dispelled those notions in quite dramatic fashion.
The gap between wildcard teams and presumed “major regions” has shrunk considerably, with TCL, LCL, and PCS representatives all stepping up immensely. Heck, even the OPL has a fighting chance! They’re fed up with the whole wildcard narrative. They want their due. SuperMassive is by no means an underpowered challenger but rather a fascinating mix of veterans (and two Korean legends) capable of trading heavy blows with teams many deem superior.
Their five-game series against MAD Lions was an absolute rollercoaster. The way they evolved and adapted was nothing short of spectacular. Granted, MAD Lions made a slew of horrendous mistakes almost every time, but that means very little if these mistakes aren’t capitalized on.
SuperMassive, to their credit, seized each opportunity and made the best of it.
They had the better drafts, played better both individually and a five-man unit, and were able to solve the MAD Lions puzzle with relative ease. Lee “KaKAO” Byung-kwon and No “SnowFlower” Hoi-jong stood out the most, but a special shoutout has to go to their top laner İrfan “Armut” Berk Tükek as well. He was able to outclass Andrei “Orome” Popa throughout the series and was always willing to fill any role his team needed.
This SuperMassive bunch has shown an admirable level of play and is more than worthy of reaching the Group Stage. On their path, however, stands a challenger that’s downright impossible to read: the LCL champions Unicorns of Love, led by former LEC coach Fabian “Sheepy” Mallant.
Predicting the outcome of this one Best of 5 is pretty much impossible; we’re bound to witness a spectacular clash between two highly aggressive teams with a penchant for skirmishing. Make sure not to miss it!
Problems in Paradise
MAD Lions botched it completely. For a team that rose to such immense highs back in Spring, a finish like this one is about as depressing as it can get. And it’s not just getting eliminated from Worlds that hurts, but the way it all went down. MAD Lions didn’t show their full potential, and that’ll haunt them for quite a while.
Marek “Humanoid” Brázda and Norman “Kaiser” Kaiser were the only ones playing good, top-tier League of Legends. Everyone else was pretty much a complete non-factor. Humanoid, in particular, was drawing five bans per game. He still nearly dragged his team over the finish line — he was that good. On the other hand, Kaiser was arguably one of the best supports in the Play-In stage with the perfect champion pool for today’s aggressive, engage-heavy meta. Unfortunately, seeing how Matyáš “Carzzy” Orság was put on Senna duty almost exclusively, Kaiser didn’t get to shine quite as bright in the laning phase as MAD Lions faithfuls had hoped. Orome was exposed in every sense of the word with Zhiqiang “Shadow” Zhao being downright abysmal game after game. He was facing a seasoned veteran in KaKAO, but that still doesn’t excuse his performance.
The ones who deserve most of the blame, however, is the MAD coaching staff. They intend throughout the series with egregious drafts and mind-boggling team comps would be an understatement. For a group of analysts and coaches to be revered for their preparation and ability to read on the meta quickly, they let their players down big time. The next breed of LEC talent can only do so much with a “giga trash” draft, as Jakob “YamatoCannon” Mebdi so eloquently put it.
This isn’t how you want to represent yourself or your region at the biggest of stages. And the bitterness of this result — at least right now — far outweighs their incredible triumphs and staggering growth which they’ve displayed throughout 2020. This year was a seismic success for this fledgling lineup. But recency bias is hard to shake off, and it’ll take a bit of time before we can once again view 2020 as the year MAD Lions broke through.
Hopefully, the players won’t lose sight of their immense progress, most of which happened in record time. The outlook is bright for this MAD Lions bunch, but it seems as though they flew too close to the sun. And the fans and analysts deserve more blame also. We’ve all created a ton of pressure after getting a glimpse of their potential. 2021 will give them a shot at redemption, and if they enter the year with the same enthusiasm we’ve become accustomed to, we should be in for one heck of a ride.
The last two Best of 5s of the Play-In stage will commence in a matter of hours, and if things pan out as expected, fireworks are all but guaranteed!