After upsetting a stronger-on-paper Rogue in the first round of the LEC Spring Playoffs, MAD Lions prepare to take on tournament favorites G2 Esports tonight. Inven Global spoke with Lions' support Norman "Kaiser" Kaiser, whose take on the upcoming winners final was clear: G2 are better, they won't make the same mistakes as they did against Schalke 04... but even on a good day for them, G2 can still lose to MAD.
The first question I was wanting to ask is how did you feel like this series went in terms of your expectations going in? Were you satisfied with the outcome? You won fairly convincingly, but how did you feel about it personally?
Coming into the games against Rogue, I think Rogue looked stronger than us. I'm not gonna lie about that. I think they showed a better performance in the regular season. They showed cleaner games, better macro and everything. But I think in the weeks coming up to the match, I think we showed a lot of progress in scrims, and we fixed a lot of our mistakes throwing games.
That really showed this series as well but we also adapted to a new meta, because the patch kind of changed in the last week, and some champions got nerfed, some champions got buffed. I think we adapted really well, and showed some new champions, for example, the Jinx. I think we had really good priorities on what's good right now, so I think that's why we beat them today.
And what would you say are the biggest things that you need to work on moving forward to do well, and for the rest of the playoffs?
I think today was a pretty good day in terms of how we played. I think we can still improve on, like giving up stuff. For example, let's say the enemy team stole Baron or dragon, and we know that we can't contest it because someone is dead or something. Usually what we do is we just stare at them, like "What? Why are they doing the objective?" That's not really productive. What we should be doing instead is going across the map, going on the other side.
Deciding those things faster is one of our biggest working points. So that's for sure one thing. Aside from that, I think coming back into games, because usually when we lose, we lose really hard. I think today was surprising actually, I think we almost never win games when we are behind early game so that we came back from this kind of deficit, definitely gives me a lot of confidence.
"We have good players in every role and better macro than we had before. I think we can definitely beat G2 even on a good day."
Now that you guys have won this matchup, you are going to face G2 Esports. Yesterday, G2 looked fairly vulnerable—barely able to clutch out a 3-2 victory. How do you feel about that matchup? What are you guys going to do in the next week or so to approach that?
I think G2 definitely looked weaker than usual. I think they kind of underestimated their opponents a bit. Especially after game 2, I think everyone thought the series was over — probably G2 did. I think they've mentioned that. But I think they won't really make the same mistake twice.
I think they will also not make that mistake against us because we beat them once in the best-of-5. So I think they will be much more wary of us. But I think we are also a stronger team than Schalke, so I think our chances of beating G2 is pretty high actually. We have good players in every role and better macro than we had before. I think we can definitely beat G2 even on a good day.
What about from an individual perspective? How do you feel so far this season in terms of how you fit in the meta as and how your champion goes? What do you think that you excel in right now, and what do you think you can work on?
For the first part of the season, I think me and Carzzy played kind of badly. I think we didn't really know the matchups that well, we tried to be aggressive when we shouldn't, and we didn't really respect the jungler. I think we fixed both problems over time and right now the matchup of supports — this kind of attack-heavy, engage-heavy — I really excel in those ones.
I didn't really play competitive in the Ardent Censor meta so I can't really comment on my enchanter gameplay. But I think I'm most comfortable in engaging situations because that's why I play support because I want to be the frontline or the one looking for the flanks. I really like those kinds of metas, and I'm thankful that the last two years were straight on tank supports. I'm really comfortable in those.
"Like Elyoya, for example: when he came in, he almost knew everything. We tried to teach him but he already knew it."
What is your opinion of your roster as a whole? Coming into the season, you had a fairly stable core, but you did have the changes in the jungle and top. How would you say those guys have adjusted to the team and fit in? How do you think it's gone over as a whole?
My expectations were high for both. They're big shoes to fill I would say, because Shadow in his first season was already a top 2-3 jungler in Europe. So Elyoya especially had really big shoes to fill. I think Orome was also a really good weakside player, for example. So even Armut had shoes to fill, right? That they did so well, it really amazed me. Like Elyoya, for example: when he came in, he almost knew everything. We tried to teach him but he already knew it.
It really surprised me because rookies are usually kind of stupid, you know? You have to teach them everything. You have to tell them where to go or stuff like this. That's how we were — me and Carzzy and the others — that's how we were the first split in MAD Lions. He wasn't like that, he was already shot calling in his first room, he was really assertive as well. It just makes me really happy because he's just really amazing as a player, he doesn't really lack anything. I think he has the brains and he has the hands. He's really mechanically gifted as well. So I'm really happy about it.
And I think Armut as well really just fits into our team because he's such a funny guy and is such a nice guy. He's willing to sacrifice for the team, but he also can play strongside. If he sees a matchup that he knows he can win, then he just wants to play those carries. I think that's, that's really important to have this kind of versatility in your team, makes us kind of unpredictable as well. So yeah, I'm really super happy with our two new additions.
I would say that you are one of the favorites to make it to MSI. How do you think that your guys' playstyle fits in against other top international teams like DWG KIA and top LPL teams?
As I had the privilege of playing against DAMWON at Worlds, I would say [they are] insane. How they play, I think that they're just super smart about the game. They mechanically play almost every situation perfectly. I think our playstyle is pretty good for international events because we play really aggressive and usually aggressive playstyles are favored over late game scaling styles. If you try to play late game against the aggression of LPL or the aggression of top LCK teams (which also out-rotate you) then I don't think you really have a chance.
I think the best way to beat those strong teams is just to overwhelm them in the early game, and then just play a clean macro game to snowball against them. Of course, it's hard, but I think it's your best chance of winning for sure. And I think aside from G2, we have the best chance of winning those games.
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