MAD Lions merged with KOI, creating MAD Lions KOI, fielding an (almost) fully Spanish roster – that’s also (almost) completely made out of rookies. How will they fare in the new season of the LEC?
The 2024 LEC Winter Split is starting this Saturday! The fans are hyped, the casters are hyped and hopefully the players are hyped for the EMEA league to be the first one to start this year. We already looked at some of the rosters on the starting line for the Winter Season, but there’s still a number left, so let’s dive right into it!
Without a doubt the team that changed the most is MAD Lions: not only did they get a new partnership with KOI, and with it a new name, they only kept a single member of their previous roster. They seem like the biggest wildcards of this year – but will their all-in work, or will they fail before they even get started?
MAD Lions in 2023
The Lions have been chasing the high of the 2021 Split as an organization. 3 years ago, they won the LEC back to back, dethroning G2 Esports for a whole season, as well as beating Rogue and Fnatic in the Spring and Summer Finals.
In 2023, they were the team with the most fluctuating performance. Nisqy and his teammates finished second in the Winter Regular Season as well as the Playoffs, then finished 8th in the first half of Spring, barely making it to the Playoffs. After all that, they managed to win it all, beating BDS 3-2 in the Finals and qualifying for the MSI. While they had a truly lacklustre Summer Split with 2 7th place finishes, their Spring performance pushed them into the Season Finals, where they had rose once more, making it to the third step of the podium. Worlds was another letdown by MAD Lions, as they never made it past Group Stage.
In 2024, the whole League of Legends part of MAD Lions changes. The new name comes with a new coaching staff and 4 new players – but can the Spanish team bounce back with the drastic swaps?
MAD Lions KOI 2024 Roster
Top: Alex “Myrwn” Villarejo
Jungle: Javier “Elyoya” Prades Batalla
Mid: Bartlomiej “Fresskowy” Przewoznik
ADC: David “Supa” Martínez García
Support: Álvaro “Alvaro” Fernández del Amo
Did you really need 4 rookies?
It’s one thing to let go of all your players before the start of the new season – if the team isn’t showing results, changes need to be made. It’s another thing to let go of everyone, and while decisions like these can be understandable, they are still drastic. But replacing almost all of your experienced players with 4 rookies is nearing insane territories.
Don’t get me wrong, Myrwn, Fresskowy, Supa and Alvaro are great players, and they are definitely on the list of up and coming talent that should get a spot on the LEC. But signing 4 complete newbies to the biggest league of the EMEA region is a gamble at best.
The saving grace for the team is that MAD Lions KOI’s new midlaner, ADC and support have played together in 2023 under the banner of Movistar Riders, with whom they won the Spring and Summer LVP SuperLiga – but couldn’t manage to turn their Spanish championship wins into international successes. They got close in last year’s Summer EMEA Masters, but Karmine Corp stopped them in the Finals.
Myrwn had a wild journey before joining MAD: after almost winning the SuperLiga in Summer with BISONS ECLUB (where he played midlane for a bit, while his ADC was the toplaner), he went on to join Los Heretics, then got poached by the Lions – hopefully, he can keep his momentum which he got by winning the Iberian Cup 2023 Finals rolling in the LEC.
O Captain, my Captain
The glue that holds the entirety of the MAD Lions KOI roster together should be Elyoya. There were rumours going around that the jungler of MAD had a big saying in who joins the team, with him specifically requesting to work with Supa and the team’s new head coach, Tomás “Melzhet” Campelos.
Elyoya is a great player, hailed as THE best jungler of the LEC – but he was also prone to breakdowns if his team didn’t perform. It should be a good sign if the organization took his suggestions seriously, but if the 4 rookies won’t work out, Elyoya could look at a meltdown again, just like in the 2023 Spring Group Stage and the entirety of last year’s Summer Split.
MAD Lions KOI 2024 Predictions
Overall, MAD Lions KOI look like an incredibly interesting team. SK Gaming tried something similar last year, filling their roster with new players – then went on to get 4th place in the Playoffs. Arguably, Elyoya is better than any player on that SK roster, and the Spanish core could be a fearsome foe – but for now, I wouldn’t be so sure that we’re looking at a top team in the Winter Split.