The second week of the 2021 LEC Spring Split packs numerous exciting match-ups, which means a couple of predictions are in order — this time around we’ll focus on Fnatic vs. MAD Lions! On paper, this is one of the most hype match-ups in the LEC.
In actuality, however, it’s nothing more than a clash between two struggling teams — both of which have lots to prove and are fighting with a chip on their shoulder. Simply put, neither Fnatic nor MAD Lions have entered 2021 on the right foot. Both of them failed to impress and other than a couple of standout moments, they did very little to warrant our benefit of the doubt.
And sure, we’re still at the very start of the season, but one could rightfully argue that they should’ve looked much better given the sheer amount of talent that’s present within their line-ups. These are not inexperienced rookies (especially not on Fnatic’s side), nor subpar players who’ve barely managed to reach the LEC stage. Instead, we’re talking about some of the most revered and respected individuals the LEC has to offer.
Let’s dive a bit deeper.
Fnatic vs. MAD Lions Predictions
Both organizations have made noticeable changes to their starting line-ups. Fnatic has entered 2021 with a different mid laner and marksman, with MAD Lions opting to switch out their entire top side of the map. The result? An obvious lack of cohesion. But we’re not disappointed because they need to rebuild their synergy from the ground up — we expected such a thing. Instead, it’s because they regressed in more ways than one, and there’s no excuse in sight.
They seemingly have it all: experience, mechanical prowess, vast amounts of talent, and a slew of LEC veterans who are still at the top of their game. But you wouldn’t be able to tell based solely off of their play last week. There were some great moments, that’s true, but they came in short, hesitant bursts, interspersed between moments of absolute mediocrity. This is not how a star-studded team should perform, and even though Fnatic is known for starting slow, this is still a bit too underwhelming given who’s competing under their banner.
And here’s the thing — they have time. No one’s sounding the alarms just yet. But there’s a cause for concern if you’re a MAD Lions fan as Misfits Gaming and Team Vitality have stepped up immensely and are currently performing much better than anyone expected. They could, by all means, overtake them in the standings — their wins are the result of hard work and surprising amounts of cohesion. And these virtues won’t fade over time. MAD Lions will improve, that’s a given, but they’ll face an uphill battle going forward as there are more capable mid-tier teams in the LEC than ever before. And all of them are hungry for the spotlight.
A Solid (Enough) Start
If you’re a Fnatic fan, you’re probably not elated after a fairly underwhelming start. Still, there’s a reason for optimism. Throughout their first three games, we saw numerous moments of brilliance. They didn’t last long, that’s for sure, but they happened nonetheless — and that’s the only thing that matters at this point in time. We saw that patented Fnatic aggression, and for a brief moment in time they looked as good as the Fnatic of yore.
Well, perhaps a bit of consistency, a clearer game plan, better team fighting, and so on, but those are all things that’ll inevitably come over time. What’s important right now, however, is that they’ve shown ample potential — a high enough skill ceiling. And if they work hard enough and hone their skills in the right way, they’ll undoubtedly be able to trade blows with G2 Esports and Rogue further down the line.
Right now, however, they’re still a struggling team with a ton of headroom. And the same holds true for MAD Lions as well, although they probably won’t be quite as capable as the boys in black and orange. In any case, we’ll side with Fnatic on this one, but we’re not doing so with confidence. Betting on the LEC right now is sort of a double-edged sword. There’s very little rhyme or reason behind what’s happening, which makes betting a lot more complicated than we’d like. Fnatic are favored and there’s a good reason why, but they’re all competing on a somewhat level playing field. MAD Lions have a puncher’s chance, and should not be underestimated whatsoever.
Still, we’re betting on Fnatic’s veterancy and sheer talent to come in clutch this Saturday.