By all accounts, it seems that MAD Lions is back. The addition of Yasin "Nisqy" Dinçer has worked beautifully — solving many of their glaring issues they had earlier in the year. They have a refined playstyle, and by many metrics are one of the most impressive teams in the west.
They've been playing well, but according to the team's top laner İrfan Berk "Armut" Tükek, the team isn't letting the success go to their head for a second. All members are doing their best to make sure that a failed playoff run never happens again. Inven Global had the privilege of speaking with Armut about MAD's play.
With how much better MAD Lions has looked, one of the biggest changes has been how much different the team looks stylistically. It seems like now you guys have a really, really strong early game, which wasn’t the biggest focus before. Why do you think that is, was it from adding Nisqy, or is there another factor?
I think adding Nisqy to our roster made every player's motivation go higher. Last season, we couldn't make playoffs, so right now, that motivation and the motivation after Nisqy joined — everyone is extra try-harding right now to win the Split. To play better. Everyone changed for our team — we are all just working harder.
It's interesting, because I remember MAD telling me last year when they won MSI that they took the first few weeks of the Summer Split easy (though you still won in the end). It's good to see you all with such strong motivation. Everyone seems to be motivated, though?
I want to talk about for myself: I do for sure, because we didn't make playoffs last season, and it hurt. So I don't want this to happen to me again, or my team. So I'm working really hard right now at the moment. I'm not taking any chills, right now.
How would you say you guys are overcoming burnout? You think you can maintain this form all throughout playoffs if you've already been grinding for a while now?
Right now, I don't feel I'm going to be burned out anytime soon. Because I think not making playoffs gave me a lot of time to have a vacation and stay away from League of Legends anyway. And I feel just more hungry. And this drives me to work harder.
How would you contend specifically with your guys' playstyle? 2021 MAD was all about the mid-late game, whereas this team excels early.
Right now, we are trying to go from early game to clean the mid game. I don't want to say we are not playing mid game right now, because I think we are snowballing through early game to mid game, and if we have to finish the game we have to play also good mid game. So I do think we are still playing good mid game. I don't think there is good late game, because there is not much going on in late game — it's just teamfighting going on usually. So I do think we are doing macrowise a good job. I don't think our macro is weaker than old MAD Lions. Maybe were are, though [laughs].
What would you identify as the biggest point you need to improve on?
For me. it's to be adaptive on the meta really quick than the other top laers, so I can have a slight advantage, which is gonna be huge in the end. So for me: expanding my champion pool, which I do think I'm doing a good job at right now.
How has the coaching staff adjusted this split?
I think our coaching staff is probably the best coaching staff in Europe. I can proudly say that they're doing insane job, to be honest. No matter what — we lose, we don't make playoffs, or we win — I think they're always doing a great job. So I'm really happy to work with them.
Has their approach been any different, though? What would you say the biggest adjustment was?
It's a good question [laughs]. I don't know. To my eyes, I think they work really hard as well. It's not only the players, they are also motivated. They're also working really hard. They're willing to teach us so many things. What they do is they learn first, to teach us second. So I respect them.
How has MAD's comm situation developed with Nisqy?
Shotcalling starts from Elyoya, and sometimes it's Nisqy or me. If I'm ahead, I'm also doing some shotcalling — I don't think I'm that good at it like Elyoya is, but I'm improving also at it. If I'm ahead, I'm willing to take the shotcalling because it's just easier for me to play the game, and it's easier to see how to win the game. So I'm trying to do my best when I'm ahead.
How would say you've personally had to adjust your playstyle since Nisqy has joined the team?
I like how Nisqy plays. He's willing to drop some CS for me to get ahead. I think he's just a nice friend as well, and he's playing the role good as well. So I'm happy with how he plays, and I'm happy that he's joined this team.
Many are obviously comparing your current form to that of last split, but I wanted to go in a slightly different direction: how would you compare this iteration of MAD to last year? Have you guys reached the same level? Do you think you could be better?
I don't know. To be honest, I really don't know. We are doing a good job right now in the regular season — we are doing really good, to be honest. But I'm not sure. I don't want to compare right now. Maybe after playoffs or maybe, but I don't feel like comparing right now. Because I don't want to be too cocky, and I don't want to be too humble as well.
I write. I rap. I run. That’s pretty much it.