Armut: "Everyone's just buying Hullbreaker and you can't lane if you don't buy it."


MAD Lions haven't had the easiest times this year. With the roster changes the team has had, they lack the same strengths that it had in 2021. Inven Global had the opportunity to talk with the team's top laner İrfan Berk "Armut" Tükek, to discuss MAD's team fighting, his opinions on Reeker, and his thoughts on the top lane meta.

It’s become a meme that you only really go 100% when it’s playoff time. I know last split you experienced a bit of burnout during the regular season, do you think you’re still not performing at 100% right now?


I think my lane phase performance has gotten so much better compared to last year. But right now, it just seems that we cannot teamfight as a team — that makes us look all really bad. I feel like, it's just so hard to play teamfights right now, I think we're making so many mistakes in the fights, even when we are ahead in the early game. That's why we are losing the games, because it comes down to 5v5. And I think last year, we had really good team fighters, and we were all on the same page. But it hasn't gone like that this year. We have potential to do better. We will see. If there are five games left, we might not be able to make playoffs this season. [MAD are currently in 8th place with 5-8 record — Ed.] So we have to do our best.


Some teams are able to win games just outright from snowballing the laning phase. Would you say team fighting is the key to victory for MAD?


I think a good team needs both. You need balance, because you cannot be losing every single laning phase, then just pop off in the teamfights. It just doesn't work against really good teams. That's what we faced in MSI and Worlds as MAD Lions last year. So I think we have to improve on both sides. 


I think we really need to implement teamfights currently — this is what I see. The objective stats, how to fight, how to flank, how to turn, how to position ourselves, etc. We have so many lacking things in the team fight, that laning kind of doesn't matter. Because we are so ahead in almost every game, our early game is really good, but it's just doesn't go in the team fights. 


What have you thought of your position on MAD? Last year, the team many times played around you. How have the new additions to the team changed that?


I think it was mostly because of the ADC change. Because Carzzy was willing to give up a lot — that we could play strong side harder. But UNF0RGIVEN likes to play strong side. And I mean he's playing good when he's ahead, and he likes to be ahead and we respect it because he's ADC. It's not about the correct play, because both sides can be weak side or can be strong side — those are the choices that you can make, and they can be both right.


It's also about the top lane meta right now, because you just buy Hullbreaker and it one versus one right now. Of course you can play still for the top side, but yeah.


While most people have been pleasantly surprised with how well UNF0RGIVEN has done, fans have been very critical of Reeker. What's your opinion of this? Do you think people expect too much of rookies?


Yeah, I think so. I think they expect too much. Last year we had Elyoya, who was surprisingly good for a rookie. I think maybe everyone just expects the same thing from everyone. But these are rare cases. What happens right now is probably what you should expect from a rookie, I believe. Because last year we had Humanoid — and he was seen as the best mid laner in Europe. And now Reeker came as a rookie to replace him. It's kind of normal for people to judge him for how he plays, but they should still consider he's a rookie, right? So I think they're too rough or something like that. 


Source: Riot Games


You've stated you're currently studying a lot of LPL and LCK top laners? What have you thought of the pool that LEC offers?


I think compared to last year, the rosters in the LEC and also the top laners are just better. Especially the rosters. Maybe I feel like that because we are worse — it can be the thing as well. I don't know, maybe we are just too weak. Or maybe everyone's just getting stronger.


Many fans were excited for the return of Alphari, but there’s a common opinion that he’s one of the reasons for Vitality’s lack of success. What have you thought of him since his return to the LEC?


I think he's a really good laner, but I'm not sure if he's the problem for Vitality or not, because it doesn't seem like his fault, to be honest. I think maybe it's just about syncing with each other. Those five men just don't fit together. If you put all the star players in one team, there is a high chance that personalities are gonna crash. Because everyone wants to be the strong side, I would say. To be honest, I'm just assuming, because I have no idea what's happening in Vitality and why they are unsuccessful. It might be the case, but I don't know if the problem is Alphari or not.


What about just from a gameplay perspective? What's been your opinions of how he's played compared to when you guys saw him playing on Team Liquid?


I mean, he was always a strong side player. I think he communicates a lot and he knows his lane, his matchup. He knows what to do, what to say to his teammates, and he's playing strong side for both teams. I think he's strong side in Vitality. I mean, sometimes he picks GP and he's weak side as well. I don't think it changed much for him, to be honest — the playstyle. I mean, maybe he changed, but that's just how I read it.


Source: Riot Games


With MAD Lions, obviously one of the big changes was not only that you guys lost Humanoid and Carzzy, but also that those guys were two big contributors to the team's in-game communications. How has it been with Elyoya taking the lead on that? How have you been feeling about the comms recently?


It's rough. [laughs] Because Elyoya's feeling pretty pressured probably, because he has to say a lot of things about the mid game and early game. We had Humanoid to do it — it was kinda him who was the main shotcaller, then Elyoya was the second. Now Elyoya is the first, and the other ones are trying to talk. So our comms are messy right now. There is chaos sometimes. But it's probably normal, but we just have to get better about it as well. But I still think the team fighting is our main problem.


How has the coaching staff been trying to mend these problems, in comparison to last year? Does the coaching staff seem to be different in how they approach things?


I think they are the same. I think they are working pretty hard and they are really helpful, actually. MAD's coaching staff is actually quite good. I think everyone is improving quite fast. But I think we just didn't realize that our team fight was that bad. To be honest, after today's game, we said we have to work on team fights because we are just losing every team fight.


Most of the top laners I’ve talked to dislike Smite enchanters used in the top lane. You've been someone in the past that's been known for using some more exotic picks in the top lane. Do you still hold the same opinion as the others?


I also don't like supports — because you're just running from lane, kinda. I would be fine to play supports in lane, but with the Smite meta, you're just running away from lane and you're playing different League of Legends. Which I don't like because top lane... this is why I chose top lane: because I can play 1v1. I enjoy that competition. And I mean, it would be fun to run away on the map, but it's just supports' role kinda, you know? It's not top lane's.

You feel good about laning, and this year you've said you've been working on your champion pool. What is your big focus then?


Since the meta changed a lot after Hullbreaker, I need to get a good grasp on the new meta right now. Everyone's just buying Hullbreaker and you can't lane if you don't buy it.

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