After their victory over EXCEL, MAD Lions’ coach Mac sat down with Gamezo for an interview. During the interview, we wanted to know his thoughts on MAD Lions’ performance, as well as his opinions about the split. We talked about G2’s state, the rise of Draven priority, and if we could potentially see back-to-back champions.
In bold font are our questions, and in standard font are Mac’s answers.
Welcome Mac, and congratulations on your win over EXCEL! How’s the team feeling after evening out the score in your head-to-head with EXCEL for this split?
I don’t really mind particularly. It’s just really good to get a win. I think we’ve been having a lot of 1-1 weeks, and we’re definitely still ramping up. This weekend is a weekend where, in an ideal world, we win both of our matches, and obviously be in a much more comfortable spot in the standings.
I’m not particularly happy about certain parts of how we played. It was a bit chaotic towards the end obviously. We definitely threw the game a bit, and I think EXCEL certainly gave us the game back at one point as well. But a win’s a win at the end of the day.
I actually wanted to ask something about the game, and it’s specifically about Draven. Draven is starting to get some priority this split, and your team faced off against him today. There were some moments in the game that showed why Draven is actually starting to get picked up again. I wanted to know your thoughts on the champion.
I love Draven. I’m a big Draven lover, I’ve always loved Draven. I actually think Patrik (Excel’s ADC) is a really superb Draven player, maybe even controversially, perhaps better than Hans Sama (Rogue’s ADC) individually on the champion. Although obviously, I think Hans Sama is a really good ADC in general, Patrik on Draven individually is super good.
He’s actually the ADC where if I teach Draven, I’d use Patrik VODs to teach Draven to ADC players. That aside, obviously people use it as a counter-pick to Kalista right, which is the main purpose of it in this game. But it has a bunch of fine match-ups in the meta right now, like Draven players usually like it into Kalista, Ezreal, Tristana, Kai’Sa, these are very common ADC’s right now.
But I do think it’s a bit difficult in terms of team fights. Like even against Kalista, even against the composition, he played against today, if you look at the last team fight, he can’t auto-attack, or do anything. Because there’s so much engage in the meta right. There’s stuff like Nocturne. Today we had TF, Kalista, Gnar, Diana and Leona. We have 5 champions that can basically either jump on your face or throw someone on your face. I’m not convinced that he’s necessarily going to be a mainstay in the meta, but obviously, if you see a composition where you can safely hit, and you get a good lane match-up, then that’s normally a good time to pick him.
Now that we’re in the second half of the split, what are your thoughts on MAD Lions’ performance so far?
We’ve definitely been ramping up slowly. We have a lot of bad habits that we’ve picked up in the first half of the split that we still need to iron out. I think some of the mistakes today showcased that a bit. But EXCEL made it a little bit easier for us on the map. I think a better team might have punished us aggressively in some of the mistakes that we made. But, considering also all of the inconveniences we had to deal with over the past couple of months, I think we’re in a pretty decent spot.
It’s no secret that we have a confirmed COVID case, and everyone had to go into quarantine. I was in quarantine for multiple weeks, we had MSI which also involved quarantine before that, and loss of playing time. We’re taking time to get into our stride and take things slowly. We intended for the first part of the split to be a lot about team building, activities in mental wellness, recharging a little bit, and having some fun, which hasn’t been possible because we’ve all been stuck in quarantine. That’s for sure taken quite a heavy toll on us I would say, but right now, everyone’s out of quarantine, we’re finally getting back on track, we’re getting back into our good routine.
And it’s much easier for me as a coach to have the type of involvement I want with the players, and the relationship I want with the players. Also just the general insight of how they are, how they’re feeling, how their health is, what’s bothering them, all these types of things that are necessary for a good coaching relationship, it’s much easier to have all of those things in person, than working remotely obviously. My anticipation is that things will go upwards from here.
I’m happy to see that your relationship with the players is very close and that you’re very hopeful for your players. Next, because you brought up form, I actually wanted to ask something about another team. G2’s form is looking real shaky right now, but a lot of fans are still holding onto hope for the formerkings. As a coach, and as a competitor yourself, do you think that G2 could potentially make the comeback?
Yeah for sure, no doubt about that one. As weird as it sounds to say I have a lot of faith in them, I have a lot of faith in them. This is now my 4th year in the LEC, and basically, every single year, there’s always been people saying “Oh G2 looks terrible, or FNATIC looks terrible” invariably at some point right. Maybe they’re gonna miss out on playoffs, maybe they’re not gonna be good by summer, blah blah blah. They usually are, because they have good players and good coaches. I think Grabbz is a really good coach, and I think Nelson is a really good addition to G2 as well.
I mean, it’s not like G2 has always been this insane team in the regular season. Normally they have a long ramp-up time as well. I think last summer as well when they ended up winning the split, they were below both us and Rogue in the regular season. They barely made playoffs I think actually last summer split, and they went on to win the split. I don’t think you should count them out.
Well, it’s good to see that even a competitor, you’re still holding out hope for G2. Going back to MAD Lions, last split you earned the trophy to become the Spring Split champions. While you might not be at the top of the standings right now, such was the case during spring. Do you think we’ll see a back-to-back champion in MAD Lions this year?
I think it’s really to set your expectations at that level for us as a team, cause we won the last split right. I think there a lot of complex, very varied factors, a lot of unseens and intangibles that go into being the best team at a certain point, and peaking at a certain point, at a certain time. Some of those factors are not necessarily, directly inside your control, and so having expectations like that can be very dangerous, because it can be incredibly frustrating.
My approach with the team will always be to try and dissuade us from thinking in terms of wins and losses, rather than in terms of improvement, culture, learning, and goal-setting. All of the things that work. So I try not to have too high expectations, I try to have a level head. Obviously, there is a natural increase in expectations after you win a championship. But I don’t think anyone right now has any kind of delusion, or grandeur that we’re invulnerable, and we’re the best team in the world or anything like that.
On the same note, I don’t think that being 4th place, or 5th or 6th is a particularly good indicator of our actual strengths come playoffs. Because I think we’re a very good playoffs team, we’re a very good team on-stage. I think we’ve shown that very consistently now. So would I bet on us to win a championship? I’m not allowed to bet, but I mean, no because I would like to focus on other things simply put.
Now that you’ve brought up how MAD Lions are a pretty good playoffs team, especially on stage, my final question to close out the interview. Is there anything you’d like to say to the MAD Lions fans who are eagerly waiting for you to come back to the stage and hopefully win a consecutive, back-to-back LEC trophy?
I’d like to thank them very much for their support as always, and especially for their patience. My hope is always that we’re a fun team to watch and an entertaining team. And sometimes that means we’ll have a silly game, where we throw games, or we go too far, which we did this game when we tried to dive them under inhibitor. Days like that will happen, we’ll have bad days, and that’s the nature of having a team that plays in the way I hope people like.
Because part of what makes us who we are, what makes us a good and fun team is the fact that we play the way we do, and that we are so aggressive, reckless, whatever word you wanna use. So thank you to the fans, especially the ones that stick with us through the ups and downs, and who support our players, sending them love and appreciation, and comfort even when we have bad days. I hope that our games are fun for everyone.