cg solo

Solo: ‘I think we can go toe-to-toe with everyone’

Clutch Gaming came out on top against a struggling Counter Logic Gaming this Saturday, climbing to a 2-1 start in their inaugural split as members of the North American League Championship Series.

Following their rout of CLG, their top laner Colin “Solo” Earnest sat down with The Game Haus to talk about their win, his ascension to the LCS and what it’s like to play with a veteran-filled lineup.

Alright, so the CLG game was a stomp. What made it such a one-sided game?

“It seemed like we were really ready for all of their aggressive plays. Their team is like, if one person goes in, they all go in. We were just able to counter their aggression with some good plays of our own.”

Prior to signing on with Clutch you spent a few years in the Challenger Series. How has the jump to LCS been for you? And what do you bring to the table as a player?

“The jump has been pretty good. I have played in a lot of stage games and best-of-five series, so I’m experienced some of the LCS teams. It is a much different animal being week-to-week and against playing some of the really top teams. I’m just trying to get as comfortable as possible stage against some of the really good strong opponents.

CG Solo

Photo courtesy of Riot Games.

I think I just have a really solid base to grow on. I’m a really good teammate, a strong leader and I think I bring a lot of x-factors, as well as my play.”

Now most of Clutch came over together from Team Envy and Febiven arrived after an impressive career in Europe. Has it been tough finding your place in this roster?

“It’s been a little different, they’re definitely really talented guys and they been in the scene for a really long time. I’m really willing to just listen and learn a lot from them. They’ve been really great teachers.”

Speaking of Febiven, you’re playing with one of the most accomplished Western mid laners over the past few years. What’s he like as a player? As a leader?

“He’s a really strong player, can do everything and is willing to make sacrifices for the team. He’s a really funny guy, really great guy to be around and is really strong mentally, which is surprising considering Europe’s reputation with that.

I’ve had a really great time playing with him. We’re very similar in how we look at the game and how we think a team should function.”

Now there’s been a lot of talk about some of the newer faces, such as AnDa and Licorice, and not as much about you. Why do you feel that is?

“I think it’s just because I’ve been around for a lot longer. At least in the spotlight, I’ve done challenger for a long time, so I think people will take for granted how good I am as a player. It’s a lot easier to get excited for someone who kinda just started out than it is for someone who has been grinding for so long.

cg solo

Photo courtesy of Riot Games.

I don’t really worry about too much, at the end of the day I’m just going to do my best for myself and the team, and take it from there.”

Where does Clutch stand amongst the rest of the LCS?

“I think we can go toe-to-toe with everyone. I think we are going to have losses and we’re gonna have wins, but depending on how well we learn from them will dictate how we do in playoffs.”

Tomorrow you play against against a hyped up Team Liquid. What’s it going to take to win?

“We’re gonna have to have a really solid draft and really solid game plan going in. And then we’re going to have to play as a team and really focus on our strengths and making sure they don’t roll over us with their really strong individual play.”

Featured image: Riot Games

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Cody Sun

Cody Sun on TL Snub: ‘If they’re going to pay so much money for Doublelift, then there’s nothing I can do about it’

Following a win against Team Liquid, 100 Thieves AD carry Cody Sun sat down with The Game Haus for a quick interview.

Talk to me about tonight’s game, how you think it went and give me some of your takeaways of the match.

“So since we’re playing against TL and they’re first place, it’s a pretty important match for us. And it was pretty important for me personally since they had three of my former teammates and I was supposed to start over Doublelift until they picked him up. I was kind of nervous going in.

cody sun

Photo courtesy of Riot Games.

I think our team played really well. I think our macro and communication was definitely on point. But for me, I played most of the team fights pretty poorly. I knew when Pobelter’s Azir ultimate was coming and I was like, ‘Be prepared for it,’ but somehow he still got me, like on the edge, or something. That was pretty sad. And the one around middle, we just didn’t know they were there. I should have still been more careful and back.

Overall, I really like how our team played today.”

Going back a bit, is there part of you that wishes you got to play with your Immortals teammates on Team Liquid?

“I’m still really good friends with all of my Immortals teammates, especially Olleh. It would have been great to play with them on Team Liquid, but I’m just enjoying my time on 100 Thieves. If they’re going to pay so much money for Doublelift, then there’s nothing I can do about it.”

Moments ago you claimed that you want this season to be “your year.” What kind of personal improvements do you feel like you need to make for this to come to fruition?

“It’s just to be constantly on the grind. I’ve been playing this game, not just professionally, for a really long time. To improve, you just have to constantly work on your gameplay and yourself, and do a lot of self-reflection during your off time. Nobody plays this game perfectly, there’s always things to improve.

cody sun

Cody Sun in his post game interview. Photo courtesy of Riot Games.

I think, especially in North America, no matter how much you achieve in our region, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. When you go to Worlds, you open your eyes to so many better teams and better players.

I know I’m not close to where I want to be, but just having a goal to constantly work towards everyday feels pretty nice.”

