A bit too hesitant: MAD Lions fight until the very end to earn their second win of Worlds 2022

Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games via Flickr

The LEC is maintaining a strong presence in the play-ins stage of the 2022 League of Legends World Championship with yet another victory for their fourth seed, MAD Lions.

Though it was yet another messy win, MAD successfully thwarted the Worlds debut of the Istanbul Wildcats and earned their second victory of the play-ins stage. As the only team to have played twice at Worlds thus far, MAD sit at the top of their group and will creep slowly closer to qualification into the group stage.

Despite losing, IW’s map awareness afforded them multiple chances for leads through objectives, piling up to give their mid laner, Serin, immense control of team fights as Azir. With a collective 8/4/12 KDA, IW’s carries kept the game close until the very end, establishing the team as one not to overlook.

The power of a roaming support

MAD’s support Kaiser refused to be confined to the bot lane. Within just four minutes, Kaiser was roaming to the top side of the map to help his top laner, Armut, and managed to secure himself an accidental first blood.

As soon as Kaiser’s job was done in the top lane, he ventured towards mid to assist the LEC Summer MVP, Nisqy, who used an early assist to keep a gold advantage over his lane opponent. This left UNF0RGIVEN alone in the bot lane, entirely susceptible to ganks from IW’s jungler, Ferret.

wops pic.twitter.com/E0eiMS0fTP

— LoL Esports (@lolesports) September 30, 2022

But pushing up to both the enemy top and mid turrets within ten minutes required Ferret to stay away from the bottom side of the map and protect the structures keeping his team afloat. This ultimately funneled a large amount of gold into the hands of the MAD ADC, who took waves of minions and turret plates for himself and eventually became the most important part of MAD’s late-game fighting.

IW’s support, Farfetch, attempted to respond as Leona with bundles of crowd control, but continued to miss ultimates that could start important team fights for his squad, all while Nisqy’s Sylas threw his ultimates back at him.

Thanks to this early roam from Kaiser and the pressure he helped institute on the top side of the map, all members of MAD grabbed hold of early leads. Yet even with victory in their grasp, MAD could not find the opening they needed to earn the victory.

Looking shaky once again

Much like their first game against Isurus, MAD struggled immensely to close out a game in which they had accumulated a formidable lead.

IW had utilized their kill deficit to focus more on objectives, destroying towers and slaying dragons as they appeared on the map. Despite kills in MAD’s favor, the LEC representatives sought dangerous team fights in enemy territory helmed by IW’s mid laner, Serin, whose Azir ensured that those trying to escape turned right back around.

QUADRA KILL FOR @UNFORGIVENLOL! #Worlds2022 pic.twitter.com/ifVtIV8KXR

— LoL Esports (@lolesports) September 30, 2022

Not only did MAD’s overzealousness earn IW a number of dragons but it even granted them a Baron that had greatly decreased the gold differential between them and their opponents. Only through clearing vision were MAD able to halt what appeared to be a blossoming lead for IW, complete with the first quadrakill of Worlds for ADC UNF0RGIVEN and a total 14/1/1 KDA.

This version of MAD is much more passive than the one that enjoyed a promising run through the LEC Summer Split, as if worried that their near-10,000 gold leads aren’t enough to close games. For the second game in a row at Worlds, MAD have come dangerously close to losing due to this uncertainty among the members of the team, something that may bite them back as the play-ins stage continues.

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