As the LEC representative, MAD Lions have a lot to live up considering G2’s past runs. They got a great start by ruthlessly defeating PSG.Talon.

Despite defeating the perennial favorites during the LEC playoffs, MAD Lions still entered MSI 2021 with something to prove. Considering their poor placement at 2020 Worlds, many were skeptical if MAD Lions could live up to G2’s legacy. This new iteration of MAD Lions however has proven that they are capable of far greater than a lackluster Worlds Play-in finish. Being placed into Group B, MAD Lion’s competition were projected to result in the most contentious group in MSI 2021.

PSG Talon were largely considered to be MAD’s primary group rival. Given PSG’s incredible 17-1 regular season and undefeated playoff run, PSG seemed poised for an excellent MSI run. MAD Lions on the other hand had a much harder path to their organization’s first domestic title. MAD Lion’s absolute decimation of PSG Talon truly speaks to the strength of the LEC’s competition and ability to prep their international representative.

Elyoya the unquestionable MVP

Though suffering immensely from the Turbo Chemtank nerfs, Javier “Elyoya” Batalla was undoubtedly this game’s MVP on Udyr. The LEC’s rookie of the split showed veteran composure as he finished with 75% kill participation and a 3/0/15 scoreline.

After stopping an initial gank top, Elyoya orchestrated a countergank in botlane to turn PSG’s dive into a 1-for-3 trade. Mismanaged tower aggro by PSG and two proactive TPs snowballed this already winning game.

ADCs are considered the easiest roles for substitutes to fill, however Wong “Unified” Chun Kit was an integral part of PSG’s regular season. Unified made up 32% of his team’s damage, an impressive portion of the damage share that seemingly no other member could make up for. PSG’s failed attempt to get Chiu “Doggo” Tzu-Chuan an early led set PSG on the backfoot early.

MAD Lions’ jungle/support duo close the game

One of MAD Lion’s returners, Norman “Kaiser” Kaiser, had an invaluable impact on Nautalis. Kaiser posed a persistent engage threat, hitting nearly every hook and ending the game with a 75% KP.

This midgame fight in bottom river sealed PSG’s fate. Kaiser’s opporunte hook prompted Kim “River” Dong-Woo’s hourglass, and a second double knock-up allowed MAD’s damage dealers to get initial kills. After soloing Doggo and zoning out PSG’s top damage dealer, Armut rotated down to clean up the fight. Though Su “Hanabi” Chia-Hsiang gave his best efforts, MAD Lion’s gold lead going into the fight gave more than enough firepower to close out on PSG.

Knowing that PSG could not challenge them in an outright 5v5, MAD Lions baited their opponents by playing around baron. Elyoya was able to switch off baron and turn onto PSG and found crucial stuns onto both Hanabi and Kaiwing. Only dropping a single neutral objective, MAD Lions were able to take their leads to find their first win.

The opening matches of Group B

Elsewhere in Group C, Damwon versus Cloud9 was a similar story, with the reigning world champions delivering them quite a heavy beating.

Blaine Polhamus -

Blaine Polhamus

| Twitter: @BlainePolh

Blaine is an esports journalist and has been a fan of multiple esports scenes ever since 2015 Worlds. Since graduating from College of Charleston, Blaine has written news and stories for League of Legends, VALORANT, CS:GO, and Call of Duty.