MAD Lions has gone from strength to strength throughout the 2021 LEC Spring Split Playoffs, having initially struggled to find its consistency throughout the regular split. This year’s iteration shocked many by cutting down Rogue in the first round.
Following that victory, MAD midlaner Marek ‘Humanoid’ Brázda told The Loadout that it would “stomp our team last year for sure in 20 minutes” – a bold claim when 2020’s squad toppled G2, the most dominant team Europe’s ever produced, and one which can play pretty much anything in any position on the Rift.
As fate would have it, MAD got the chance to replicate its feat in a semi-final clash that fell on the one year anniversary of that best-of-five victory. Fortunately, the lions approached the series with claws sharpened, and quickly asserted a two-game lead over its opponent – G2 had deviated from its usual style and was punished heavily for it.
The reigning LEC champions would not make the same mistake again, reverting to a more standard composition to great effect as it took game three. However, MAD snuffed out G2’s comeback hopes as it secured victory in the final game, closing out the series.
After the match, we caught up with MAD Lions’ head coach, James ‘Mac’ MacCormack, to glean his insights on the series, what it’s like preparing to face a team as versatile as G2, and how MAD continues to cultivate some of Europe’s top League of Legends talent.
The Loadout: What are your thoughts on MAD’s performance, and how does it compare to when you beat them in a best-of-five this time last year?
James ‘Mac’ MacCormack: It was a much more convincing series against G2 than last year. Last year, there was that moment where one or two attacks could have ended [the final game in G2’s favour]. And then there was the online versus offline thing, where people were saying that we would never beat them on stage. And then there’s also the really bad run at Worlds, which kind of exacerbated a lot of that narrative around ‘MAD Lions is bad on stage’.
Today is a kind of justification in terms of ‘yes, we are a good team on stage’
I mean, it was fair to a certain extent, but today is a kind of justification in terms of ‘yes, we are a good team on stage. Yes, we have the ceiling to be able to beat G2. And yes, we are able to adapt to a really, really top level in a way that we couldn’t last year.’ Because we’re able to change our play style according to our opponents in a much more aggressive manner than we were able to last year. Last year, we were kind of a one trick pony. We beat G2 once, and then they adapted and attacked us really specifically, and we got crushed. Fnatic did the exact same thing.
I think in terms of the style that we are playing – rather than just specific champions – we have changed a lot throughout the course of the playoffs according to the situation, and according to which opponents we’re playing against. And that’s the thing that makes me the most happy actually.
G2 played some unorthodox picks today – what is it like having to prepare against a team of its caliber knowing it can pull out pretty much anything?
In the past, it’s actually been harder. I think that’s partly down to meta – because in the past the meta was really fluid and they could play so many different styles. But this split they’ve basically played one style, so it was really weird to see that they deviated from that – they played Sylas and Akali top, so Martin ‘Wunder’ Hansen wasn’t on Sion or Gragas duty. But it didn’t work out for them.
We always assume going into a G2 series that they have many different layers. And something I said to the players after game two was ‘okay, the series starts now because you are now going to play against a completely different team, with a completely different style. So be prepared for it.’ And they did a good job of doing that.
As for the outside prep work, so much of that is on the other coaching staff. Patrick ‘Pad’ Suckow-Breum, Christophe ‘Kaas’ van Oudheusden, and Carlos ‘Aagie’ Cuenca all did such an insane job – we were super, super prepared in terms of exactly what we thought the drafts were going to be. I spent all week drafting against them – and even our academy coach Jesús ‘Falco’ Pérez – like ‘ok, Kaas, tell me how you think G2 is going to attack us’, and then reacting to it.
Throughout the split there have been times where MAD has struggled with consistency, but for the playoffs the team has stepped it up. What’s changed between the regular season and now?
I think part of that inconsistency is due to just us having a very methodical and long term approach to how we wanted to improve, which meant that we were building our game up very incrementally. So we were really focused on early games, but our mid to late game was actually not that good. And then we threw a couple of other games, right?
