MAD Lions earned their second consecutive League of Legends European Championship title after taking down Fnatic in the LEC 2021 Summer Split Grand Finals. The young cubs that bottomed out of the 2020 World Championship Play-In Stage will return to the tournament and slot into the main event with top seeding as the reigning champions of Europe.
With rookie top laner Adam “Adam” Maanane and freshly role-swapped jungler in Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau, Fnatic had the odds stacked against them heading into the LEC postseason. After an inspiring journey through their playoffs bracket, during which they defeated nearly every other playoff team, the underdogs in orange and black were ultimately bested by the only team they were unable to defeat, MAD Lions.
After reaching top four at the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational, MAD Lions were vocal about prioritizing player mental and physical health heading into the Summer Split. The Lions started the season at a slower pace and quickly asserted themselves as a top team within the league and one of the best teamfighting teams in the world at the moment. With this win over Fnatic, they write their names in history as the third-ever European team to win back-to-back LEC Championship titles.
But according to assistant coach Patrick “Pad” Suckow-Breum, this may not be the end of MAD’s dominance. In fact, if the other teams in the league don’t adapt to them, this is only the beginning.
“It could be the era of the lion,” Pad said. “I mean, if we don’t change anything and G2 or Rogue don’t change anything, then we’ll keep winning.”
Pad said he thinks Rogue might have developed a mental block for going against MAD Lions in the playoffs, and that the current iteration of G2 has lost the happiness he had always associated with the organization from his days as a fan. When he listens to their voice comms after their release, Pad said they sound lonely and more stressed compared to other seasons. As for Fnatic, Pad said they will be consistently worse against MAD due to their “very telegraphed, one-dimensional” playstyle.
“I think there has to be changes,” Pad said. “Because if there are no changes in those teams, I don’t think anyone is going to be a contender to us in EU.”
Now that the team has won another LEC Championship, the team is already hungry to start taking down global heavyweights like the League of Legends Pro League’s FunPlus Phoenix. Pad said doing so will require honing MAD’s style, which James “Mac” MacCormack compared to the LPL during the LEC Post Game Lobby, to prepare for the best in the world.
“I think if we have good practice against them when we go to Worlds, the likelihood of us performing well at Worlds is big,” Pad said. “If we manage to do well in scrims versus these teams, you can really expect a good performance from MAD at Worlds.”
MAD may still be underdogs heading into the 2021 World Championship, but as Europe’s number one seed, the bar will be set higher than ever for them to put on a good showing for the region. With MAD’s victory over Fnatic, we now know where all three of Europe’s Worlds representatives will seed into the tournament. Rogue took third seed after losing to Fnatic in losers’ finals on Aug. 28. As runners up, Fnatic will take the second seed and slot directly into groups behind MAD Lions, who will take the top spot.
E.G. Kant contributed reporting to this story.