MAD Lions vs Astralis
Next up, we have a fight between MAD Lions and Astralis — hardly a clash of titans, but an interesting match-up nonetheless. Frankly speaking, the only reason to tune in (and it's a fairly concrete one) is MAD Lions. We all want to see play some League of Legends — they're an exciting bunch of players with a high skill ceiling, so it's easy to understand why they're on everyone's radar.
Their 2020 was at once both sensational and bafflingly egregious; the first half was nothing but mesmerizing. The second, however, was quite painful to watch. Simply put, MAD Lions fell off a cliff, and one managed to figure out why. It's not like the meta shifted all that much (at least not to a noticeable degree), and yet MAD Lions looked like an entirely different squad when it came to performance. Nothing they did seemed to work, despite going for proven team comps and strategies. That sort of "vibe" carried over to Worlds and, well, we all know how that turned out. They put on an obscenely bad performance and became the first team from a major region to not make it out of Play-Ins. That's not exactly what you want to be known for. Especially not after making the world take notice throughout the first half of 2020.
But it was a learning experience, regardless of the fact that it ended on a sour note. As a result, MAD Lions went back to the drawing board, replaced two of their members (top and jungle), and are now a bit more mature and seasoned, with ample scars to prove it. The only question now -- and it's a big one -- is whether or not Armut and Elyoya have what it takes to turn (or solidify) MAD Lions into a bona fide contender. The potential is certainly there, but we're still somewhat reserved (and rightfully so). One could argue that MAD had all the right tools last split as well, and yet things just didn't "click" correctly.
Still, they're up against Astralis — arguably the worst (and least capable) team in the LEC. It's not that they're especially dreadful, but they *do* pale in comparison next to basically each and every other team. MAD Lions, even at their worst, should be more than capable of the getting the win, and in one-sided fashion, too! They're the favorites for a reason and if they play to their strengths they shouldn't have any trouble in getting the "W."