Nisqy on his move to MAD Lions: “I knew I was too good to be on the bench”

MAD midlaner Yasin 'Nisqy' DinçerLEC/Riot Games

After a surprising Spring split absence, Yasin ‘Nisqy’ Dinçer is back in the driver’s seat in the LEC. And after MAD Lions’ rocky start to 2022, he’s hoping he can help the team turn things around in time for the Summer playoffs. 

Spring 2022 was a strange period in Western League of Legends. The offseason saw some talented, experienced players left out in the cold, while others had to move down to the ERLs in order to secure a starting spot.

Martin ‘Rekkles’ Larssen joined LFL side KCorp. Daniele ‘Jiizuke’ Di Maurio took a break for a split, focusing on practicing in his own time to prepare for the Summer split call-up that ended up coming in the form of a starting spot on the Giants Gaming’s LVP roster.

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And for former Fnatic mid laner Nisqy, a surprising absence from the LEC meant time to focus on streaming. After returning from the 2021 World Championship with Fnatic, the offseason came and went with no sign of a contract renewal for the mid laner – much to his surprise.

“After Worlds, I still thought I’d be on Fnatic,” he told Dexerto, “but after a few weeks I kind of figured out that they didn’t want me, even though that was already kind of late in the offseason.”

He’d been in discussions with “a few teams” during that time — one of which was Cloud9, his former home for two years back in 2018. When that deal ended up falling through, he knew things were looking pretty dire.

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“I didn’t really want to join a bottom-tier team in the LEC, because I felt that going from Worlds to a bottom-tier team would honestly be pretty problematic. So I was like, ‘Okay, I guess I’ll just sit on the bench’,  even though I knew I was too good to be on the bench. These things just happen.”

Streaming in spring and the summer comeback

And so, with no prospects of an LEC spot for the Spring split, Nisqy turned to streaming.

“I felt like I had to give my all to something while I wasn’t playing, and for me that ended up being streaming,” he explained. “Because if I didn’t end up finding a team for summer, or couldn’t join a team that had ambitions to win, then I would probably still be streaming. So I thought, ‘Why not make my stream as big as possible and then maybe in a year who knows [what happens]? I might just enjoy streaming and be done with playing altogether.’”

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And his stream and YouTube channel saw incredible success, something he attributes in part to the people around him and his connections in the scene. “I think I’m pretty lucky,” he said, “I know a lot of people in the scene, and I have a lot of friends that kind of push me to stream.”

“I guess because I speak French, that also makes it easier,” he said, laughing. He’s mostly joking, but the French fandom around League of Legends is no joke, with the LFL consistently being one of the most-viewed ERLs in Europe, even outdoing the LCS for viewership at certain moments in Spring.

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The term ‘personal branding’ is a nebulous one in esports, but it’s something that Nisqy thinks a lot more players should be focusing on — especially as spots on teams are becoming less and less guaranteed.

“I think for sure players aren’t building their brands enough. If you asked someone to name five LEC players that stream regularly, I don’t think they’d even be able to come up with five. There’s Jankos, who does it regularly, and then me and Elyoya, who do it decently often.”

“It’s good to focus on play, and it’s good to focus on your career, but I think you need to think one step ahead,” he added. “If you want to make a living from playing and streaming you need to have a brand rather than just being X player for X team — it also helps you in contract negotiations to have a brand. If you’re bringing in 5/10K viewers every two or three days then that’s for sure something that teams can appreciate.”

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Returning with MAD Lions

MAD Lions 2022 Summer rosterMAD Lions
Nisqy will return with MAD Lions in the Summer split after the team failed to make it to playoffs in Spring.

But for now, the streaming will need to take a little more of a back seat, as Nisqy prepares to re-enter the LEC on June 17. Despite some initial growing pains getting back into the pro environment, he feels ready to compete and to help MAD turn around what’s been an undeniably disappointing year so far.

He says he doesn’t feel any pressure coming into a team midway through the year. He’s done it once before, with Team EnvyUs in North America, and he says there’s definitely a clear difference in dynamic between joining a team in Spring and in Summer.

“It’s like, ‘Should I adapt to their playstyle and their calls, or should I come in and try to make something new within two or three weeks?’ And joining this way in Summer, it’s always going to be hard to turn a team around unless they already had a really good identity in spring. And I think, with MAD, the team was only really made up of individuals, and their teamplay in Spring was really poor.”

He sees his role as “connecting the team” and helping them through some of their rougher mid-games. But ultimately, he knows that MAD’s success or failure is not entirely down to him, even if he is the only new face on the roster. Being back in the studio, in front of fans, will be a big help for the team, but it doesn’t guarantee better performance.

“I think playing in front of a crowd is going to be good for everyone,” he said. “I think it might actually be Unforgiven’s first time playing in front of a crowd, so hopefully he doesn’t panic or stress a lot, but we’ll all be there to help him.”

Even after missing a split, Nisqy remains confident he can go toe-to-toe with the LEC’s mid pool. “Right now I think I’m top five for sure, and after some weeks I think I’ll be top three — but since it’s my comeback split, it’s important to see how people play on stage rather than in scrims because they’re two completely different things.”

What’s going on in the European ecosystem?

It’s great to see Nisqy back in the LEC — but his absence in Spring belies a worrying trend of fast talent cycles in Europe that is beginning to see strong players pushed out before their prime.

“I do find it kind of weird. When a good player doesn’t find a team, it’s usually not because the player doesn’t want to play. Usually, it’s other stuff that’s going on, like either contract or buyout negotiations. I also think some of the teams in the LEC are not really there to win, and I think that makes it harder because there are just fewer teams that a player can pick from. I think that’s a real issue in Europe.”

It’s this talent cycle that’s seen so many LEC players drop down a tier to compete in the ERLs. And although Nisqy respects the desire to keep playing, it’s not something he’d choose to do. even if it meant a slightly earlier end to his career.

“I feel like if I’m going back to an ERL that means I’m kind of done with my career,” he explains, “and I feel like when I’m done with my career I don’t want to be playing in a league below, because I really think that would demolish my motivation and my confidence.”

It’s worked for some players — Martin ‘Rekkles’ Larssen and Lucas ‘Cabochard’ Simon-Meslet have both found successful homes on Karmine Corp in the LFL, where they pull in viewership numbers equivalent to major leagues like the LCS. But Nisqy said: “I think that’s respectable, but I would probably not be able to do it.”