But we’ve been very good at going back and just figuring out ‘okay, who’s the best team in the world at this mid game concept?’ And then we just go and research that and then copy it. And because of that we’ve been able to one-by-one really up the ante on all of our fundamentals in mid to late game. So that’s one factor.
I think there are six [LPL] teams that would be crushing the whole region right now
The other factor is just the mindset that we tend to have. It’s a very aggressive mindset, because what we’re chasing is perfection. I want us to be able to stand up to G2. I want us to be able to stand up to Asian teams who are insanely good. If the LPL teams were playing in Europe, I think there are six teams that would be crushing the whole region right now.
So from that perspective, I just want us to chase perfection, which means that we’re going to make mistakes, and that we have to be fine with that. We’re going to rush Nashors at 20 minutes, like a lot of the Chinese teams do, and mess it up and lose games. And we’ve done that. And that’s fine. Because those are the most complex parts of the game that we’re training. But through trial and error we’ve managed to get it right. And that’s thanks to the mindset. And that’s again thanks to a lot of the preparation from the rest of our staff.
Javier ‘Elyoya’ Batalla said on PGL that he was nervous after losing the early game to Jankos in game one, but his mentality throughout the series after that was solid. MAD has clearly shown its penchant for picking up rookie talent once again, so what do you look for when scouting talent? What gets them the MAD Mac seal of approval?
Honestly, a lot of it is the eyeball test. In the offseason, we had a choice between two junglers – one of them being Elyoya. And I was leaning very strongly towards him based on the way he communicated. A lot of it was also just in terms of like ‘okay, this is what we need from a player. This is the best player that will fit into the team’s culture.’ That type of thing.
So we took the person who fits those requirements, and the rest was feeling. And I think Marek ‘Humanoid’ Brázda and Matyáš ‘Carzzy’ Orság had that feeling as well. I remember sending them VODs of Elyoya and saying ‘listen to this guy’s comms and tell me what you think.’ And both of them came back to me within two hours and were like ‘this guy’s really good, you should get him.’ So it was a team effort for sure. And Elyoya is someone that Peter ‘Peter Dun’ Dun had his eye on for a long time – he’s the reason I knew about him.
I also think this [our scouting] is one of the benefits of investing in a really big coaching staff and training them up. For example, we have Pad this year who came straight from the NLC to the LEC – we’ve always recruited up through regional league coaching. Because of this, we have a really good understanding of the regional scene. And there was always someone in our coaching staff in the regional leagues last year, and had so many contacts and eyes on it. And because we have a big coaching staff, we can do that much better than a team like, for example, Schalke 04, which only has one coach. It isn’t feasible for an organisation with that structure.
G2 Esport Rekkles awarded with the 2021 LEC Spring MVP
After a great split for the Swedish superstar, Rekkles added a trophy to his mantel. He wins the MVP award despite missing out on the LEC Spring Finals after G2 took a rough 3-1 loss to Rogue in the lower bracket final. The loss knocked out G2 and means that the LEC final will be without G2 for the first time since 2018.
The MVP award will likely be a consolation prize for the veteran bot laner, as there is no doubt that Rekkles and the rest of G2 Esports saw themselves in the final to defend the LEC title. For Rekkles, the loss will likely sting even more as he joined G2 in the hopes of winning another domestic title, but despite his best efforts in the season, that dream will have to wait for at least one more split.
Even though the LEC trophy will fall into new hands this split, Rekkles has done everything in his power to carry G2 Esports all the way. While this split was Rekkles’ first with G2, he has been a constant force in the bot lane. Almost every game G2 Esports has played this split has been with Rekkles leading in kills and damage. His impact was enough to score 101 kills throughout the regular split, only beaten by Rogue bot laner Steven “Hans Sama” Liv at 103.
Rekkles also fielded the best KDA in the entire league during the regular split at a whopping 12.6. The KDA alone shows that Rekkles is as reliable as ever and might even reach a higher peak during the year. For now, Rekkles will have a break before the 2021 LEC Summer Split Starts as he won’t represent Europe at the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational.
