MAD Lions want redemption. After a disappointing performance in the 2022 LEC Summer Playoffs, Javier "Elyoya" Prades and co. found themselves in an odd position: on their way to Worlds, but without winning a single best-of-five to get there. Without a satisfying playoff run, MAD saw Worlds as an opportunity for redemption. Inven Global had the opportunity to speak with Elyoya, to discuss his thoughts on MAD's mentality going into the event, the most impressive minor region players, and North America.
Thanks so much for talking, Elyoya! Obviously, the end of the LEC season was a bit rough for your team — what was the mentality of the team coming into the event?
For us, this Worlds is an opportunity to redeem from the playoffs we had — it was the best chance we could have to prove that we are not as bad as we showed in playoffs. So yeah, I think that was the mentality coming into this Worlds.
Now that you've had time to reflect on it, what would you say went wrong during playoffs?
We didn't adapt too well to the meta — overall, our meta read was not good. Also, I felt we had many basic mistakes, and we were just not a good team at this point. I would say that the other teams evolved faster than us — they just caught up to us, and they were better.
With that in mind, what was the primary focus your coaching staff highlighted to improve for this event?
It's mostly we worked on tempo in the early game — that was one of our mistakes coming into Worlds. In the mid game and late game we are still sloppy, but we haven't worked that much on it. So you can still see that our mid games are pretty sloppy, and we obviously need to work on them.
How do you reflect on how your team has been performing?
I feel like I didn't play well still, to be honest, so I'm not too happy with my performances. I'm capable of playing way better, and I'm just a bit disappointed with the way I'm playing. So yeah, not the happiest. I feel like I can play much better than what I'm showing.
Have any of the minor region players stood out to you so far during the Play-In stage?
Yeah, I think the LOUD team standout really well. I think the bot lane...I mean, pretty much the whole team played really well and surprised me. So I would say that if I had to spot someone, it would be them for sure.
Stepping away from the competition, I was curious about your personal experience at Worlds so far. What have been your thoughts of Mexico City and the fans there?
I quite liked it. I mean, I quite like the city and just the buildings — pretty much everything. I think it's a really colorful city. Also, the people that I have seen are really, really nice to me. So for now, I'm really enjoying Mexico. Also, the food is really good.
How would you compare your experience here compared to previous international events?
I would say I'm enjoying these Worlds more than last year — even though I felt last year we had a better chance of winning Worlds, actually. But this time I'm enjoying it more with it being in Mexico, and overall enjoying the experience a lot more.
What are your thoughts on this iteration of MAD playing at Worlds — having players such as Yasin "Nisqy" Dinçer? If you guys are able to click in the same way we saw throughout some portions of the summer, how would this roster compare with previous versions of MAD against international opponents?
Once we click together — if we are having a good day — we can for sure fight with any of the Asian teams. I think we just have to play better through mid. This game [Royal Never Give Up] I didn't play as good, and they really punished us. The game could have been more than winnable if we just didn't make really, really silly mistakes that are not even that hard to fix for you. I'm really confident coming into next week.
In general, most of the results of the LEC Summer Playoffs came as a shock to many — especially regarding your team, as well as Rogue winning. What are your thoughts of how the other European teams will perform during the event?
Rogue has the biggest chance of making it out of groups — I'd say the other teams have it way harder. So, we'll have to for sure step it up (everyone in Europe) if we're gonna make it out of groups. And it will be hard, but exciting at the same time.
For many reasons, it's important for Europe to perform better than North America. Looking at the teams of both regions, how confident are you that Europe will indeed perform better?
I'm pretty confident in beating NA. I don't think they are as strong at all. I don't think they look strong. So I'm pretty confident in beating them.
Has EG or any of the other NA teams impressed you at all?
Not really, for the moment. I haven't been really impressed by them.
Fair enough. Thanks again for talking, Elyoya! Do you have anything you would like to say to MAD Lions fans?
Thank you for everyone that's a fan of MAD Lions, as well as the crowd today. It was actually amazing playing with a crowd and having such support. So for me, it was a really good experience. Even though we lost today, I am happy at the fact that we had so many people cheering for us and for me. I'm really happy, and I would have loved to win in front of you guys. But yeah, it didn't happen — I'm sorry. We will show a better form coming into next week. Some thank you so much for all the support.
I write. I rap. I run. That’s pretty much it.