For the longest time, support was thought of as a position with clear limits. It seemed like supports were always expected to sacrifice themselves for the team. However, the LoL player Hong “Madlife” Min-gi changed all that. He refused to be a ‘traditional’ support. Madlife was a 1st generation star player who created a whole new paradigm for the support position.
Debuting in 2012, he earned countless achievements throughout his pro career. This legendary support delivered unbelievable performances with numerous champions, from his signature champion Blitzcrank to others like Janna, Alistar, Sona, Thresh, and many more. His plays were unforgettable. For many fans, Madlife’s amazing plays were still fresh in their minds; perhaps that’s why so many of them thought that his retirement was rather early.
After he announced his retirement, we had the chance to talk to some of his closest companions. With some short statements, they recalled some of Madlife’s best moments.
OnAir coached Madlife since his debut in MiG and until he played his last LCK games in CJ Entus. He was not just a coach; he was a friendly ‘older brother’ for Madlife.
Kang Hyun-jong described the former player as the “most beloved LoL player of all time” but at the same time “the most hurt”. While Madlife did have some positive nicknames such as “Mamen”, and “Madlife-God”, he still received a lot of criticism. OnAir also thought the timing of his retirement was too early. Still, as a companion, he said he will always support his future steps.
The head coach noted the match against CLG.EU in the LoL Champions Summer 2012 as the most memorable. “When we were down 2:0, Madlife said that he was having a hard time. I didn’t have a lot to say except just do what you want to do and do not regret even if we lose.”
At that time, Madlife was playing Alistar; he marked Froggen’s Diana and constantly followed him throughout the game. After the match, fans agreed that Madlife became a nightmare that Froggan would never forget.
Madlife and CloudTemplar were the leaders in Frost. The two led the team through numerous tournaments; the duo won a LoL Champions trophy and came in a close second place in the 2012 Worlds tournament. The match against Xenix Storm In the LoL Champions Spring 2012 was the most unforgettable series for CloudTemplar.
That match against Xenix Storm went all the way to game 5. Unlike with current regulations, game 5 back then was a blind pick. CloudTemplar went for his signature pick, Shen, and Madlife picked Sona.
Before engaging for a teamfight, Madlife showed exceptional reflexes by landing his Crescendo on the opponent Ahri. This instantly killed her which made the fight a 4 vs 5. Eventually, Frost closed down the game largely thanks to Madlife’s great performance with Sona. Although the team couldn't win the title that season, Madlife’s Sona was long remembered.
Cpt Jack and Madlife were technically in the same team, but they usually competed against each other since Cpt Jack performed in Frost’s sister-team, Blaze. In the early LoL scene, Blaze and Frost were known as the biggest rivals.
Cpt Jack recalled the Champions Winter 2012-2013 semi finals as the most “haunting memory.” Azubu Frost managed to lock in Blitzcrank in games 4 and 5. The crowd roared once they saw Madlife’s signature champion ready to perform in the Rift.
The highlight of the series was in game 4. Madlife’s Blitzcrank grabbed Cpt Jack’s Caitlyn numerous times, which led the team to a draw in that series. His skill with Blitzcrank was sensational; he seemed to have predicted his opponents’ every move.
Blaze banned Madlife’s Blitzcrank for the majority of that series. However, once they opened Blitzcrank on game 4, Madlife turned the whole series around. Since game 5 used blind pick bans, he showed remarkable performance with his Blitzcrank once again, eventually leading Frost to the finals.
Shy and Madlife were teammates for quite a long time. They were together as a team when Frost was at its best and when it was at its worst. Shy announced his retirement on December 2017. When speaking about Madlife, Shy said that, “He shined anytime anywhere.”
He added, “Madlife was younger than me, but I relied on him a lot.” As teammates, the two former pros managed to win the LCK trophy. They also came in a close 2nd place in the season 2 Worlds.
At times, there were rumors of discord between the two players. Contrary to the rumors however, Shy and Madlife were close friends. As a matter of fact, Shy was the player who stepped forward to encouraged Madlife during his early career.
The current head coach of C9, Bok “Reapered” Han-gyu reflected on his memory of the LoL Invitational 2012. According to Reapered, “That was when the nickname ‘Mamen’ was first created.”
At that point, LoL was not popular in Korea; there were no official tournaments or leagues either. In the LoL Invitational 2012, Reapered teamed up with Madlife and became one of the eyewitnesses of the legendary “Mamen plays”.
While she was seen as a somewhat less aggressive pick at the time, in the hands of Madlife Janna instantly became a totally different champion. Madlife showed some unbelievable initiations, such as the ‘Flash-Monsoon’. While that combo is as a common one these days, in 2012 it was a revolutionary move to witness.
Woong was reckoned as a player that had the highest versatility among the 1st generation LoL pros. He was a Top laner when he first teamed up with Madlife. To make up for Locodoco’s absence, he shifted his role to ADC and started to play alongside Madlife in the bottom lane.
Although he was not rated as one of the best players when playing ADC, he did manage to keep steady teamwork with the former pro. Playing as a carry role, sacrifice is not the easiest thing to do, but Woong was willing to give up on some of his personal desires to make Madlife shine.
When commenting on Madlife’s retirement, Woong said he “always received help from Madlife when I was on the same team. As a companion, I hope that he’ll do well on his next step.”
PraY was a partner throughout Madlife’s career and at the same time a tough competitor for the former pro. There was a term that spawned from the renowned Spanish derby matches against FC Barcelona and Real Madrid: “LoL Clasico”. The traditional rivals, MiG (CJ Entus) and EDG (Najin e-mFire) had countless highlights in the early LoL scene.
The biggest enemy for the two teams in MiG (Frost/Blaze) was no doubt Najin Sword. The team was composed of not only PraY, but so many other big names such as Kim “SSONG” Sang-soo and Yoon “MakNooN” Ha-woon. They constantly challenged MiG with signature champions such as SSONG’s Evelynn and PraY’s Twitch.
On the other hand, Najin Sword’s toughest opponent was Madlife himself. In that “LoL Clasico”, Madlife’s signature picks were for sure on Najin’s priority ban list; his Blitzcrank was banned 6 times. Other champions like Thresh were also banned.
MiG Frost and Najin Sword went against each other 15 times. MiG ended with a slight lead at 8 wins and 7 losses.
GorillA is one of the players that was inspired by Madlife’s plays. Debuting when he was 20 years old, GorillA did not start his League career as a support. He started to take interest in the role after watching Madlife’s plays and eventually decided to change to Support.
The two players went against each other 28 times. Although GorillA won 21 of those games, they always managed to put on quite a fight. In GorillA’s early career, Madlife won three times using his signature Sona pick.
Madlife may have stepped down from his spot as ‘No.1 Support’, but GorillA said that he still learned a lot from the veteran’s plays.
“I want to thank you, Madlife.” was his last word on his role-model’s retirement.