What happened to Rekkles?
After five years with Fnatic, Rekkles made the move to G2 Esports shortly after the 2020 World Championship. Rekkles joining G2 was one of the biggest roster moves in the history of League of Legends and brought a lot of expectations with it. So far, Rekkles has done well at G2 Esports but will have to chase his first trophy with the team for a bit longer.
How old is Rekkles?
Rekkles is one of the most experienced players in Europe with an age of 24 years old. Rekkles has played professionally since he was very young, starting with Fnatic all the way back in 2012. Back then, Rekkles was one of the top talents in the world and has achieved more than most players will ever get close to.
Dota 2: Team Nigma Completes Dota 2 Roster With iLTW
Igor “iLTW” Filatov joins team Nigma for the Dota Pro Circuit Europe Upper-Division league.
Team Nigma has added a Russian carry player Igor “iLTW” Filatov to complete its roster after moving mid laner Aliwi “w33” Omar to an inactive position. The team announced via Twitter that iLTW will be the fifth player on the team’s roster. ILTW joins Nigma in full capacity and will play with the team for a Major ticket in the second season of Dota Pro Circuit Europe Upper-Division League.
New patch, new🌟
We’re excited to announce @iLTW1 as our 5th player!
— Team Nigma (@TeamNigma) April 10, 2021
Recently. Nigma had a disappointing run at the Singapore Major. They faced elimination during the Wild Card phase of the tournament, after which the team decided to drop off w33. The team quotes “As of today, w33 will be moved from the active roster and become our sixth player for the time being. Omar has contributed a lot to the team and the organization. We are grateful that he is a part of the Team Nigma Family,”
iLTW is a well-established carry player and a great addition to the roster. Back in 2019, he started the year at OG, but his trial period lasted only about three months. Now he is all set for his second big European affair. Where he can play in the mid lane with ease. Team Nigma so far has 200 points to their name, courtesy of their third-place finish in the first season of EU Upper-Division. However, with this coming season being the last chance for everyone to grab enough points for a direct invite at The international 10, the team will have to work on its game with some amazing results.
Team Nigma’s finalized roster:
- Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi
- Igor “iLTW” Filatov
- Ivan “MinD_ContRoL” Borislavov Ivanov
- Maroun “GH” Merhej
- Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi
LoL: Rekkles Named 2021 LEC Spring Split MVP
After his debut season in a G2 Esports jersey, Martin “Rekkles” Larsson has been named the LEC Spring Split MVP.
Much like Rogue’s Coaching Team of the Split, the MVP award was given to Rekkles for his performance in the regular season. Rekkles joined G2 Esports from rivals Fnatic. Despite not winning a LEC title with his new team, he was regularly one of the standout players, hence this award.
Rekkles was joined by Rogue players Inspired and Odoamne, in 2nd and 3rd place respectively. The pair were key to Rogue’s victory over G2 Esports in the Lower Bracket and will need to be so again against MAD Lions. During the Spring Split, Rekkles managed to pick up five Player of the Game awards, joint first with Armut and Hans Sama.
This latest MVP adds to Rekkles’ history of solo success inside the EULCS and LEC. Including this title, he’s picked up four MVP awards (Summer 2014, Summer 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2021). He’s also been included in the EU All-Pro team four times (Summer 2015, Summer 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2020), alongside one 2nd place finish and four 3rd place finishes. All this goes to show the storied success Rekkles has had in Europe.
Sadly for Rekkles, this latest MVP title won’t result in another European title. However, G2 Esports, and Rekkles will likely have a fire in their bellies come Summer Split.
Rekkles proves he’s still got it
While many thought Rekkles’ move to G2 Esports was an odd one, and others even claimed it was bad. Rekkles has proven himself yet again on the European stage. While his side failed to win a LEC title, that’s not for a lack of trying on Rekkles’ part. Ultimately, it looked more like a lack of leadership was G2 Esports’ problem, which just happened to come from the player in the position Rekkles has moved into.
