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Fnatic have lost just two of their nine games, so it should come as no surprise that they’re the favorites for this match. MAD Lions, the defending champions, have had a strange season: they won their first three matches and looked set to dominate the league before Fnatic ended the run; they’ve not recovered since and are currently on a five-game losing streak.
MAD Lions weren’t great in the league last season, either. They needed to go through a tiebreaker just to enter the playoffs before going on that fairytale run. They’re unpredictable because they have some strong players on their side, but they don’t always turn up.
Fnatic are one of the most successful teams in LEC history, but the last 12 months were some of the worst in Fnatic’s glorious history. They seem to have put that behind them and got their spark again. They looked like they were on the road to recovery in last season’s playoff, but we couldn’t say for certain; we can say it for certain now.
You couldn’t even count on Fnatic to qualify for the playoffs last season, which was unthinkable over a year back. They’ve beaten the MAD Lions earlier in the season, and we think they’ll manage it again.
MAD Lions started the season with three wins, lost to Fnatic, and lost all their momentum. We can’t think of a more streaky team than MAD Lions in LEC history. They looked awful for most of last season before going on a miraculous run to win the spring championship.
There was a feeling that they’d use that momentum to dominate the league, but they’re now sitting in seventh place on the league table. Like last season, they’re not a shoo-in to enter the playoffs, yet it’s hard to see how MAD Lions don’t make the playoffs.
There are still a lot of games left for MAD Lions to recover, which is why we don’t think this will be the game that’ll start their recovery. Even on MAD Lions’ best day, Fnatic will be a difficult opponent, never mind when they’re out of form.
The bookmakers didn’t really fancy MAD Lions to do well this season even after winning their first three games; they deserve all the credit in the world for their brilliant run last season, but that was never likely to sustain for another season.
However, we shouldn’t forget that they have some incredible talent on their roster: the sort of talent that swing games on their own. Bot Laner Carzzy has been the main man for MAD Lions; he has averaged just under 4.5 kills per game this year, with 4.7 assists and 2.88 deaths per match.
Last season, he was able to inspire the team to victory, but expecting him to come up with a herculean effort once again is unrealistic. His teammates need to step up, but no recent evidence suggests that they’ll do this. Fnatic are also a much stronger side than the one from last season, so it will be difficult to win this match even if they perform to the best of their abilities.
When Fnatic faced MAD Lions in game week four of the league season, there was still a lot of uncertainty around Fnatic: they’d just lost to G2 Esports, which indicated that any suggestion that they were back was premature.
However, they won that game and went on a five-game run before losing to SK Gaming last week. They can be got at, but they’re clearly one of the best sides in the league again. They showed signs towards the end of last season, but the biggest change was adding Noah to the side this summer. They’ve shown that they can compete at the highest level, and their recent performances bode well for the future.
The environment around Fnatic in the last 12 months was quite toxic; this is expected within any side with a great reputation but underperforming. Everything’s looking a lot better because they’re winning matches again.
They’d added a few players last season but got rid of them to add Noah, who has been a revelation since joining the team. He has averaged 5.36 kills per game since joining the team, which has eased the burden on Rekkles, who has averaged 3.88 kills per game this year.
With the two of them in the side, Fnatic are capable of blowing any team out of the water. This is the sort of standard they’d set in the past, and it looks like they’re ready to take back their crown. Regarding the game against MAD Lions, we think Fnatic will have too much firepower for them. MAD Lions will have too much to deal with; we doubt Carzzy’s skills will be enough to get them over the line.
There was a time when MAD Lions could call upon him to change the trajectory of the game against an even opponent, but Fnatic aren’t an even opponent any longer.
With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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