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League of Legends

One Win to Go: MAD Lions in Week 8

MAD Lions fan

Another week, another 1-1. MAD Lions continue to go 1-1 in the LEC. But even though they once again failed to beat a direct competitor last week against Rogue, their position changed a wee bit. MAD Lions currently sit in 6th place. While they are just one game ahead of XL, who hold the 2-0 advantage in the head-to-head, time is running out. Both teams face fierce opposition in the next two weeks. MAD still have to play Origen and Fnatic in week nine. Additionally, another top five team waits for them in the coming week in Misfits. On the other hand, Excel still have to play G2, Fnatic and Origen. If everything goes according to expectations, one more win should be enough to secure 6th place and playoffs in MAD’s first ever split in the LEC.

LEC standings
Courtesy of LoL Esports

Week 8 Preview

MAD Lions vs SK Gaming Friday 13.03.2020 9:00 P.M. CET

There is not that much to write about this match. MAD have been very good at getting the necessary wins against the bottom-three teams. Last week’s clash with the strongest of the three Schalke was anything but dominant. In the end, MAD still cam out on top. SK shouln´t be able to pose as much of a challenge. SK frankly have been quite lifeless after some initial game victories at the start of the split. In fact, they are on a eight-game losing streak. The only thing SK have going for themselves in comparison to MAD is gold-difference at 15 minutes. Interestingly enough, the German team find themselves down only 757 gold on average. MAD on the contrary have not been able to keep up with most teams in the first fifteen minutes and hold a 1184 deficit on average.

MAD Lions after a win
Courtesy of LoL Esports flickr
Key Matchup

On paper, MAD Lions hold an advantage in every single position in this match. Therefore, anyone could step up to carry this game for them. As MAD do not really have to accelerate a certain player on the team to win this game, it is more interesting to explore potential areas of weakness against SK. At this point, the volatile nature of Humanoid´s play has become a bit of a meme in the LEC community. That said, he does fulfil many of the alleged weaknesses time and time again. Thus, if SK finds a way to force him into a risky champ devoid of an escape tool, Humanoid becomes the exploitable point on the map. Fortunately for MAD Lions, with SK´s recent performance Humanoid would have to play one of the worst games of his career to turn the tides in SK´s favour.

Prediction

MAD win. This game is a good opportunity for MAD to once again acclimate themselves to the stage for the more important game on Saturday. In theory, they could also try some new picks, but with the playoff race still going strong that is unlikely. MAD can pad their stats here and work on their abysmal early-game numbers. A loss in this game would likely mean that MAD falls out of playoff contention as Excel face an easy opponent to tie the game score. Hence, MAD can by no means overlook this game, as it might prove to be the crucial last step to secure a playoff berth.

MAD Lions vs Misfits Saturday 14.03.2020 5:00 P.M. CET
Week8 opponent: Misfits
Courtesy of LoL Esports flickr

MAD Lions against Misfits is one of the most interesting rivalries this split. Not so much because of their games against each other – frankly the one game they played was a blow-out in favour of the Misfits – but because of the team’s trajectories and expectations. Two teams with a lot of new players contesting the top spots. Misfits can feel quite secure about the playoff race: MAD and Excel have a very hard schedule ahead of them and are multiple games behind. A win in this game does in fact suffice to secure a playoff berth for Misfits.

On the other hand, this game does not matter that much for MAD, at least in terms of securing playoffs. Misfits is a game ahead and get to play Schalke and Vitality. Therefore, catching Misfits seems highly unlikely.

What this game can however showcase is a potential playoff match in the lower bracket. Thus, both teams will probably fight tooth and nail for the last possible psychological advantage on the table.

Key Matchup

Last time these two teams met, Razork ran away with the game. Read about the domination from the jungle in this review. Consequently, the key to victory for both teams will lie in the jungle. Whoever is able to control the enemy jungler and dominate early skirmishes will likely lead his team to victory. Shadow stepped away from Lee Sin for the last week. He needs to find a champ with which he can contain Razork´s aggression. The two exciting rookie-junglers meet once again this week. Most likely not for the last time this split…

Prediction

MSF win. Even though both Grabbs and Perkz showed some confidence in MAD’s abilties, this author does not see a reason to believe that the problems MAD faced the last time they met Misfits are dealt with. Razork and Febiven will once again win the mid-jungle 2v2. Misfits bot lane is stable enough to survive against MAD’s strongest point of the map. For MAD to be favoured in a match against Misfits they need to prevent the constant disadvantages they find themselves in.

MAD Shadow mulls over his game
Shadow can´t believe his eyes

Post 20 minutes MAD is favoured against Misfits judging from all the great teamfights and decisive macro-plays they have displayed so far. Therefore this match does take the shape of an arm´s race. Can Misfits get to a big enough advantage to overcome MAD’s strong ability to fight back? This author thinks that they can and will in Week 8.

All pictures are courtesy of LOL Esports.

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