If G2 Esports can improve on that area in Summer Split, they, and Rekkles will be once again a challenge for anyone.
LoL: LEC 2021 Spring Lower Bracket Finals Recap- G2 Esports vs Rogue
G2 Esports and Rogue take to the Rift to secure a spot in the 2021 LEC Spring Split Finals.
Two of the biggest European League of Legends teams in the LEC went head-to-head today. G2 Esports and Rogue had the opportunity to redeem their previous losses and make their way to the LEC Spring Split Finals. Both teams had a phenomenal Spring Split, with many fans predicting them meeting in the Finals. However, the MAD Lions defeated both of these teams in the Playoffs and made the Finals for the first time in their history. They’ll be waiting until tomorrow, looking to take the crown from the winner of this series.
Rogue sought to do the same; to secure a place in the Finals for their first time. Meanwhile, G2 Esports was looking to gain momentum and re-establish the dominance of European superteams. With Wunder back on the Solo queue grind, things looked very intense moving into this match.
The drafting phase for Game One went very well for G2 Esports. They managed to secure strong picks like Senna, Seraphine, and Olaf, which secured them both good early and late game power. Wunder quit tank duty and switched to Urgot, which he used to bully Odoamne’s Karma in lane to gain an early advantage. However, the early game was very calm. During it, Inspired gained a monumental lead on Jankos in the jungle. He completely outpaced him, killing the first two dragons and Rift Heralds and picking up First Blood on Wunder in the top lane.
Moving into the mid-game, Rogue actively pressured G2 Esports with their lead and gave them no opportunities to come back into the match. G2 traded the third dragon for a mid-tower while RGE pushed their lead further. After that, a teamfight broke out in the mid lane where G2 took the charge of the fight. At first, it actually looked good for them. But Larssen’s Syndra had a fantastic position to land a stun on four members of G2 Esports, which changed the whole outcome of the fight. After losing that fight, Rogue had a massive lead and it was almost over for G2. They needed a miracle to come back into the match.
A brilliant Baron dance by G2
At 25 minutes, G2 found a crucial pick onto Trymbi. Afterward, G2 Esports went straight for the Baron and forced Rogue to challenge them in the pit. Not having enough vision around the area, Rogue stepped into a trap and G2 turned instantly. They took down every single Rogue carry and secured themselves a Baron buff.
It was a major turning point for the game. Soon after, G2 also grabbed an Ocean Dragon too. This stopped Rogue’s Soul and meant G2 had so much sustain paired with the Serpahine and Senna combo. After that point, G2 Esports controlled the tempo for the rest game and comfortably scaled into the late game, where their actual strength resided. Eventually, they gained more Ocean Dragons, but Rogue attempted to rush Baron. While Rekkles secured the third dragon himself, G2 Esports called the enemy’s bluff and forced another team fight. They slaughtered Rogue in the river and used the opportunity to end the game and claim the first Nexus of the series.
- Time: 35:52
- Kills: 13-9
- Turrets: 7-3
- Gold: 64.8k-57.7k
- Dragons: 3-3
- Barons: 1-0
The Nocturne pick came as a surprise to many fans in the drafting phase. To add to the surprise, Hans Sama picked up the Jinx, which was the first-ever appearance of that champion in his hands. The match started similarly to Game One, as Wunder got caught by Inspired and Odoamne, leading to First Blood. However, unlike last time, G2 Esports made proactive plays into the bottom lane and caught the likes of Hans Sama with the help of Mikyx’s beautiful hooks. Having two global ultimates on the side of G2 meant that they could rinse and repeat the bot lane gank formula and get free kills on the enemy bot lane.
After a few skirmishes of trading champions and objectives, a team fight broke out in the bottom lane. That team fight started in favor of Rogue as they managed to bring down the key carries of G2 Esports’ health bars. However, a very good hook from Blitzcrank made a small opening for G2 Esports, but Inspired stopped the situation from escalating on his Nidalee, and he won the team fight for the team. Then, an array of small team fights happened, and Rogue was continuously taking the game away from G2. They secured three elemental dragons and the Soul dragon was in contention for both the squads.
