MAD Lions are truly a team worth keeping track of. One could argue that from a pure gameplay angle, other teams might be more exciting or polished. That said, following the ups and downs of this team can be both exhilarating and exhausting at the same time.
Before Week eight, MAD were looking like the clear candidate for 6th place. Enough wins to secure playoffs, but the weakest looking team out of the six playoff candidates. Early-game deficits continued to plague them and cause a lot of trouble. Then, the LEC went on hiatus for a week and returned with online play. Suddenly MAD came out swinging and defeated SK and MSF in convincing fashion to jump to 4th place all of a sudden.
The first, and most important goal of the season was met. But especially in an ongoing season of play, hitting one small goal is only a steppingstone. No one cares about the playoff goal anymore. Instead, the time has come to worry about top 4, and the status as “best rookie team in the league”.
MAD Lions vs FNC, Friday 27.03.2020 10pm CET
One big problem MAD is facing this week is their schedule. Fnatic on Friday and Origen on Saturday. The same match-ups in reverse order happened in week four. MAD took down FNC in a very exciting game that many MAD players have talked up as their “best match played so far” on multiple occasions. Fnatic are already locked for a top-four finish. Additionally, they play after G2´s game is already concluded, which means this game could be very unimpactful for Fnatic if G2 wins. Because G2 players have stated again and again that Fnatic are the only real threat, it is highly unlikely that G2 would pick FNC as their first match-up for playoffs. Thus, assuming G2 take care of business, this game does not matter for FNC.
Can MAD profit? A slightly looser FNC could be a chance for MAD to strike. But it may also be a very scary proposition. With aggressive players like Bwipo potentially looking at a less important game, chances are, MAD will get blown away by sheer aggression. To beat FNC, MAD need to once again play to their absolute limit.
With Rekkles on one side and a promising rookie on the other, the AD carry match-up will always be something to think about in this clash. That said, even more pivotal for success for either team in this particular match, will be the supports.
When the two teams met for the first time in week four, Hylissang ended the game with nine deaths. Kaiser, on the other hand, had a dream KDA of 2/0/18 on his Rakan. Every lane can make or break this potential semi-final match-up, but the facilitators are of utmost importance. The first step to victory for either team is to secure a comfort champ for their talented supports. Analysts would likely prefer to see Kaiser on something like Rakan again. Taric has been one of his stable picks when he has top pit himself against Hyllissang, Kaiser needs some more aggressive tools in his arsenal.
FNC WIN. Even though this match might not be of most importance for Fnatic, they will not slack off. Especially if the expected results come in, Bwipo is freed up to do whatever he wants. Toplane pressure through some obscure lane-dominant champ will put MAD´s plans in disarray. Fnatic´s relentless aggression will shine even more brightly in the online, low stakes match.
MAD Lions vs Origen, Saturday 28.03.2020 7pm CET
The last time Fnatic and Origen were opponents for MAD, MAD unexpectedly went 1-1. The games back in week four were vastly different. Origen stomped MAD on Day 2 with a very smart late-game focused draft around Karthus.
Origen are the only one of the top three teams that MAD have not been able to beat yet. And if one takes a look at Origen´s style as opposed to Fnatic and G2´s, this makes a lot of sense. Origen are very consistent in almost everything they do. The scrappier nature of Fnatic and G2 can backfire here and there, especially in Bo1 setups. The question for the last game of the season becomes: Can MAD tie the record with every top three team?
The last time these two teams clashed, one advantage carried Origen a long way: The jungle match-up. Now, a sample size of only one game is of course not enough to make a judgment on these two players facing off against each other. On the other hand, Origen has been showing a proclivity to go for farming, late-game scaling junglers. Shadow´s champion pool couldn´t be more different. A third of this split´s games is on Lee Sin alone. If Shadow and MAD Lions stick to their guns and draft an early-game focused jungler, Shadow needs to be able to outpace Xerxe this time. As Origen´s laners are very good at not losing, MAD cannot rely on laning prowess to beat this team.
OG WIN. Making this prediction hurts a bit. But, it seems unlikely that MAD have what it takes to take down Origen right now. There isn´t even a severe player disadvantage. Origen has just shown to be the smarter and better team so far in the split. A Playoff clash in a few weeks might present the Lions with a better fighting chance. In week nine Origen are still the favourite.
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