MAD Lions Pad explains how team recovered for Worlds 2021 Group D second round-robin

mad lions pad and elyoya worlds 2021

Last Updated on: 19th October 2021, 02:22 pm

For all that transpired during the second round-robin in the 2021 League of Legends World Championship group stage, with various exciting matches creating unexpected upsets, nothing could have prepared fans for what Group D had in store for them.

That sentiment applied for MAD Lions assistant coach Patrick “Pad” Suckow-Breum, who watched in awe from backstage as his team miraculously forced a first-ever four-team tiebreaker and defeated China’s LNG Esports to secure a spot in the knockout stage, thus avenging their disappointment from falling out of Play-Ins the previous year.

After becoming the only European representative to remain in the competition, they played (and lost to) Gen.G for the first seed in their group. That result meant they were drawn to face DWG KIA, the defending world champion and the same team that eliminated them from the Mid-Season Invitational earlier this year, in the quarterfinals on October 24.

Following the knockout stage draw, Pad spoke with The Click for an exclusive interview about his team’s progression from groups, what he felt during the final moments in the match against LNG, how the team prepared for the second round-robin, and what he thinks of DWG ahead of their quarterfinal match.

MAD Lions Pad on second round-robin

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Credit: Riot Games

How are you feeling right now after this crazy day which included a four-team tiebreaker in Group D?

MAD Lions Pad: Exhausted, to be honest. *laughs* It’s been a very emotional, up and down kind of day. But also, I obviously feel extremely happy. I’m really really pleased that we made it to quarters where we’re going to face DWG.

As you mentioned, you have a very heavy test ahead of you in DWG KIA for the quarterfinals. What do you think of the team right now and how will MAD fare this time around in comparison to when you played each other back in MSI?

MAD Lions Pad: DWG looks kind of scary to be fair. They have had a good tournament so far. During the day where they played three games, they looked a lot shakier and a lot less dominant, but I think that can be said for almost all of the [other] teams in the tournament–except us, I guess.

What’s scary right now [about facing them] is that they seemed to have picked up a lot on their early game which was one of their biggest flaws back around spring while moving towards MSI.

If they keep their early game going, we already know that they are insane at team fighting and really good at vision control, it will for sure be a big task [for us]. But we have to face them at some point if we want to win Worlds, so why not start out with it?

READ MORE: C9 Max Waldo on reaching knockouts, beating Rogue in tiebreaker match, career

We’ll be expecting quite an exciting series against DWG next week. Save for the second tiebreaker against Gen.G, MAD secured qualification to the quarterfinals after beating LNG in a long-winded affair that included another comeback. The cameras captured yourself and the rest of the coaching staff going wild during the last team fight and Carzzy’s double kill with Trueshot Barrage. Can you walk us through what the atmosphere was like during those final moments?

MAD Lions Pad: It was very tense. I come from a football background and had been a football fan my entire life, so I just kind of turned into a fan at that moment. I just let [myself] go and let my emotions take over, right?

The game went back and forth. Them trying to end it in a really bad situation but nearly pulling it off, stopwatches, GAs going off, and it coming down to absolute execution in the moment.

Our players just pulled it off. Being in the room while that was happening, you just let your emotions take over and just went with the flow and the flow was insane. *laughs*

Credit: Riot Games

Surely it was also the culmination of a very eventful day. The team had to come back from a 1-2 deficit, force a tiebreaker, and win the extra matches. That said, what did the team focus on improving in the lead-up to today’s games?

MAD Lions Pad: After the 1-2 outing, what we actually did was take a step back and do exactly what we did in the summer and made sure our players had some breathing room. We allowed them to go to the Sky Lagoon, play other games, scrim less, and take time to enjoy Worlds.

You know, enjoy being here in Iceland, eating good food, going to good restaurants, and just soaking up the experience rather than constantly playing scrims and being locked away in the hotel room.

We took a step back and I think that helped us immensely in resetting our mentality and moving into round two which we saw today. We came in really confident today and I think a big part of that is owed to our approach after round one.

Yeah, it’s an interesting outlier considering how you guys were in a predicament of almost missing out on progressing from groups. In most cases, teams would do the opposite of that. They would bunker down, practice, and try to concentrate as best as they can, but you guys approached it differently, right?

MAD Lions Pad: Yeah. We talked about it when we did it during the summer. Sometimes, taking a step back and getting a different perspective on the game [is better] rather than just getting stuck in because at least from what I know–I’ve been a player before and now I’m a coach–I learned that some of our players need to distance themselves [from the game].

They need distance to see the game broadly, so giving them [that] instead of pushing them while they are already down is something that has been extremely efficient for us and something that we’re going to keep doing.

For us, it comes down to making sure that our players’ mental health is good. We want to make sure that they are in a good headspace and if you are in a bad headspace and if you are forced to play nine scrims a day for five days in a row, it’s going to be really hard to keep developing as a team.

So, we do the other approach, we take a step back, we allow ourselves to see the game in a different light, and use that to improve.

READ MORE: T1 Canna: “The thing that pressured me most… it was my first official match in a long time”

Europe’s showing in Worlds 2021

mad lions worlds 2021
Credit: Riot Games

Taking a broader look at Europe’s participation in Worlds, you’re obviously the only team who progressed to the quarterfinals. That said, what are your thoughts on the LEC’s overall performance in Worlds 2021 since each team experienced its own set of issues during the group stage.

MAD Lions Pad: I think Rogue did much better than I expected. I actually thought they looked kind of broken after the summer playoffs with those consecutive 0-3 results. I was really scared that they were going to come here and get rolled over, but they proved that they had fought in them, right?

They came to play and almost made it out of groups. Instead, we have Cloud9 moving onwards–well deserved by the way. They did amazing, but Rogue didn’t go down without a fight and I think they did Europe proud. I think they did a really good job at showing up despite the hard circumstances.

For Fnatic, I mean, we don’t know anything more than what Twitter tells us or anything like that. The entire situation just sounds awful to be in and I feel sorry for all of the players, staff, and everyone else involved. I don’t know what happened with Upset. Whether if it’s family-related or whatever else, I don’t really care.

I think that the way they bounced back in round two was insane. Watching the whole team step up, with Hylissang and the new ADC still leading the charge, Bwipo having one of the most outstanding performances in the tournament on his Viego pick [versus  RNG]–I think the story, had we went out today, would’ve been that this was the year EU blew up or said “bye-bye” but maybe we have redeemed that.

Genuinely looking at it, the groups were hard and I think both Fnatic and Rogue, especially Fnatic with their outside circumstances, did their best and Rogue showed they can compete at this level which I didn’t expect.

We’re running out of time here but thank you again for taking the time for this interview, Pad. Do you have final shoutouts to give or any acknowledgments in light of this momentous occasion for the organization?

MAD Lions Pad: Everyone who supported us from the outside like the fans and our support staff. We had internal issues going in after the first round [of games] and I think we did an amazing job bouncing back, so thank you to the team for bouncing back and giving me this wonderful day that I’m never going to forget. It has been a pleasure–stressful, but a pleasure.