Against seemingly insurmountable odds, MAD Lions advanced to the knockout stage of the 2021 League of Legends World Championship. The No.1 representative of the League of Legends European Championship entered the Group D second round with a 1-2 record, but after losing his first game of the day to Gen. G, won his matches against Team Liquid and LNG Esports for strength in what would become the first four-way tiebreaker in World Cup group stage history.
MAD Lions won their tie-break with LNG Esports to advance to the knockout stage, but a second loss of the day against Gen. G in the final Group D tie-break saw MAD Lions claim a victory. be satisfied with the second seed. In the first round of the knockout phase, MAD Lions will face DWG KIA, the 1st seed in Group A and the only team to remain undefeated at the 2021 Worlds.
Following the conclusion of the 2021 Worlds group stage, MAD Lions mid laner Marek “Humanoid” Brázda spoke to Inven Global about the insane conclusion of Group D, which MAD improved ahead of their second round robin, and why he wants to face T1 mid laner Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok in the knockout stage.
What an absolutely crazy end for this group for MAD Lions. How do you feel after such a long, exhausting but rewarding day?
Yeah, playing five games all day was really exhausting for sure. However, it was pretty fun since we win most of them, and we moved on, so I would say it was a fun day.
Viktor’s viability in the current meta has come under intense scrutiny, but after a tough start to the game against Gen. G in this tiebreaker, you ended up being the main force to keep your team in. the game for as long as you have done it. Can you tell us about this Viktor choice and the champion’s place in the 2021 Worlds meta?
Yes. I think Viktor is pretty good in Syndra and Yone too because Viktor has a lot of damage and Yone generally looks for sustained fights. Viktor is really good against that, and he also has a pretty good game against Syndra after level 5. He outshines her pretty hard, which is why I thought he was a pretty good choice here.
In your first game of the day, it was immediately clear that despite a possible loss, MAD had resolved many of the issues shown in the first round of Group D. What did your team try to work on during the match? break between your round robin tournaments and how well do you think you solved these issues based on your performance today?
The first week I think we just played really badly. We didn’t even play the same way we played in LEC, so after those three games we had a great discussion.
After that, we were able to fix almost everything we did wrong before, and now we’re basically on the same level as we were when playing in the LEC. It also showed today as we win most of the games, but it was a bit difficult against Gen.G. However, I think we have shown that we are better than the other teams we have played against today.
Did you expect Group D to end in a tie at four? If so, was that something in your head today?
After losing the first game today, we talked about the possibility for the group to have a four-way tiebreaker. We thought it would be pretty funny, but we weren’t really expecting it … and then it happened. Because of this, we had to play two more games instead of just one, but at least we had the chance to try to qualify for the first seed of the group. It was the good part, but there was also a bad part. Overall, I think the four-way tie-breakers are fun.
Did the elimination of Rogue and Fnatic last week put pressure on MAD Lions to be the top European prospect?
I think we felt a lot of pressure after our first three games because everyone knew we played pretty badly. That’s not what we wanted to show, and we figured that even if we dropped out of the band, as long as we played well, that would be good.
If we kept playing badly and got knocked out, obviously everyone would have been pretty disappointed, so there was a lot of pressure on everyone after the first two days. However, that pressure was lifted when we advanced to the round of 16 today.
Often times MAD will start winning matches by winning a crucial team fight despite usually leaving the early stages of the game with a gold deficit. Your team’s penchant for team-fights that make the game run despite a golden disadvantage due to your individual team-fighting prowess and that of your teammates, unprecedented determination or synergy innate?
Of course we’re pretty good in teamfighting, I think that’s our best skill. The other part, however, is that we often outperform the enemy, so if you outdo you can win even if you are lagging behind in gold. This is where most of our feedback comes from.
You have been praised for your performance in the 2021 LEC season and the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational. How well would you say you are playing now in the context of your overall career?
I think I played very badly in our first three games at the 2021 World Cup … it was not good. Today I think I played pretty well other than the first game where I kind of intended. Still, the rest of the day, I think I did well. Compared to my best game, I’m around 80% right now. I think I was at my best during the LEC Summer Playoffs a few months ago, and now I’m not that good, but I’m going back.
How do Team Liquid and LNG Esports stack up against your expectations as opponents?
I mean, I think they’re two really good teams. However, I think LNG, especially today, has sort of stifled itself. They weren’t playing like they did the first week. We had very close games with Team Liquid and we finished 1-1 in the squad so they are also very good and could have beaten us 2-0 today too. They didn’t, but our two games were pretty close.
I would say both teams are pretty above average. They are good teams, but LNG didn’t play the way they should today.
The LPL representatives went 0-8 against the LCS and LEC teams in week two of the group stage. Is it just a coincidence?
I mean, I don’t know why, but in most of the worlds the European teams just play poorly in week one and then go back on week two. We got to see it here, too – while Rogue and Fnatic weren’t doing well, I think they played a lot better in their second round robin than in their first. I have no idea why it’s like this; maybe if you lose the first week you will have more motivation not to give up on the group. Who knows?
Your next matchup is against DWG KIA, whom you led to five games at MSI 2021 before narrowly losing 3-2. What do you think of your next quarterfinal game?
I think DWG KIA looks really strong in this tournament. They look a lot better than at MSI and have won all of their games so far, but I think we had a pretty decent game against them last time around. We could have won this series, and I think we’re as better now than we were at MSI. It could go either way, but it will be our toughest opponent in the tournament for sure.
If you end up beating DK, then you’ll face off against T1 or Hanwha Life Esports. A preference on the mid laner of the team you would like to face?
I kind of want to play both because T1 has Faker, who is the most famous player in League, but HLE has Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon, who is the most publicized mid laner of this tournament. . It would be fun to play both. If I had to choose, I would probably want to play against Faker. Years ago I watched all the games Faker played. It was Faker who I learned the game with, so I prefer to play with him.
On the other side of the medium are Royal Never Give Up, EDward Gaming, Cloud9 and Gen.G. Who would you most like to play in the final if MAD reached the end of the bracket?
I think I would expect EDG. I think they’re the best team on this side of the medium, but that could be RNG too. I am not sure about Gen.G; they could do that too, but I would choose EDG as my favorite for sure.
Thank you for your time, Humanoid, and congratulations for escaping the 2021 Worlds group stage. Do you have something to say to the European fans?
[laughs] I’m glad we can at least get by. It would have been a bit of a shame if no EU team had managed to break out of the groups, so I guess we’re here to be the EU’s last hope. Hope if we manage to beat DWG KIA I think we have a good chance of winning the whole tournament so support us in the next best of five and it should be free.