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Armut: “We are expecting to be top three”

Tom Matthiesen

MAD Lions closed out the fifth week of the LEC Spring Split with two victories—the second 2-0 week for the team overall. It’s the latest step in MAD Lion’s search for a new identity after bring on two new players. After the first win of the weekend, we sat down with İrfan Berk “Armut” Tükek, the new addition who has been holding down the top lane for the team.

Armut, MAD Lions' top laner.

Things are looking up for the new MAD Lions roster (Photo via MAD Lions)

Armut told us what it’s been like to play with MAD Lions for approximately half a Split, and what it has been like to fit into the roster. He reflected on his own performance so far, what he has learned, and why he’s not fully happy with how he has been playing. Armut also spoke about working with his jungler, Elyoya, and what his expectations are in the remainder of the Spring Split.

Hotspawn: Hi Armut! Congratulations on the win, but I want to start the interview by talking about your time in MAD Lions so far. You’ve played half a Split with the team now—how has it been?

Armut: I’m feeling strong. I feel that I’m getting stronger every day because my team is teaching me a lot. They teach me about my laning, about my macro game in the mid-game and late-game… I feel like I didn’t know anything until now. [Laughs] But now I’m just trying to learn everything. I can feel I’m improving, which is really great. I’m really grateful to my teammates and my coaching staff. It has been really beneficial for me.

Hotspawn: Obviously, you learn a lot when you initially join the team and scrim with them in the preseason. But did you start learning more once the Split began and you were playing official matches?

Armut: I mean, the official matches aren’t teaching me a lot. I’ve just played ten games on stage, you know? That’s not a lot. But we play scrims every day, five games. I have so much time to learn from those, from every game. Of course, I’m also learning from the stage games, but we play many more scrims games so I just have much more time to learn.

Right now, when I learn something, I am trying to show it to everyone. Or at least show it to myself, and show that I have improved. Every week now, I am tryharding. It’s not like that in the preseason. In the preseason you can have three weeks of tryharding and then one week not, but now we don’t have time to chill. Right now we have nine weeks of the regular season and then we have the Playoffs. So now, we have to tryhard for nine weeks, which is a really long time. But we cannot stop. We have such a large amount of time to learn everything every day.

Hotspawn: Can you go a bit more in-depth about what you’ve learned from playing with MAD Lions so far?

Armut: For the laning phase, I learned about some trading, some level one plays, wave management. When I should push and when I should stop, when I should hit the minion, blah blah blah. There are so many things that I’ve learned this year that are really helping me, to be honest. But in the last game, the Gragas game, I kind of couldn’t use any of it because of the enemy Renekton. I really hate to play against this champion. It annoys me so much, holy shit. [Laughs] You can not do anything against Renekton because his laning is just too strong. Like, I want to use some stuff and beat the enemy top laner, but I just cannot do it because it’s just Renekton.

Hotspawn: The Gragas pick from your team was a bit of a flex pick, since it wasn’t sure for long that it would go top, but—

Armut: I’m not gonna say anything about the draft because it was really weird. [Laughs] We didn’t expect this at all, to be honest. We were not expecting Kayn, we were not expecting Gragas top. My Gragas is just too rusty for me to play at the stage, actually. Maybe I should just keep practicing it. No one picks Renekton at the moment, kind of. I mean, some people are still picking it, but it’s not so common.

Hotspawn: Back to playing the official matches: leaving what you learn from them aside, how is it for you to play them with the team? What is the atmosphere like compared to the scrim matches?

Armut: I feel like I’m playing much better in scrims. I don’t know why. I don’t feel any pressure in the official matches. But when I think about my Gragas game especially: my laning is not good, my gameplay is not good for the champion. In scrims, my ultimates hit four or five enemies, three come to us and two are shot away. Then on-stage, I’m missing every ult. [Laughs] I don’t know what is happening. It annoys me a bit.

Hotspawn: This Gragas game is really stuck in your mind, huh? [Laughs]

Armut: Yeah! [Laughs] Like, I played Gragas two or three times. They were all really bad, actually. So I’m disappointed in my Gragas.

Hotspawn: It’s a good segway into the next topic I wanted to touch on: how do you feel about your overall performance so far?

Armut: In general, if I also count the scrims, I think I’m learning pretty well and I’m also doing a pretty good job. But in official games, I’m not the best. I’m not the best version of myself. There are so many things that I can do better, but I only see them after the game. I don’t know why I do it in-game. Like, if I would know the answer, I could fix it. But I don’t know why it’s happening.

Hotspawn: Well, how teams play in scrims is often more aggressive than how they will play in official matches. Maybe that’s something you need to adjust to?

Armut: Uhm… Well, in every scrim I try to do the most I can, to try to be the best version of myself so I get the best practice. A fifth of the scrim games is like “just try some stuff” for both sides. But in the first four games, I’m trying to play like I would in an official game. I think my Aatrox games were clean. I remember two clean Aatrox games from my side. My Jayce team fighting was really good, but not the laning phase. Normally I should’ve won the matchup, but… it was a bit complicated. [Laughs] So yeah, I either play well in the early game and then badly in the late game, or I play badly in the early game and then well in the late game.

Hotspawn: You joined the team together with Elyoya, your jungler. The synergy between top and jungle is important, but you also both have had to fit into a new team while building that synergy. So, how has that process gone?

Armut: Elyoya is really smart. He’s not what I expected from a rookie. He’s young, he’s not experienced, but he’s good. I’m really surprised, actually. I wasn’t expecting Elyoya to be this good. So I’m really happy that he’s on my team. For me—I’m kind of experienced. [Laughs] For me it’s whatever.

And maybe it’s something about our personalities, maybe it’s something about MAD Lions, maybe both, but we’re all friendly. If one of us makes a mistake, we talk about it. We are not running away from it, but we’re also not fighting about it. We’re just all mature players. If we see a mistake, we talk about it and we try to fix it. There is no problem for us, right now.

Hotspawn: Looking at the results halfway into the Split, is this what you expected for your team at this point?

Armut: I kind of expected more. Our losses versus SK Gaming and Misfits were not losses that we were expecting, to be honest. By now, I was expecting to be 6-4, 7-3, 8-2… ok maybe 8-2 is a bit optimistic, not gonna lie. [Laughs] Obviously, we’re a new team, we’re gonna make mistakes on the stage, of course. So, 6-4 is pretty decent, I would say.

Hotspawn: Heading into the second half of the Split, what are your expectations?

Armut: Well, G2 and Rogue seem really strong. But against other teams, we have a really good chance to win. Even against G2 and Rogue we have a chance to win, but they are pretty good teams right now. So, right now, we are expecting to be top three. We’re also hoping for that, right now.

Hotspawn: Thanks for joining today, Armut. Is there anything you would like to say to the MAD Lions fans to round up?

Armut: Thanks for supporting us! Thanks for all the messages. Even when we lose, I get many messages like “Keep going bro!” to support me. The fans are so supportive all the time. I’m really happy that we have them.

MAD Lions play their next match in the LEC against SK Gaming on Friday, February 26th, at 6 PM CET.