MSI Preview 2023: MAD Lions

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MSI Preview 2023: MAD Lions

Can persistence carry MAD Lions through another best-of-five slugfest in the MSI 2023 double-elimination bracket? Here's our official preview on the MAD Lions!


MAD Lions were able to clinch a monstrous split victory after a spectacular deep run in Spring Playoffs. Through sheer grit, the Spanish roster overcame every challenge (some by the skin of their teeth). Nothing's as ferocious as a lion when you get in the way of their food. And with their MSI slot officially reserved, there's tons to consider as they go into their first international tournament of the year. If you're betting on the MSI, this MAD Lions team preview is for you.

Just when you think MAD is out of the race, they muster enough manpower to pull off unexpected tournament runs. They admittedly faltered during the bo1 stage in Spring, but fought tooth and nail to make their dream of winning the split a reality. They outlasted LEC dark horses KOI in their matchups, and ousted the once-undefeatable kings G2 Esports from their lofty pedestal in the EU. But can the MAD Lions brand of determination make gods bleed in this year's MSI?

Pride of the Pack

Thousands of eyes were glued to their screens for MAD's unexpected momentum during the Playoffs. Counting their championship points, Nisqy and co. had two ways of getting into MSI: winning the Spring split, or seeing the last split's champions G2 Esports win again. The Jungler for MAD Lions Javier “Elyoya” Batalla expressed his disapproval for the latter in an interview with BLIX. “I wouldn't want to qualify for MSI because G2 wins the split. It won't feel deserved at all..”, the player remarked.

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In their recent series with BDS, MAD Lions found their advantage in the early to mid-game. From the start, they already knew which weaknesses to exploit, and efficiently took out neutral objectives when it was safe to. However, they faltered in the first two games because of a scattered response and an glaring gap in their macroplay, so they had to switch things up. Eventually, MAD Lions bounced back in the 3rd game when they started collapsing on isolated opponents. Chasy's insane K'Sante ended up leading a deathless charge towards the BDS nexus after Carzzy got a pentakill, putting a ceremonious stop to Team BDS' winning streak.

There's a lot to be said about Hylissang's roster beating other LEC teams with better form. MAD takes its time to learn and adapt around enemy tactics. They prefer to rush 5-minute objectives and gold leads for a snowball, but end up having to keep the enemy from catching up. This can be a double-edged sword, especially when they go up against the world's best. The Lions have made a ton of many questionable choices especially back in Groups. There won't be such margins for error once the Spanish team arrives in London for mid-season invitationals. That being said, the MAD Lions aren't the greatest team in their region, but they sure know how to outsmart the best.

MAD Lions roster and players to watch

  • Top lane: Kim “Chasy” Dong-hyeon
  • Jungle: Javier “Elyoya” Prades Batalla
  • Mid lane: Yasin “Nisqy”Dinçer
  • Bot lane: Matyáš “Carzzy” Orság
  • Support: Zdravets “Hylissang” Galabov
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The MAD Lions did not have the hottest start in the LEC's Spring split, but their willpower drove them to complete the race. We'll most likely see the LEC's #2 Seed rely on Carzzy's playmaking and Nisqy's mid-game carry once MSI kicks off on May 2. Considering their current form, their journey will be difficult. On the flipside, their reliance on early-game aggression is their best tool to get their enemies to play passively, and the Spanish team has good adaptability. Getting out of bad situations isn't new to the MAD Lions. They've had the most practice at it.


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MSI Preview 2023: MAD Lions
Paul Goño
Paul started writing for ESTNN in 2022, the same year he beat his first Souls game. An avid fan of RPGs, his all-time favorites include Baldur's Gate 3, Assassin’s Creed and Kingdom Hearts 2. Besides being a professional nerd, he still struggles to get over the broken PS2 memory card that stored years of his save files.