MAD Lions have added mid laner Steven “Reeker” Chen and ADC William “UNF0RGIVEN” Nieminen to their LEC roster for the upcoming 2022 LEC Spring Split. Reeker will replace Marek “Humanoid” Brázda, who will likely be going to Fnatic, and UNF0RGIVEN will substitute Matyáš “Carzzy” Orság, who is set to be Vitality’s new bot laner.
Reeker and UNF0RGIVEN will be MAD Lions’ new players
MAD Lions’ incredible 2021 saw them rise to the top of the LEC, becoming back-to-back champions between spring and summer. Their recent Worlds’ performance, however, was slightly below expectations, as they barely made it out of groups and were then eliminated by finalists DWG Kia.
While many expected to see the roster continue for one more year, players have received some offers from other teams. Humanoid is still contracted with the organization, but it seems like Fnatic is interested in buying his contract. Carzzy, on the other hand, entered free agency, and he’s been in talks with Vitality to become their new ADC, in what is likely going to be a super-stacked roster, with players like Luka “Perkz” Perković and Barney “Alphari” Morris.
As a consequence, MAD Lions have been looking at many different options and have finally announced their two new entries for 2022. Former BIG Clan player Reeker will become MAD’s new mid laner, while former SK Gaming Prime ADC Unforgiven will fill in the vacant spot left by Carzzy. Apart from these two, the rest of the roster is expected to remain the same: İrfan Berk “Armut” Tükek will continue to the MAD’s top laner, as well as jungler Javier “Elyoya” Prades Batalla and support Norman “Kaiser” Kaiser.
MAD Lions’ goals and expectations for next year
The vacant spots left by Carzzy and Humanoid are going to be felt by the team. Both players were considered top-tier players in their respective roles, especially Humanoid, probably the best and most consistent mid laner in the LEC in 2021. Carzzy, despite his ups and downs, had insane synergy with Kaiser, as they became one of the best bot lane duos in the league. The ADC likely made the decision to leave following what happened within the organization at Worlds 2020, when a self-proclaimed owner of MAD Lions publicly criticized him.
Reeker and UNF0RGIVEN are both rookies coming from the ERLs, so it will be interesting to see how their performances will transition to the LEC. Nonetheless, MAD Lions have proved to be a great organization at scouting new players, having put together a roster that could compete in the top 4 in the LEC right away back in 2019 with Zhiqiang “shad0w” Zhao and Andrei “Orome” Popa. Following the disastrous Worlds 2020, Armut and Elyoya came in, and with that an incredible run domestically in 2021.
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For this reason, we believe that the expectations for MAD Lions will not be much lower than last year. They might have a slower start as all teams need to find the chemistry, but we expect them to be ready by the time Spring Playoffs come by. They might not be the very best on paper, but they have the potential and all the tools to surprise us again. Bear in mind that the organization has one of the best coaching staffs in all EU, as they have found ways to harvest their talents into top-class players.