Mac: Ambition was always for MAD Lions to make top four in LEC
Coach proud of rookies' performances in League of Legends European Championship Spring Season; Berlin-based 'Mac' concerned for family back home in UK amid coronavirus pandemic
By Yinsu Collins
Last Updated: 22/03/20 2:39pm
MAD Lions locked in their place in the LEC playoffs after beating SK Gaming and Misfits - and also with thanks to Excel's fall to Fnatic and G2 Esports - but coach James 'Mac' MacCormack says it has always been his ambition to secure top four this split.
After rebranding from Splyce, MAD Lions picked up three rookies alongside Humanoid and Splyce's academy top laner Orome ahead of the 2020 LEC Spring Split.
There were questions on how MAD Lions' inexperienced roster would perform in the LEC but the Spanish side are currently fourth with one more week of the regular season left and coach Mac admits he is not too surprised with the outcome.
He said: "I don't think we're either wildly above or below expectations, to be honest. When you come into the split with a roster full of rookies, people think you're going to finish eighth or below, but actually, my ambition for this group of players was always to make top four."
Thanks to @G2esports' win today, our spot in the #LEC Spring Playoffs is locked!— MAD Lions LoL English (@MADLions_LoLEN) March 21, 2020
GG's @OromeLoL, @shadowlol, @Humanoiidd51, @Carzzylol & @KaiserLoL on a great split so far. Let's 2-0 next week and get that double elimination seeding 👀#goMAD #MADWIN #LEC pic.twitter.com/gH8I0zosYc
Mac reflected on the past eight weeks of competition and despite beating G2 and Fnatic, two of the best teams in the league, the 26-year-old revealed that his highlight was being able to see the work put into the players materialise on stage.
He said: "The most rewarding thing for me is always seeing something that I know I've helped a player to learn to win them the game.
"For example, I was super proud of Shad0w during our game against SK on Friday because he played an almost perfect Olaf game. He was really commanding, snowballed the early game, taking every objective and used his lead correctly.
"That's something Peter and I spent a long time working with Shad0w on individually where he wasn't 100 percent comfortable with earlier on in the Split.
"Those kinds of moments, where I know that something we've taught our players has really paid off and helped us win the game, is for sure the most rewarding moments."
Riot Games announced the temporary suspension of the LEC due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak last week but resumed the competition with the arrangement that games were able to be played online. Teams played their matches from their respective offices and gaming houses.
Mac says Germany's measures on the coronavirus hasn't affected MAD Lions too much.
He said: "Honestly for us, it's business as usual. Germany is actually coping really well - the infrastructure seems to be in place and the German government is seemingly determined with as many office spaces remaining normal as possible. It feels a lot less extreme. Hopefully, it's because they're dealing with everything better.
"Of course, we have put measures in for the best of our players. We've bought everyone bikes so they can cycle to work and I roller skate so honestly for us, it's not been too different. Playing from home is obviously a change but I don't think it's something that particularly bothers us."
However, Mac, who is from the UK, is concerned for his family and worried about the uncertainty of whether he'd be able to return home during the offseason.
He said: "The UK doesn't seem to be doing so hot right now so that's a bit worrying. I'm pretty worried for my family because I have elderly parents and relatives who I'm concerned about.
"Also, being stuck in Berlin over the offseason is not ideal. I obviously want to go home and see my family and I have a fiancé at home who I haven't seen in three months so it's sad.
"But, while all of that is a burden for sure, I'm just focusing on the task at hand and I feel fortunate that I work in an industry that things can still function."