The first match between North American and European teams at the 2020 World Championship will be between Team Liquid and MAD Lions on the first day of the play-in stage.
Both teams have been performing well throughout the summer split and will now write the first chapter of the regional rivalry in 2020. Liquid qualified as the LCS third seed, while MAD Lions took the new fourth spot for the LEC.
While the two teams didn’t manage to climb to the top of their respective league, they still proved that they deserve to be at Worlds. Being the two clear favorites in group A, this will be one of the most important matches in the play-in stage to decide which team will secure a direct ticket to the main event.
The other teams in group A are not to be underestimated, but many experts predict these two sides to advance in the tournament.
It will be an interesting matchup because the two teams have way different playstyles. Liquid is known for its slow and controlled style of play, going for scaling compositions and team fighting.
MAD Lions on the other hand has been versatile in the LEC, but mostly going for aggressive early games with a lot of action around the mid lane. MAD Lions has also tried to play slower compositions, but these compositions have not typically impressed.
The most important matchups will be the mid lane and jungle. MAD Lions jungler Zhiqiang “Shad0w” Zhao and mid laner Marek “Humanoid” Brázda like to play very aggressively and try to snowball from the early game. The Danish Liquid duo of jungler Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen and mid laner Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen will have to withstand that pressure and maybe even punish some potential overaggression.
If the game goes late, then Liquid might have an advantage when it comes to its coordination in team fights and macro play, but MAD Lions will not be an easy opponent to play slowly against.
It’s no surprise that the LEC team will have a slight edge from the bookmakers, as Europe has been performing better in recent years. With that said, the matchup is still very close, which the odds also indicate.
A MAD Lions win will give odds 1.65, while a Liquid win gives odds 2.08. The two odds are tight, so the game could definitely end as the first nailbiter at Worlds. MAD Lions will be playing one other game before facing Liquid, so there is a chance that the odds will change depending on that performance.
The game will be the last of the play-ins day one on Friday, September 25.