After a nail-biting group stage from Cloud9 and a fairly convincing one from MAD Lions, the two will finally clash in a battle between the LCS and LEC. Cloud9 had a rough start to the group stage but stepped up on the final day, as top laner Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami was completely unstoppable against reigning world championship squad DWG KIA.
For MAD Lions, the team finished the group stage with a convincing 5-1 record but with some shaky games played throughout. MAD Lions had several games where its early game was on point, but the games ended up closer than they should have been because of sloppy macro decisions.
This leaves the two teams on a fairly even footing when entering Summoner’s Rift in the Rumble stage. Both teams are expected to perform well, but who the better Western representative will be is yet to be decided. One thing is for sure, the game will likely be action-packed and with a big focus on raw skill starting from the laning phase.
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For Cloud9, the most obvious win condition will always be mid laner Luka “Perkz” Perković, who is the only defending MSI champion at the event. With that said, both Fudge and support Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme should be the ones getting the attention in this matchup.
After a sloppy start to the tournament, Fudge and Vulcan have both stepped up big time and made Cloud9 the well-rounded team that everyone had hoped for. Vulcan especially has been scary on engage supports such as Alistar, with several game-deciding plays made. His most impressive game was the win against DWG KIA, where he didn’t give the defending world champions a break. The same goes for Fudge, who had the game of his life with a 10/3/6 scoreline on Lee Sin.
For MAD Lions to take this win, they will have to be prepared for a Cloud9 squad with loads of confidence. MAD Lions is expected to be the favorite, but with how Cloud9 ended the group stage it’s fair to reconsider who the real favorite is.
MAD Lions’ strengths so far have been the early game where jungler Javier “Elyoya” Batalla has been unstoppable. The Spanish rookie is at his first international event and playing like he has been on the stage many times before. His pressure in the early game has granted MAD Lions a lot of leads, now the team just needs to keep those leads when entering the mid game.
So far, MAD Lions has been overeager and even a bit shaky when exiting the laning phase. This has cost the team its leads, nearly resulting in defeats. Making these mistakes against Cloud9 will likely be punished, so once again, Elyoya will be the key to victory.
MAD Lions roster:
The LEC teams have generally had the upper hand against LCS teams for a while now, but this matchup might have a real chance of changing that. With Cloud9 ending the group stage with a win over DWG KIA, the North American representatives will enter this match with a lot of confidence. On paper MAD Lions may be the strongest team, but shaky performances throughout the group stage leave the door open for an upset.
A win for MAD Lions will give an odds of 1.62 while a win for Cloud9 gives odds 2.12. In the light of the recent games, there is definitely some value to pick up by betting on Cloud9 for this match.