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Armut says he studies Xiaohu, Nuguri, Canna to expand his champion pool

Tom Matthiesen

The first half of the 20222 League of Legends European Championship spring split saw MAD Lions end with a 5-4 score. A positive win rate, but the team is not at all where it wants to be yet. Top laner İrfan “Armut” Tükek isn’t that worried yet, though. He recognizes that his team is still in a developmental state.

Armut, top laner for MAD Lions, studies LCK and LPL pros

Armut is working hard to increase the number of champions he can play professionally. (Image courtesy of Michal Konkol for Riot Games)

After MAD Lions’ game against Team BDS, Armut spoke to us about his team’s development with two rookies on the roster. He also reflected on his experiences in 2021 and what he learned from them. In particular, Armut spoke about his champion pool issues and how he’s working to resolve them in 2022.

Hotspawn: Welcome, Armut! The game against BDS was quite… emblematic, I would say, of MAD Lions’ spring split so far, in that it had a lot of ups and downs. How do you look at that?

Armut: I feel like we are just trying to figure out how we want to play around our roster. I think we are trying to figure out which champions we want to play on what side. We are just at the beginning, I feel. We have a lot to do.

Hotspawn: Last year in the spring split MAD Lions didn’t look particularly fantastic either, but blossomed in the Playoffs and went on to win the title. Did that regular split feel the same as the one now?

Armut: Hm, it is not the same. I think we need experience in the team this year. We have new guys, we are a new team. We are trying to find out which ways we can play League of Legends. Because, in best-of-fives, that’s gonna be important. If you play only for the top side or if you play only for the bot side, it’s kind of easy for the enemy team to adapt to it and make a plan for it.

“I felt that there was a champion pool difference. That’s normal, but it hurt me and it changed so much of the draft.”

Hotspawn: You were one of the new guys in the team last year, together with Elyoya. This year, MAD Lions has added Reeker and UNF0RGIVEN. How has it been for you to work with them and help integrate them into the team?

Armut: I would say we are weaker than the last season. Humanoid and Carzzy were really talented players and they had a huge amount of experience. So, of course, no one can expect the same thing from the rookies. No one should do that. But I think these guys have really good potential. I believe they are gonna be good players in the future.

Hotspawn: Something that plagued MAD Lions during the summer split last year was burnout, and you all took it easier during the regular split. How are you feeling now?

Armut: I feel much better. Solo queue is just more fun, to be honest. There are a lot of players. Last year, when I tried to find a game, it was a twenty minutes queue! I just don’t want to play then, because it’s a waste of time. The game is fifty minutes, the queue is twenty minutes… it was painful. Now, when I look for a game, I get it in just two minutes. That is fun. Everyone is playing solo queue, everyone is grinding. Probably because of the new season hype. It’s just so fun to play League of Legends right now.

Hotspawn: Another thing I want to touch on, is that you received a lot of criticism for your champion pool. Wukong, Jayce, and Gnar made up a big portion of your played champions. Reflecting on 2021, do you personally think your champion pool was an issue?

Armut: [Laughs] Yeah, I had some problems with the champion pool. But everyone was talking about Gnar and Wukong because I kind of popped off with those champions in teamfights, right? I can agree that, with those champions, I’m absolutely a different player in teamfights. I just play really well, I don’t know. The thing is: I didn’t even practice them that much. I just had a good feeling about them.

But at Worlds, when I faced against Khan, Xiaohu, Nuguri… I felt that there was a champion pool difference. That’s normal, but it hurt me and it changed so much of the draft. Being able to play Syndra top into Kennen was a big plus for [RNG], or playing Lucian into Jayce. These are really effective styles.

Hotspawn: Well, you did also play Irelia, but—

Armut: [Laughs] I don’t count that as a play, but I tried!

“I also do 1v1s with Broken Blade to see how that matchup goes. There is a lot of work behind it.”

Hotspawn: [Laughs] Fair enough. But, knowing it was an issue last year, are you working on expanding your champion pool?

Armut: Yeah, of course! I think expanding your champion pool is really important. Being able to last-pick, being able to blind-pick champions is so good, it feels so much better if you have many options. For example, I’m trying to add Graves to my champion pool, which I played two times this week. I’m working on it right now.

Hotspawn: How do you go about adding another champion to your pool? What studies do you perform?

Armut: Learning means that I’m going beyond learning. I want to learn everything about the capacity of the champion. I want to be able to know the champion at least 95%. This is what I call learning. I don’t want to do it by just playing the champion in solo queue five times.

Hotspawn: Do you study other players’ matches too?

Armut: Of course. When I try to learn the champion, I always watch the top laners I like who play the champion as well. I used to watch Khan. Not just for Graves, but for everything. I really like his gamestyle. I think he is insane. I also watch Xiaohu sometimes, but he went to the mid lane. Unlucky. [Laughs] There is Nuguri as well. For Graves specifically, I watch Canna. I think he’s pretty good on Graves.

I also do 1v1s with Broken Blade, to see how that matchup goes. For example, let’s say Graves versus Jayce. There is a lot of work behind it.

Hotspawn: Well, I’m looking forward to seeing you play more champions this year. Maybe we’ll even see you play an Akshan at some point!

Armut: Nah, that champ is worthless! [Laughs] That champ is so worthless. I played it a lot in solo queue and it feels so good because I play with Ignite. But in competitive play, it’s a really bad champion.

MAD Lions plays its next LEC match on Friday, February 11th, at 10 PM CET against G2 Esports. You can watch the game live on the official LoL Esports site.