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League of Legends

Only One Game Ahead: MAD Lions fight for playoffs

MAD Shadow

It seems like MAD Lions have found their rhythm in the LEC. After hitting the ground running in the first few weeks, the last three were 1-1. Until this week the trend was a loss on Friday followed by a win on Saturday. That formula was abandoned this time as MAD took a commanding victory over Vitality on Friday. On the other hand, in the much more important match on Saturday, MAD were unable to find a footing. Excel once again ran away with the early-game and made this author look smart for his prediction last week.

MAD is in joint 5th place
Courtesy of LOL Esports

A look at the standings might alleviate some of the growing worries when it comes to MAD´s playoff chances. But the one-game lead against Excel is a very slim margin as MAD will immediately fall out of playoff position if they ever tie Excel. Thus, the number one objective of the rookie squad is to stay ahead and not drop easy games against weaker teams. To be fair, thus far MAD has been very consistent at beating those three teams in the bottom. Most likely the strongest of those is waiting for MAD again this week. The league is now at a point were every mistake will be severely punished.

Week 7 Preview

MAD Lions vs Schalke 04 Friday 06.03. 8pm CET

As alluded to in the opening paragraph, this match should be a walk in the park for MAD. But, Schalke have been surging ever so slightly. In a best-of-one format usually, anything can happen. So far the only upset any of the three bottom teams have produced is the one victory against G2 in week four for Schalke. At a win rate of 14%, the three bottom teams of the league are the weakest bottom three of all time.

So why is this still a game that cannot be overlooked for MAD? Firstly, while only one of 36 games, it was Schalke that got the win against G2. Even though many of the Schalke players need to have a great day and the team needs to enter Summoners Rift with a draft advantage, they have shown that they can walk away with the victory. Consequently, MAD should be extra cautious when drafting against the current Schalke line-up.

Key Match-up(s)
Schalke 04 in LEC
Courtesy of LoL Esports Flickr

While the Romanian top-lane clash does look intriguing story-line wise, the preferred champs of both players sadly do not match the hype. Instead, once again Humanoid and his counterpart Abbedagge will be the focal point of the map. The two prospects from 2019 earned themselves a similar reputation in terms of volatility. Of course, entering the LEC together in its inaugural split, they are now quite familiar with each other. Furthermore, they even met before their breakthrough in the best European league in the TCL. Humanoids record in TCL and LEC combined against Abbedagge is 8-3. On a normal day, Humanoid should get the better of his opponent and lead his team to victory once again.

Prediction

MAD win. Even though MAD Lions have shown a few difficulties getting to the midgame in a playable game state, their team-fighting has been stellar. Whenever MAD were able to fight back, they almost always succeeded. Even against Rogue and G2, MAD were able to fight their way back into the game after an early deficit.

Schalke are not good enough to close out the game efficiently. Though it is possible that MAD once again gives up a few advantages to Schalke, ultimately MAD should never lose the game. It is very hard to predict how the game will play out though. The most likely scenarios are either a stomp or a drawn-out, teamfight focused game.

MAD Lions vs Rogue 07.03. 7pm CET
Confident Hans Sama

Every game matters. But of course, some matter more than others. Last week´s game against Excel was one of those. This week MAD Lions face Rogue. The two teams are tied in the standings at 7-5, with MAD currently holding the head-to-head at 1-0. Thus this upcoming game will shape the playoff race dramatically. Both teams also still have two games against top three teams left.

The last time the two teams met, MAD eked out a victory. If one would like to remind themself how the game went click here. Rogue ran away with the early game and accrued a 4000-gold lead at 17 minutes. But Soraka came for the rescue of the Lions and helped them win teamfights.

Looking at the stats coming into this week, Rogue is still a much better early-game team than MAD. While MAD are more than 1000 gold behind at 15 minutes on average, Rogue is more than 500 gold ahead. Both teams have shown great variability in their games. This should make for an exciting clash on Saturday.

Key Match-up

Rogue and MAD differ greatly in mid and top lane. While Humanoid can be described as a hit-or-miss player, Larssen is mister consistent. Last week, the casters talked about Larssen´s stats until then: He was the midlaner with the highest time spend in midlane. Humanoid, on the other hand, shines most when put on assassins. In the game that MAD managed to win against G2, Humanoid kept pressuring G2´s players, which made it different for them to use their gold lead.

MAD orome´s champ pool
Orome´s champion stats per GoL

The most important match-up, as well as featuring the most different players per position has to be located at the top of the map. Finn has amassed more PoG-Points than any other player in the league. On the other hand, he also had his fair share of off games. Think back to the early games on Sett, which even led to the introduction of a new verb: get Finned… Orome, on the contrary, is a much more measured player. His big champion pool for this split features a lot of uncommon picks. While players like Bwipo with his Singed or Finn with his Kled use pocket picks to be more aggressive, Orome does the opposite. His, or the team’s, main goal with these special picks seems to be to find a tank or weak-side toplaner for every match-up.

Can he contain Finn? The last time they mate, Orome got to play Soraka´s favorite match-up. He went up against Sett. With Finn´s recent priority on Kled, Orome might have to come up with another special, if he can´t get his hands on Gankplank.

Prediction

Rogue win. Rogue should have won the last clash between the two teams as well. Finn and Larssen just displayed an ability to carry with Kled and Ekko. All in all, MAD do not have as many good options as Rogue has, especially when it comes to draft. Rogue are much more consistent in the early-game and demolished MAD the last time they met as well. The issues in the first part of the game have now persisted for a relatively long time. MAD Lions need to find a way to stabilize their deficiencies and avoid being blown away right away. While there is always hope that this week will be the one were they show significant improvements, it is unlikely to be enough to beat Rogue.

 

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