It’s no secret that MAD Lions had a rough go of things in 2022. We asked Armut about his time with the team for that year, the “huge downgrade” to their roster, and where he feels like he fell short in an interview with Dexerto.
MAD shook the long-standing LEC tradition of G2 and Fnatic fighting for the top spot by sweeping both splits in 2021 and cementing themselves as the best team in Europe for the year.
Though they weren’t quite able to replicate that success on the international stage, it’s undeniable that the 2021 squad was a roster capable of great things. Then two of their core members departed, leaving the team in a much worse state.
With much of MAD splitting up following their less-than-stellar 2022 showing, Dexerto asked İrfan ‘Armut’ Tükek about what happened during his last year on the team. While he’s committed to proving himself as a player this year on DIG, he came clean about how the “huge downgrade” with the roster going into 2022 negatively impacted his performance.
Armut thinks 2022 MAD roster was a “huge downgrade”
MAD’s identity in 2021 made them out to be an extremely aggressive team. Every player on the team was willing to take risks to get ahead, and, even if they got behind, 2021 MAD wasn’t afraid to force a fight and try to get back into the game.
It was a team known largely for its incredible cooperative play, more than strong macro and individual mechanics. Additionally, with two of their core players off the team in 2022, the team dynamic changed substantially.
The mix of MAD failing to win a single Best of 3 within the LEC in 2022 combined with getting 3-0’ed by Evil Geniuses at Worlds made it hard for fans of the lions to hold onto their faith going into 2023. It’s no surprise much of the team split up.
“I think we had a huge downgrade with the roster, and it also affected the rest of the players. Like, me, Elyoya, and Kaiser, I think we were really affected by the downgrade gameplay-wise.”
In comparison to Humanoid and Carzzy, it would have been hard to find replacements that could match their level of play – especially after being replaced by players that were coming in as LEC rookies. But Armut admitted that this change had a huge negative impact on his work ethic and motivation to play.
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“It affected me really bad, and I didn’t work too much. Like, I could do so much better and I didn’t. I failed the Spring season in my opinion. It’s not like I am fully to blame, but there’s a huge part of me that— I should also take some of the blame.”
While he did think that playing with Nisqy in Summer drastically improved things for MAD, he had a hard time putting everything he was capable of on the table in 2022. He’s looking to change that by coming to the LCS.
Armut wants to shed the “Gnarmut” label in 2023
We asked Armut about the now-infamous Gnarmut meme. Fans and analysts have leaned into the storyline of him only being good at Gnar, and the champion has defined his career so far. He didn’t mind it at first, but Armut is looking to move past the meme this year.
“At the beginning, it was fun and I was enjoying it. Sometimes I still enjoy it, but it kind of hurts my background as a player. I will try to prove myself this year that I am not Gnarmut.”
He also provided some background on what brought him to the LCS, and the connections that brought him to the team in one of the off-season’s most unexpected roster moves.
“Enatron knows me from 2019 and he’s the head coach of Dignitas, and he believed I am the right player for the top lane they are looking for. Which I will prove them right, hopefully. For me, I just want to prove myself— I’m a good player. Some people may think that I came to the LCS for a better life or more money or something, but I will show them it’s not like that.”
The 0-2 start for Dignitas wasn’t the best start for Armut’s redemption tour through the LCS, but, when asked about how issues with him getting to NA and IgNar still not being there, he called these issues “unavoidable” when it comes to getting the team together. He didn’t seem too discouraged by DIG’s slow start to the season.
After admitting to not trying his hardest at some points in 2022, Armut made a vow for 2023: “I devote my life this year fully to League of Legends.”