A MAD Journey

Marek Brazda
Things sure have changed around me between 2019 and 2020.

Last year, I was surrounded by a mix of veterans and younger players, with me being a rookie. This year, it’s all rookies around me, a second-year player.

Things didn’t look too good before the season started. We kept losing every single scrim, and I thought we would be a terrible team — maybe ninth or tenth place. That made me feel depressed.

However, we improved over the course of the season, to the point where we are completely different.

There is not a single specific reason that I would point out for our improvement; it’s a number of aspects where we improved.

At the time, we didn’t know how to play the map as a team. Many of us came from European Regional Leagues, where players play somewhat randomly, and nobody really knows about map play. Because of that difference, I can assure you that all the regional teams would get stomped by the Top 5 LEC teams.

So, once we improved there, we started becoming a good team. Still, we aren’t a very good team yet. We need more time to reach that stage: even though we beat G2 Esports in the first round, we got stomped by Fnatic. But if we keep improving at the same pace, we can be.

With most of MAD Lions being rookies, it will take a bit of time getting used to the LEC as the games are way different from games in ERLs.

I’m not saying this to discredit my teammates: I was the same last year. There, ERL players there were, for lack of better wording, kind of brainless, given the lack of knowledge on how to play the game the right way.

Because I focused on helping my teammates figure macro out, the way my Splyce teammates helped me last year, my play took a hit. But that was not the only reason for the “Humanoid dies” memes.

There were some games where I wasn’t fully focused during the regular season, sometimes due to not exactly being familiar with the teams I’m playing against, other times due to games being in a bad stage.

Sometimes, when the game is looking bad for us, I just flip it on the side lane. If it works out, good for us. If not, I die, and we laugh it off. But if I don’t do something at all, it’s a guaranteed loss, so it’s still worth it. But I’m still dying a bit too much there, not going to lie!

Overall, we are a better team than Splyce was last year. Back then, there were only two good teams in Europe: G2 Esports and Fnatic. We were able to overcome the rest, so that’s why we got to the World Championship, but we were still average.

The Splyce games went to late game because we didn’t know how to close out games, which meant that we were doing something wrong. By contrast, when MAD Lions get an advantage, we are able to close them out.

There was another difference between MAD and Splyce. For that, let’s talk a bit about Carzzy, a guy I knew from way back in the Czech scene.

I saw that he spoke about the Czech LAN where a team with denyk and I were declined entry to a tournament; so I’ll add my part: that tournament just didn’t sign us, even though we registered and paid registration fees.

For no reason, we were declined entry after driving for five hours. It should never have happened, and I don’t understand how a tournament organizer can be like that. Imagine if the LEC told us that we were disqualified from a game because they forgot to set up PCs… That would be the equivalent.

Thankfully, that never happens in the LEC, but that local tournament experience was something.

Carzzy didn’t play on my team back then, but we got to play competitively, for the first time, in the LEC.

Let me tell you: he’s a really funny guy. He’s like a clown, always making jokes, and improving team atmosphere a lot. I really like being around him on the team.

His fun side helps us calm down, and not take things so seriously that it brings us down. Say, against Fnatic, when the games were almost over, we were just laughing and having a lot of fun.

If that happened last year in Splyce, we would have been upset and tilted.

We also have way more fun outside of the game than we had last year, talking and laughing daily. Back then, we didn’t fit too well together outside of the game, and that wasn’t too good.

Nowadays, if we know that the game is almost over, we aren’t going to cry about it. We’ll try to make random plays to come back, and laugh it off if it doesn’t work out. Then, you just move onto the next game.

By the end of the split, we were improving rapidly. Every week we got better as a team. We showed that against G2 Esports, even if we then didn’t do as well against Fnatic in the Semi-Finals.

Considering that we started the split looking pretty boosted, I’m happy with how we finished. Of course, we had our eyes on the trophy once we found ourselves in playoffs, but third place is a good start for us to build on.

The journey continues in Summer.

Adel Chouadria assisted in the creation of this article

Image Credit: Riot Games

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