Western League of Legends fans have been waiting patiently for another EU versus NA matchup and now it’s finally happening on the first day of the Worlds 2021 group stage.
The match will be between the LCS runner-up Team Liquid and defending back-to-back LEC champion MAD Lions. These two teams have very different play styles and those will clash in group D where both are fighting to get one of the coveted tickets to the playoffs stage. Before that, the teams have to play against each other, as well as Gen.G and LNG Esports who are also in the group.
Only one time have these two teams faced off against each other, which was at last years’ Worlds where Liquid defeated MAD Lions in the play-in stage. Liquid advanced as the top team in the group while MAD Lions was later on knocked out of the play-in stage in its Worlds debut, becoming the first team from a major region to be eliminated from play-ins.
A lot has happened since then, as MAD Lions has managed to bounce back stronger with two LEC titles this year and a decent showing at the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational. Liquid, on the other hand, didn’t manage to win an LCS trophy this year despite starting out strong by winning the LCS Lock In tournament in January.
By looking at results throughout the year, it’s clear that MAD Lions is expected to get the better of Liquid in this group, but anything can happen at Worlds. With a lot of pressure on every team’s shoulders, the group stage will often be about playing up to standards on a given day and remaining as cool as possible.
Liquid is a team with many experienced players and has previously proven to play well under pressure. The veteran power of Liquid will be the big strength against MAD Lions since the individual level may be lacking by comparison.
It’s the other way around for MAD Lions, who have incredible individual power in the likes of mid laner Marek “Humanoid” Brázda and bot laner Matyáš “Carzzy” Orság, with jungler Javier “Elyoya” Batalla to facilitate from the early game. The scary part about MAD Lions is that the team has also built up a lot of mental strength throughout the season, as proven in the two LEC finals this year. This makes up for a potent cocktail, which is also why fans and experts have much higher expectations for MAD Lions this year compared to last year.
If it wasn’t for the fact that MAD Lions has proven to be great under pressure lately, this match could very well be close. But after showing how the young players of MAD Lions can perform even from behind, it’s hard to consider Liquid a favorite until the team proves otherwise.
Team Liquid roster:
MAD Lions roster:
On paper, it’s clear that MAD Lions has the advantage from an individual standpoint as well as the better results throughout the season. This is also why the bookmakers give MAD Lions a clear advantage over Liquid, but still with a fair chance that Liquid could pull off an upset. For Liquid to do so, the team will have to hit MAD Lions in the early game and try to force the LEC champion into an uncomfortable situation. If this doesn’t happen, MAD Lions is usually a team that can run over opponents when given the chance to play at its own pace.
A win for MAD Lions will give odds of 1.57 in this matchup while a win for Liquid gives odds of 2.25. The odds for Liquid are decent for people who believe in an upset, but the value should still be found in MAD Lions.
The EU versus NA matchup between Team Liquid and MAD Lions will take place on Monday, October 11. The odds in this article are taken from the time of publication.