Despite losing to G2 Esports in the post-season after securing 2nd place in the 2020 League of Legends European Championship Summer Split, MAD Lions secured the 4th European seed for the 2020 World Championship by defeating FC Schalke 04 in the losers' bracket of the Summer Playoffs. Unfortunately for MAD, the Worlds 2020 play-in has not been kind — the team won its first game against INTZ, but has lost its last two against Team Liquid and Papara SuperMassive.
After the second day of the play-in, MAD Lions support Norman "Kaiser" Kaiser spoke to Inven Global's Parkes Ousley to reflect on his first LEC season and give his thoughts on MAD's chances of qualifying for the main event in Worlds 2020.
Hey there, everybody; Parkes Ousley here with Inven Global. I'm joined by Kaiser who is all the way over in Shanghai right now playing in the Worlds play-in stage. I know it's been a bit of a rough start for you guys; how is the team doing? Are you still confident and feeling relaxed about being sure that you will make it through?
Of course, it's a bit rough losing two games in a row, especially in such a manner where we int the game away when we are really far ahead. I think the mistakes are pretty easily fixable, though. I'm not too worried.
I think we're stronger in a best-of-five series than bo1. Factors like drafts or not feeling well on the day are lessened a bit by the bo5 format because you can change your mentality and playstyle. I'm less worried about us in a bo5, so I think we still have a good chance of making it through.
What was the biggest change the team had to make heading into Worlds 2020 when compared to playing in the LEC?
I mean, to be honest, we really didn't try to make that many changes, especially in scrims. We just analyzed what other regions played and then tried to adapt by integrating what could be complementary to our playstyle.
We didn't want to change too much because the Worlds 2020 meta wasn't really defined previously, so we just tried to be ourselves stylistically. If we see anything strong from another team — like Twitch/Rakan bot duo for example *laughs* — we will pick it up. That's been our philosophy.
This was your first season in the LEC. Did you expect to be where you are now one year ago when looking ahead?
To be honest, I didn't expect that much. My goal in my first split was just reaching the LEC Spring Playoffs, and even then, I wasn't sure about that. Reaching Worlds in our first year is amazing, but we shouldn't be satisfied with that. We're really sad we're losing in play-ins right now; we didn't expect it.
We thought we would be strong enough to be 1st in Group A, but still, of course it's good to be at Worlds as a mostly rookie team. No one expected anything from us in spring, but their expectations have changed and ours have, too. Now, we expect to make it to the Group Stage of the Main Event at Worlds.
As a young player on a young LEC team, do you think European teams should be looking to EU Masters for more scouting opportunities?
It really depends. Some players in academy leagues are really strong, and if molded by a good coach, they could become really strong players.
We saw a lot of rookies this season rise up around the world and smash the old veterans, but I wouldn't say you need to bank on rookies who aren't ready or have a rookie in every single team. You have to look at each player individually and see if they could be ready for the LEC. The LEC is pretty competitive, so just putting an EU Masters player wouldn't make a team better by default. You have to be careful, but in general, I do think banking on rookies is a good strategy.
If you make it to the Main Event at Worlds 2020, you'd be headed into Group D because every other group already has a LEC team. You'd be playing against some pretty talented bot lane duos in Group D, so who are you most looking forward to playing against both in the Group Stage and beyond should you make it further?
I think I'm most excited for the DRX matchup. DRX's bot lane is very good; I think Ryu "Keria" Min-seok is one of the best mechanical supports in the world. He's also really young, so I'm looking forward to playing against him and seeing how he develops.
I think Keria's a really good player, and while Keria and DRX AD carry Kim "Deft" Hyuk-kyu in their last match in the 2020 League of Legends Champions Korea Summer Playoffs, I think they might have fixed their problems. I'm not sure, but I think they'll be really strong in Group D for sure.
Aside from DRX, I'm looking forward to playing against JD Gaming's support Zuo "LvMao" Ming-Hao. I think LvMao is a really strong player; I watched his post-season matches and his Bard is just insane. I can't even imagine the plays he pulls off on Bard. I think that there are really strong players in this tournament, but I'm looking forward to playing against Keria and LvMao the most.
You've lost to both Papara SuperMassive and Team Liquid, who play each other in their next matchup. Who would you predict to win?
To be honest, I was really surprised by how strong SuperMassive was coming into our match. I think we kind of gave our game against Team Liquid away, to be honest. I think if I don't play over-aggressively and feed TL's Twitch early on, our match looks a little different.
I think SuperMassive played way more cleanly against us than TL. To be honest, I would say that they really stomped us. I give the edge to SuperMassive. They are a more solid team overall, but I'm not sure who will win in the head-to-head because both teams are pretty good. However, if I had to decide, I would say SUP will win.
Appreciate you sharing! Last question for you is about your name-swap from Gistick to Kaiser before making your LEC debut. In the United States, Kaiser is the name of a medical company, which made sense to me since you are a support.
In Germany, it's a term similar to emperor, but upon looking it up, I also got another US definition I want to share with you: "A round, soft bread roll with a crisp crust made by folding the corners of a square of dough into its center; resulting in a pinwheel shape when baked." Is this what you were going for in changing your name?
*Laughs* No, it's just my last name. I always thought it would fit because I like my last name. My previous moniker, Gistick, was random. I didn't think of anything when I created it, so I wanted a cooler and more personal name. I think Kaiser is a pretty cool name — like you said, it means emperor, and it's also my last name.
You're assuming your last name comes from the emperor side of the definition and not the bread roll side.
*Laughs* Right, yeah.
You should use the Baker Pantheon skin next time you play Pantheon so you can be both.
*Laughs* Very true!
Best of luck going forward. You've got a couple of games left in Group A of the play—in, and probably a few more after that.
Yeah, hopefully. *Laughs* Thank you.
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