MAD Lions vs Fnatic
What a tricky match to cover and, unfortunately, bet on. Both teams have a shot. It's really that simple. In the words of the great Odoamne: "the team that ints less will come out on top." Now sure, that's generally always the case, but it's especially true for MAD and Fnatic, two teams that are immensely talented but still quite volatile. We never really know what's going to happen -- will they come out the gates swinging and, subsequently, dominate? Or, perhaps, implode and shoot themselves in the proverbial foot? We've seen both ends of the spectrum, which is why we're so wary of what might occur.
The boys in white and gold have thus far been a lot more consistent (and, by proxy, impressive), but the gap we're talking about here is neither large nor insurmountable. An experienced team like Fnatic can adapt and shift and deliver on a moment's notice. And, well, they've evolved, too. Razork was their weakest link for the longest time -- the one player that, in a way, held them back. Now, however, he's one of their biggest win conditions and the guy calling the shots from start to finish. His immaculate performances kept Fnatic afloat and, well, he's the main reason why they were able to reverse sweep a very game EXCEL Esports. We can finally see a bit of cohesion whenever they step foot on stage although, in all fairness, they're still nowhere near as consistent and commanding as we thought they'be at this point of the season.
The Lions, on the other hand, have been a lot more impressive. Cleaner in execution, more precise and with a firmer team-wide identity. They're far from perfect, mind you, but are nonetheless a very capable contender -- one that has earned our total and unreserved benefit of the doubt. Their Best of 5 against Rogue was an absolute barnburner and, well, if they come out swinging with the same zest and fervor, they'll not only give Fnatic a run for their money but perhaps even emerge victorious. They've been the better, more consistent team throughout the second half of 2022, but are nonetheless ever so slightly less resilient in a five-game series. They still tend to fumble and fail once the going gets rough.
Be that as it may, they still had some truly mind-blowing moments -- the kind of which still linger in the back of our minds. And, best of all, they didn't come from any one player in particular but rather from the team as a whole -- they're incredibly cohesive and are always on the same page whenever those hectic five-on-five teamfights break out. They're also rough around the edges, sure, but the same can be said for the vast majority of their peers as well.
The thing we're wondering right now is: will Fnatic be able to take a page out of Rogue's book and exploit MAD in a similar way? They're much more versatile and experienced, but these strengths and virtues aren't always on display (for whatever reason). They have all the tools they need to get the win but they're not always cohesive and precise enough to execute and deliver.
There's no "safe" bet here as these two teams are separated by the slimmest of margins -- and the odds reflect it, too. We're sort of leaning more towards MAD but by no means should Fnatic be counted out. In the end, one thing's for certain: it's bound to go the five-game distance!