As the halfway point of the 2018 NA LCS season quickly approaches, plenty of lower tier teams will be looking to make changes and upgrades before the start of the Summer Split. While the best teams from around the globe will compete at the Mid-Season Invitational, contenders and basement dwellers alike will look to bolster their rosters in hopes of competing at the World Championship later this fall. However, while most high priority free agents were snatched up last Winter, one legendary support player still remains up for grabs: Min-gi “MadLife” Hong.
MadLife’s illustrious career began in Korea, and was highlighted by a trip to the World Finals in 2012, as well as 4 consecutive All-Star selections between 2013 and 2016. However, he spent the entirety of the 2017 season in the North American Challenger Series with the now disbanded Gold Coin United.
His transition from Korea to North America, however, was lackluster to say the least, as the once supposed “greatest support player of all time”, found himself struggling to make a lasting impact on the regional scene. His team of LCS hopefuls and rejects would go on to win the 2017 Challenger Series, and all of his teammates would land spots within LCS organizations, but MadLife fell to the wayside, leaving his future up in the air, resulting in him announcing a hiatus from the professional scene.
On January 4th, MadLife announced that he would take a break from professional League of Legends in order to prepare for the 2018 Summer Split. And now, with the Summer quickly approaching, MadLife could find himself on a professional roster sooner than we think. In Summer of 2018, MadLife could make a serious comeback, and revive a legendary career in the process.
For years now, rumors have circulated MadLife and a possible transition from the LCK to the NA LCS, and when he joined Gold Coin United in the NACS last season, many thought that a step up into the North American professional scene would be inevitable. But after months of stalling and speculation, MadLife could finally take that step and join a North American team within the coming weeks.
But where could MadLife land?
Well, the obvious answer would be a team that is in need of a consistent and talented support player. With that being said, it’s safe to rule out Cloud9, 100 Thieves, Clutch Gaming, Counter Logic Gaming, Team Liquid, TSM, and Echo Fox, leaving OpTic Gaming, FlyQuest, and Golden Guardians all within the realm of possibility. However, when you take into account that OpTic has insisted on building their Summer Split roster around Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage and Noh “Arrow” Dong-hyeon, both of their import slots would be filled, leaving MadLife off of OpTic.
From there, FlyQuest and Golden Guardians could be the only two options for MadLife in North America. However, only Golden Guardians has import slots up for grabs, unless FlyQuest would be willing to part ways with either Lee “Flame” Ho-jong or Jang “Keane” Lae-young. However, Flame and Keane arethe only bright spots for FlyQuest, and the organization would be foolish to let them go if it seriously wants to rebuild.
By default, only Golden Guardians and their 5 all-American players are left on the list of potential rosters for MadLife. And although the Guardians were by far the worst team in North America last split, the acquisition of MadLife could bring the organization back on the uptick, as the move makes sense for both sides.
Golden Guardians desperately need to make roster moves before the start of the Summer Split. It’s clear that in an age of imports, a team composed of 5 average Americans is not the formula for success. Sooner, rather than later, GGS has to adapt, and there are plenty of foreign players still on the market that they can scoop up and build a team around.
This building process starts with MadLife.
Although Matthew “Deftly” Chen looked to be one of the most promising AD Carries in the Spring Split, his lane partner, Matthew “Matt” Elento, was one of, if not, the most lackluster support players in all of North America. Last split, Deftly ranked 6th among all NA AD Carries in DPM, 4th in CSM and 3rd in KP, all while finishing 2nd in the voting for Rookie of the Split. Needless to say, the young prospect has potential, and even though he’s only spent just a few months playing professionally, Deftly has proven that he can ride with the big name players in the NA LCS.
Matt, however, regressed to the mean of mediocrity, putting up the most uninspiring numbers that a player, let alone support player, could put up. Among all starting supports, Matt ranked 9th in VSPM, 9th in KDA, and dead last in First Blood Percentage, as his lane presence generated the least amount of opening kills out of all NA bottom lanes all split long.
If these numbers are any indication at all, the weakness of the Golden Guardians duo is certainly not Deftly, and the bottom lane could be improved quickly and efficiently with the importing of a talented support player like MadLife.
In theory, if the organization truly wanted to turn things around before the start of the Summer split, it would make sense to improve the overall level of talent that is on the team to begin with. And with maybe the greatest support player of all time waiting in the wings, looking to make a comeback, Golden Guardians would be wise to pounce on the opportunity to snatch up a potential franchise-altering veteran. MadLife is waiting, an organization just has to pull the trigger.
Photo Credit: Lolesports