With an impactful debut at the League of Legends World Championship, MAD Lions defeated INTZ in the opening match of the Play-In stage, to be taken down by Team Liquid in the last match of the day. In a post-match interview, MAD Lions' jungler Zhiqiang "Shad0w" Zhao shared thoughts on the trip to Shanghai, the quarantine, Chinese solo queue, and more.
I want to talk about the duality with the Chinese regions. We've previously talked about you potentially joining a team in the LPL, but you opted to stay in the LEC. So I'm curious to know what it is for you to be in China right now. Are any of these thoughts coming back to you?
I feel like I'm playing at home. I'm just more nervous I think, because I know there are a lot more people watching. There's a lot of pressure on us. I'm nervous but excited.
What about heading into China? What was it like for you guys?
The flight, the quarantine... It wasn't the best, but we made it. Could've been better, it just sucks that we had to wait for 14 days before we could actually go out. (Did you do anything fun during quarantine?) We played Among Us, and now nobody trusts each other, because they think he's the impostor. [laughs]
"If we play on stage like we play in scrims, we have a high chance of making it to quarters."
What about Chinese solo queue? Going into it, did you get a reality check, or did you think, "I'm actually up on their level"?
I was like, "Oh my god, these are actually good players, and I can't actually learn from solo queue... Finally!" It was more fun to play solo queue here because you're playing against the best of the best.
What did you learn?
What did I learn? That there are a lot of one-tricks. Katarina, Talon, Fiora, Riven... all kinds of assassins. You just farm your camp, get run on and one-shot, randomly.
Who from MAD Lions suffered the most in solo queue?
I think top lane. Chinese top lane solo queue is... [gestures a thumb down]. They coinflip it. If the jungle is not there, they are good. If the jungle is there, they're 0/10 in 10 minutes. [laughs]. So yeah, I think Orome is struggling a bit, because the enemy top laner is either 10/0 from TP bot lane, or 0/10 because he got ganked.
What was the first thing you guys did when you got out of quarantine?
We went out, we took the bus, ate... and then we slept. It was like 7 a.m. when we went out and, you know, we are esports athletes, so we want to sleep till like 2-3 p.m.
What's been your first impression from Worlds so far, gameplay-wise?
We've been scrimming some of the top teams and we learn a lot from them. There's still a lot to improve but if we play on stage like we play in scrims, we have a high chance of making it to quarters.
How do you rate MAD Lions at Worlds?
On bad days, we lose to NA teams. On good days, we can win against Chinese teams. (Team Liquid played well today, though.) Yeah, they did but I think it was on us and we just didn't play as well as we did in scrims.
One thing we've talked about in previous interviews was that you wanted to prove yourself as a Chinese player in the EU region. Do you think that going into Worlds right now gives you the chance to shine?
Yeah, because the meta right now is focused on carry junglers so you have a lot of chances to prove your worth. It didn't go very well today, but I'm sure I can bring it back and show everyone I'm one of the best junglers in the world.
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