Elyoya: "We are now a much better team in mid and late game. And it will hopefully be enough to beat LPL in China"


No matter how extravagant of a regular season, playoffs are the only things that matter. Javier "Elyoya" Prades Batalla is certainly hoping that’s true. After an incredibly successful Spring Split — earning first place in playoffs, having a strong showing at the Mid Season Invitational, and winning the Rookie of the Split Award — MAD Lions’ jungler hasn’t had the sophomore split he expected. With the MVP in his sight, he has underperformed his expectations. However, the young man has playoffs as his saving grace.


Fitting to their name, the Lions have claimed to be sleeping for most of the regular season, and hope to come into their true form for playoffs. When Inven Global spoke with Elyoya, he discussed his thoughts on the team’s performance, his thought on LEC versus LCK, and his confidence going into playoffs.

Looking at this split as a whole, when I talked with some of your teammates, they mentioned that after MSI, you guys were trying to rest until playoffs. Do you think this split went as you expected it to?


Not really. I was expecting better from us — I thought we would do better. I think I underperformed during the whole split, which is quite bad. Аpart from that, I think that the record was kind of expected. We knew it wasn't going to be as successful as we would like to be, because we also needed to rest a bit since we had no time to rest after MSI. 


We just weren't having that much practice because we decided the regular speed wasn't going to be so important, since we already had so many points from winning the championship last Split — we were gonna end up with a good seeding most of the time. So we didn't think that this split was so important. So we could take some time to rest and then be way more prepared for playoffs and onwards. 


That's a shame to hear. Last time we talked, you stated you wanted to be MVP for the split. You don't think that's on the table?


No, I don't think I should even be mentioned. I think I had a bad split overall, so I don't think I even deserve it. I think I was just playing bad… There is no excuse really, I was just not practicing like I should have. So the results weren't good in official games. 


Looking at MAD’s playstyle, I would say in comparison to other teams, you focus more on making plays in the bottom lane compared to other EU teams besides maybe Fnatic. When I’ve asked other LEC players, many think focusing on the mid lane is a better style. What do you think?


I think it depends on your composition but going through mid is usually the right call. Since mid is probably the one that comes in first, moving from mid to bot is always going to grant one extra number which is always nice in pretty much every case… So yeah, if you can play through mid, it tends to be the best one but there are some drafts in which you are not able to. 


Do you think you guys are more accustomed to playing against LPL teams considering that you have a very aggressive bottom line?


I think you don't need to have an aggressive bottom lane, but it helps for sure. I think yeah, we would be quite good playing against any LPL team. 



Something I really liked seeing from you this split was your champion pool. In your entire career — even including your amateur career — we’ve never seen you play so many champions. Was this a point of focus for you?


The meta has been changing a lot during this split, so it was easy for me to just practice many champs. And I've always been a guy that likes to play as many champions as I can. So this time I was able to pull them off in officials, so I'm quite happy about that. I think that I've always been this way, but it's just the meta has been like that this year, unlike the previous ones.


I wanted your perspective on this because you’re someone that praised Canyon a lot. DWG KIA doesn’t look like the best team in Korea anymore, and most people would say Canyon doesn’t look like the best jungler anymore either. From watching him play recently, what is your opinion of him now? Do you think he’s as strong as he used to be?


I think he's still as strong as he used to be. He's still mechanically really good and he's still really accomplished, but the problem, I think, is that the meta's not helping that much right now. I think he didn't adapt as well as he should have if he wanted to keep being the best. So right now, I don't think this method really suits him, so I wouldn't place him as the best jungler in the world. 


But even with that in consideration, I still think he's one of the best if not top three. He's still a really solid jungler and he knows how to get ahead by himself and carry games. He's really good mechanically.


DK Canyon: "Thanks to Daeny, we’re able to play without hesitation."


RedForce has obviously come into its own as the best team in Korea, so Peanut has been looking really strong recently. Like yourself, he’s someone really aggressive, relative to other Korean junglers. What’s your opinion of him?


I was quite surprised about Peanut because wherever he goes, he always makes a good team. Like last year with LGD, for example. He made Worlds with them. I mean, they were a fine roster, but right now, I don't think they're even doing that great in LPL [since this interview, LGD finished in 11th place, did not qualify for LPL playoffs and will be missing Worlds — Ed.]. So he must be a big factor in that. 


And the same, for this year, no one really expected anything about his team, or at least I didn't. But he's playing… As a team, they're playing out of their minds. And I think that it comes from him in large part. So I'm really excited to play him and see what he can bring to the table.


There’s been a lot of discussion about the strength of Korea as a region, where Mikyx recently said he thought LCK bottom lanes were weaker than Europe and China. Do you think Korean junglers have degraded as a whole, or where do you see them competing internationally?


I would say China is the one with the best junglers. After China, it would be LEC and Korea. I think both are kind of similar. I don't think that there is one that has way better junglers than the other. I would say it's kind of even.


Even at the top level, you'd say Inspired versus Peanut or Canyon is a tossup?


Yeah, probably.


T1 Keria: "While I think LPL bot lanes are stronger than LCK bot lanes, I don’t think LEC bot lanes can compare to LCK/LPL."


With how strong Rogue looks and how strong especially Inspired looks this split, what would you say sets MAD apart? Why should we expect you guys to win playoffs this split?


I think that we are overall just a better team. Like we played in the last split, and it worked for us. And even though we were inting in pretty much every single game from the early game, I think for this split, we got a lot from MSI that will help us and if we can have some good weeks of practice I think we are going to be able to beat them really easily. [The interview was conducted during the last week of the Summer Split — Ed.]


I think you guys have a great shot at making Worlds. But what's concerning, looking internationally, was that during MSI, you guys didn't have the strongest macro compared to China or Korea. Has that been a point of focus? Do you think you're a lot more confident in your macro game compared to last split?


Yeah, we definitely were timid during MSI and also during the split. We are now a much better team in mid and late game. And it will hopefully be enough to beat LPL in China. But I feel way more confident.

All images via: Riot Games

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