MAD Lions vs LNG Esports
The fact that MAD Lions are the underdogs on this one is both hugely baffling and also somehow rational. We've seen two vastly different shades of MAD over the last two days, and it's nigh impossible to predict which one will come out and compete this time around. We can theorize to our heart's content, go over all available data, but in the end, no one ever really knows with the LEC champions. It's not that they're inherently volatile, but rather that playing on the Worlds stage always requires a bit of acclimation, and it's quite obvious that they're still trying to figure out which route they want to take and how they want to compete in today's highly peculiar meta.
Their first game against Team Liquid, while acceptable, left a lot to be desired. Their second one against Gen.G, however, was absolutely stellar. They brought the fight to Gen.G and made it look easy, too. Individually they shined bright, but also as a five-man unit — in short, it was the kind of MAD we all expected to see. Whether they'll have a repeat performance still remains to be seen, but there's definitely a reason to be optimistic. They drafted for comfort, played their own style (the one we're so well used to), and dictated the pace of the game from the very get-go — against a superb opponent, no less.
If they can replicate this formula (which really shouldn't be too hard), they'll no doubt have a chance against LNG Esports, a team that, while undeniably dangerous, hasn't really impressed us as much. Now sure, their dominant win over Team Liquid was definitely a sight to behold, but it's not like Team Liquid put up a fight — they imploded at the first sign of trouble. And, well, by the time they wanted to mount a comeback it was way too late as LNG had created too big of a lead — an insurmountable one, if you will.
Still, we'd be remiss if we didn't say that this, in short, is a clash of two "equals." Neither team should be particularly favored over the other, and the victor will no doubt be determined by the minutiae. In other words: it could really go either way. In addition, both MAD and LNG are tied with one win apiece. It goes without saying, but getting the "W" here could potentially end up being the difference between making it out of groups and waiting things out on the sidelines — it's *that* close. So, expect both teams to come out the gates swinging, comfort picks and all.
We'll side with MAD on this one, but if you're looking for a "safe bet," you'd be wise to look elsewhere.