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MAD Lions accomplished the unthinkable after reverse-sweeping Rogue in the League of Legends European Championship spring split finals, claiming their first-ever LEC title and earning a spot at the upcoming Mid-Season Invitational. Despite their success, though, the path wasn’t all smiles and laughs for MAD Lions’ star AD Carry, Matyáš “Carzzy” Orság.

The 19-year-old said this has been a difficult year for him. While lifting the LEC trophy was a dream come true for Carzzy, it was bittersweet. The player had struggled with losing his confidence after MAD Lions failed to make the group stage of the 2020 League of Legends World Championship and hasn’t been able to see his girlfriend in-person for the last four months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To be honest with you, it’s very tough to not be able to share this moment with my girlfriend,” Carzzy said after winning the LEC. “It’s the worst feeling that I have experienced. Even though we won, there is still this feeling that I cannot share it with the person I like very much.”

He added that his feelings are made worse by the fact that he still won’t see her for the next two months, nor does he know whether he can even go back to the Czech Republic. He went as far as saying in an interview back in February 2020 that he wanted to specifically win for her.

“I think it helps my career to have a supportive girlfriend like her,” he told The Loadout. “When I’m winning, it also feels good because it makes her happy, and I’m happy because I want to win for her.”

Carzzy spoke about the difficulty of celebrating an LEC championship without his girlfriend. | Photo provided by League of Legends Esports.

Carzzy said he is one of few professional League of Legends players who is open about the emotional toll of having limited physical access to support systems.

“I don’t think there are many gamers that value friends, family or even a girlfriend the way I do,” Carzzy said. “It is of course a personal thing for everyone and it depends on what you need from other people and yourself.”

Loneliness and isolation took away some of the shine of that spring trophy, especially after everything Carzzy and MAD Lions went through post-Worlds. The team had hoped for better results when they qualified for the event in Shanghai, but they were eliminated by Turkish team SuperMassive Esports in the play-in stage.

The early exit led to two roster changes: Andrei “Orome” Popa and Zhiqiang “Shad0w” Zhao were swapped out for Javier “Elyoya” Prades Batalla and İrfan Berk “Armut” Tükek, the top laner who knocked out MAD at Worlds. Following the moves, both Orome or Shad0w departed from the LEC altogether despite their stellar performances during the regular season. Orome even spoke out about the effect crashing out of Worlds had on him.

“There hasn’t been a day in the next 3 months after Worlds where I didn’t hate myself for it,” he wrote on Twitter back in March 2021.“This off-season I also found out I have severe anxiety. Won’t go into details on why/how it happens, but I can say I was heavily experiencing it during important moments.”

For Carzzy, the aftermath of Worlds planted a seed of doubt that he didn’t have what it takes to reach his goals.

“I thought that we’re just not good enough to be the best team in Europe,” he said. “It was like we stood no chance of that ever happening. It was always my dream to be the best ADC in the world and I’m still very, very far away from that. But I felt heartbroken after Worlds knowing that I couldn’t be the best.“

Carzzy noted the roster changes were hard but that they couldn’t keep trying to force chemistry where it didn’t exist. Once they brought in the new team members, it only took a month for them to realize their potential. Carzzy said once him and Humanoid got their motivation back, playing alongside someone he believed in was a beautiful experience. To top it all off, winning the LEC has only made him feel more hopeful about the future.

Carzzy hugs Humanoid
Carzzy hugs Humanoid after defeating Rogue in the 2021 LEC Spring Split Final. | Photo provided by League of Legends Esports.

Throughout everything Carzzy and his teammates went through, from living through the highest of highs to lowest of lows, Carzzy said he has come out the other side a much better player with the most valuable lesson of his career so far.

It doesn’t matter how many times he messes up as long as he keeps playing to win, even if things look doomed.

“Last year, I was almost never dying at all in lane and I wasn’t testing my limits,” Carzzy said. “But nowadays I’m trying to overcome the fear of messing up in front of people, and I think I’m doing really great work with this.”