Rogue played the same Baron dance mini-game with G2 this time. However, an excellent shot from Rekkles’ Jhin Ultimate made it very easy for him to snatch the Soul dragon from Rogue’s hands. In response, Rogue angrily chased down the G2 champions and took down almost everyone in the enemy squad. Despite the steal, Rogue won the fight and collectively pushed through the bottom lane to collect their first win, equalizing the series.
- Time: 32:17
- Kills: 13-9
- Turrets: 8-1
- Gold: 60k-51k
- Dragons: 3-2
- Barons: 1-0
The Nocturne has apparently become the talk of the town, as Rogue picked it up for their top lane in Game Three and denied it from G2. The drafting was very strong for both the teams, and as expected, it turned out to be a bloodbath in the early game. Al level one, Rekkles was caught out in his jungle, where he had to insta-Flash the engage from Trymbi’s Rell. Mikyx also expended his Flash to put some damage on the enemy AD Carry. However, knowing G2’s bottom duo had no Flashes, Inspired started the top blue-side jungle and quickly made his way to the bottom lane to easily dive onto the support for First Blood.
After a matter of seconds, Caps was harassing Larssen with his heavy poke damage and both of them were dangerously low in the lane. A quick visit from Inspired into the lane made sure that Caps had no way of escaping with his life. In this fight though, Jankos made sure the Rogue mid laner got shut down as well. Another tower dive under the bottom tower gave G2 Esports another kill to neutralize the lead quickly. There was a bit of a hiatus for the spectators, as both of the teams looked to secure dragons and Rift Heralds to push their leads. But another dive was set up by Rogue on the enemy bot lane, where they secured two additional kills. Furthermore, Rogue looked to further advance their lead in the match by forcing a fight and trading their top laner in return for two from G2 Esports.
Things were looking very grim for G2 Esports and they wanted to take fights near objectives, but Rogue was way ahead of them. They punished their desperate attempts to fight and brute-forced major objectives. Of course, they convincingly won team fights to take down G2 Esports in Game Three, taking the series to the match point.
- Time: 29:09
- Kills: 5-23
- Turrets: 8-1
- Gold: 46k-58k
- Dragons: 1-3
- Barons: 0-1
Coming into Game Four, it was do-or-die for G2 Esports. To start, Rogue was playing aggressively right off the bat, beating them in the early game. Because of this, Jankos ganked the mid lane and secured First Blood for Caps. However, G2 Esports pushed their luck a bit too far in the river, so Rogue collapsed on them. They had to sacrifice three members of the team, whereas Rogue left the fight unharmed. G2 got their revenge when they went for a dive on Hans Sama in the bottom lane, but it went utterly wrong as a five-person stacked Rogue roster collapsed on the play. G2 had no escape. As a result, Rogue took down four more kills at the cost of only one champion of their own.
Now, all of the pressure was on G2 Esports to come back into the match. They tried to gank the enemy AD Carry in the top lane, but all was in vain, as Rogue promptly responded to the gank and made a disadvantageous situation for G2 Esports. After Rogue secured even more kills to their name, G2 Esports found it very difficult to come back into the match. Eventually, Rogue started up the Baron, challenging G2 Esports to contest them. G2 Caps got his opportunity and jumped into the pit with his Sylas, but there wasn’t anyone able to support to him. As a result, Rogue got another kill and walked away with the Baron buff.
It was all over for G2 Esports at this point but they tried desperately to hold the fort down. With an amazing Orianna Shockwave from Larssen, Rogue secured a pick onto Rekkles, and a kill on him meant that Rogue won the final fight. Taking down the final Nexus in front of them, Rogue secured their first-ever Grand Final appearance. Riding high from this victory, they’ll take on the MAD Lions tomorrow for the 2021 LEC Spring Split title and Europe’s spot at MSI.
- Time: 32:34
- Kills: 8-18
- Turrets: 0-10
- Gold: 50k-63k
- Dragons: 1-3
- Barons: 0-1
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