MAD Lions has been eliminated from the 2021 League of Legends World Championship in a clean sweep at the hands of DWG KIA.
MAD made the series more contentious than the 3-0 would suggest, but ultimately, DK took the series and will move on to face T1 in the semifinals of Worlds.
Following its elimination at the hands of DWG KIA, MAD Lions spoke to the media in a post-match press conference about the series loss and the squad's 2021 season as a whole.
Humanoid, what did MAD lack compared to DWG KIA today to have a 0-3 result?
I think the main reason was that they just played better in the mid game. I think there were two games where we were ahead, and those should have been won by our side, but they managed to turn it around. They just played really well together from around 15 minutes onward.
Mac, in game 2, you almost took down DWG KIA. What do you think the reason was for the turnaround, and what do you think needs to be improved to prevent such a thing?
I think the game 1 draft was a bit on me. I don't think that was necessarily the right draft for us in that game. Aside from that, as Humanoid said, I thought they were really good at denying us opportunities in the mid game. Maybe we can be faster at setting up opportunities for ourselves, maybe we can find more opportunities — the big thing I would guess at the moment is that we could maybe learn something from them in those areas.
What was the difference between Worlds 2020 and 2021, and what have you learned from this year's tournament?
Armut: Last year, I went to Worlds 2020 with my team from the TCL, but we didn't have much hope to win the championship. This time we came in as the champion of Europe and we had a chance to win Worlds. That's what we believed and that is what we worked towards. It feels bad that we lost in the quarterfinals, but I think we did all we could. Because of that, I'm really proud of my team.
Why didn't any of the players take Exhaust against Khan's Kennen?
Carzzy: I mean, we shut down the Kennen. He was 0/3, but they were just better in the mid game, so that's why we lost. We weren't really afraid of the Kennen in that game.
Humanoid, what was your impression of ShowMaker after laning against him this series?
I think ShowMaker always plays really well. To be honest, he looks like the best mid laner at the tournament. Whenever I play against him, it's a lot of fun, so I'm hoping I can meet him again in the future.
You also faced off against BDD, the mid laner of Gen.G, in the group stage. Any impressions of him?
BDD is also really good. I think the LCK mid laners are probably better than all of the other regions at Worlds 2021. I think they all play really well and they play really strategically and slowly, which is a bit different than the Chinese mid laners, for example. I think what the LCK mid laners are doing right now suits the meta. They are just the best.
Humanoid, on Orianna, you opted for Resolve runes as your secondary set instead of Inspiration against Syndra. Why did you choose Resolve as your secondary runes?
I just wanted to use Second Wind for the early game because Syndra can have a lot of early game poke in lane. Second Wind helps with that, and also, I can take Unflinching against enemy CC.
Mac, could you comment on the performance of MAD Lions on Worlds 2021? In what aspects do you think the team has grown throughout this tournament?
I'm really proud of everything we've achieved this year in general. We've only lost two best-of-five series' all year, and both of them were to DWG KIA. I think that's quite a good achievement for us. I think we have grown a lot as a team, especially at being really confident and proactive, even in losing situations. That's the thing I am most proud of.
In terms of what we've improved on inside the game, I think our early game has gradually gotten a lot better throughout the year, especially at Worlds. I felt that our approach to the first ten minutes of the game was much better at Worlds 2021. Today, I think we had two pretty good early games against DWG KIA. The third one didn't go so well, but I think that's an improvement for us, for sure.
Elyoya, this year was your first year in the LEC and your first time at Worlds. What are your feelings on participating in Worlds 2021?
I feel like I could have done way better individually, so I have mixed feelings. However, one of those feelings is pretty good. It's as I expected playing against the best teams, and it actually motivates me to keep working as hard as I can. It was a really good learning experience, and at the upcoming World Championships, I'm going to perform much better. Thank you for the question.
You've been competitive at Worlds 2021 and just played the defending World champion. What are your feelings on playing against DWG KIA?
Kaiser: Playing against the best is always really fun for us. I think we could have done a lot more and we may not have played our best today, but DWG KIA is the defending world champion and the strongest team left in the tournament.
It's always a fun learning experience to play against DWG KIA because we used to watch their VODs to study team fighting and map play, so playing against them is another good feeling. I feel like we endure a lot from playing against the best, so it's always a really fun experience.
Armut, you played your famous Wukong in game 3, but were heavily focused. What are your thoughts on playing Wukong in this series and being focused constantly?
[laughs] Thanks for the question. In that game, the early game was a bit hard for me, which is why we were looking for some gold for me to come back. I was looking for opportunities for me to come back in the game, which is why I tried to get some solo kills for myself. It didn't work that well, [laughs] but I'm still happy that I played my favorite champion in our last Worlds game.
While we have been eliminated from Worlds 2021, I think we, at least, showed competition against the best teams. It was a fun experience for me.
Kaiser, do you think any team can beat DK in this tournament?
I think there are maybe two teams that can take down DWG KIA: either EDward Gaming or T1. Personally, I think T1 has the best chance and I think that the upcoming semifinals match between DK and T1 is the real grand final. Whoever wins that match is going to win Worlds 2021. I'd still favor DK at about 70/30 to win the whole thing, but I think T1 and EDG may have what it takes to take them down.
Mac, what's it going to take for a LEC team to take down one of these high-flying Korean teams going forward?
I think that the region will have to develop a bit more overall. I think this year was relatively weak for Europe compared to previous years. If you look at G2 Esports, it took them a few times to get to a point where they were ready to succeed internationally.
It requires a lot of experience because it's not often that European teams get to scrim regularly against the best teams in the world. I think Korean and Chinese teams have an advantage there in that they can scrim each other regularly. I think it's a combination of these things as well as the region needing to level up and have a better year next year. I feel that EU didn't have the strongest year this year.
Mac, what was the most difficult aspect of facing DWG KIA in today's series?
I think there are a couple of things. Personally, I found drafting on red side against them to be very difficult because their champion pools are quite broad. Second, as we've already commented on, their mid game was very strong. Third, I think the deciding factor was their teamfighting. DK's teamfighting is excellent, and that's one of the things we are renowned for in Europe, so it was a difficult matchup for us.
Mac, how do you feel about MAD Lions' results and growth as a whole throughout this season, both individually and as a team?
I think it's actually been a really wonderful year for me personally, and I hope the guys feel that way as well. I'd like to express my gratitude to the players and staff at MAD Lions for being, outside of just winning, one of the best teams to work with in terms of having fun, being close to each other, and trusting each other. That's been a real joy for me, and that's honestly my biggest takeaway from this year.
Carzzy, you've played against both Gen.G and DWG KIA at this tournament, and Cloud9, who played DWG KIA in groups, plays against Gen.G in the next quarterfinals match. What do you think of C9's chances of beating Gen.G and advancing to semifinals?
Thank you for the question. I actually think Cloud9 has a pretty high chance of making semifinals. I think that Gen.G is the best match for them. The other teams are just too strong for them, so I'd say they C9 have a pretty good chance of making it. However, I think Gen.G can also be really good if they're having a good day.
Carzzy and Kaiser, what is the best memory of this season for each of you?
Carzzy: My best memory is playing against LCK and LPL bot lanes and just smashing them at times. That makes me really happy, and that's what I'm taking home.
Kaiser: I agree with Carzzy. Playing against DWG KIA at MSI 2021 was one of my favorite experiences. I think the second one is winning the LEC for the first time this past spring. I think those are my two favorite moments.
Is there anything you can tell us about the future of MAD Lions and this current roster?
Mac: Nothing is confirmed yet, and I'm sorry to say that today is not the day to talk about roster changes. Thank you very much.