What has it been like laning with a veteran support like Aphromoo with the leadership, experience and championship pedigree he brings to the table?
cody sun

Cody Sun embraces Aphromoo. Photo courtesy of Riot Games.

“I think Aphromoo is a fantastic teammate, leader and support player. He does so much for me, actually. He probably actually did a lot for the previous AD’s he played with. I’m pretty sure any AD that plays with him will instantly look a lot better because he looks out for you in every aspect of the game. Since he played AD carry himself, he knows what your role wants and he just helps you out. I feel like I can do so much more when I play with him.”

Now you’ve played for coaches with two very different backgrounds. Tell me about how playing for Prolly has been and how it compares to SSONG from your time with Immortals.

“Compared to SSONG, I think they have polar opposite coaching styles. SSONG is a lot more assertive. I think, because he comes from Korea, he obviously brings in the Korean culture when it comes to coaching. He’ll just pick you your champion and won’t really ask your opinions that much on the picks. He’ll do an entire draft and everything.

For Prolly, he’s a lot more democratic with his coaching style. In review, we have a lot more discussions. Our reviews take a lot longer than on Immortals, which can be a good and bad thing. I think we’re still trying to figure out the best way to do reviews as a team. It’s just different.”

You’re now 3-0, coming off an impressive win against Team Liquid. How do you guys stay on top?

“It’s just the start of the season, I think with everyone, all the veterans on our team, nobody is getting really hyped or anything. We could have just as easily lost the three games that we won, and it’s not like we’re this super powerhouse team or anything.

The best part about this team is that nobody has an ego. Meteos, Aphromoo and even like Sssumday and Ryu, they’ve won really important matches and they got really far in playoffs. Everyone just understands the process and wants to get better week by week.”

What are your impressions of Cloud9 and how do you feel like you’ll match up against them tomorrow?

“For C9, I think they’re also trying to mesh with each other. They have Licorice, he’s a rookie, and I know how it is to play as a rookie. It takes a pretty long time to get used to everything. Even really veteran players, I’ve asked Aphromoo, and even he gets nervous on stage, sometimes.

We’re probably just going to try to play our game. Be really macro-focused and not do anything too crazy. I think C9 is just as strong as Team Liquid.”

Featured image: Riot Games

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Lourlo

Lourlo: ‘I think the community definitely underestimates us a little bit’

The Golden Guardians’ season debut wasn’t a pretty one. The Golden State Warriors-owned League of Legends franchise failed to mirror the greatness of their NBA affiliate, dropping both of their opening weekend games and carving out a spot at the bottom of the standings.

This isn’t too far-fetched from community expectations, however. With a mixture of players that didn’t win enough in 2017, a rookie AD carry and being the only team to not fortify their roster with an overseas player, GGS weren’t expected to clean anyone’s clock early in the season. In fact, without relegation in place, the team is comfortable building up their own players for long-term success.

Following the weekend, GGS top laner Samson “Lourlo” Jackson sat down with The Game Haus and talked about the Guardians’ open weekend, the leadership of Hai “Hai” Du Lam and the expectations the community laid on GGS.

Talk to me about this weekend’s games, your struggles and how you hope to remedy some of the issues plaguing Golden Guardians?
lourlo

GGS will take on FlyQuest (1-1) and Counter Logic Gaming (0-2) this weekend. Photo courtesy of Riot Games.

“This weekend I think the first game was a lot of nerves. The second game was a lot of coming down to just late-game and mid-game decision-making and fight selection. I think just ironing out our team cohesion in the later half of the game will definitely change how we play.

I think our lane phase, specifically against Cloud9 today, was fine. It’s just like fights we took were not the ideal fights.”

Now you’ve played on what some would say were dysfunctional teams with Liquid. What’s it like to have a proven leader like Hai to lean on when things get tough?

“Yeah, Hai is definitely a big voice in the team. His just general voice overall guides us in a good direction and I think he’ll keep getting us together as long as he stays on top of it. Everyone finds it easy to follow him because his voice is so veteran-shipped and also so loud. You’re just bound to follow him. 

Overall, he’s a really good leader. And I think I myself will learn from him over time and we’ll see how that goes.”

Speaking of leaders, you’ve reunited with Locodoco, your head coach from your rookie season. Have you noticed any growth in him as a coach, and what does he bring to the table?

“Yeah, in my first year as a rookie, Loco was definitely more confrontational. He still has some of that, but it’s in a better way. He does it more appropriately and tries to get the best out of the situation while in the past, he did it just to argue. Now he’s more mature than he was two years ago when he coached me. I think he’s grown as a person, and also a coach, and I think he’ll keep growing throughout this whole year.”

Does it feel like the stakes are higher with franchising being implemented and plenty of big backers settling into LCS?

“LCS does feel different this year, I don’t know if it’s because of franchising or if I’m on a new team. I definitely have a different feeling playing this year, and I can’t tell if it’s a good or bad thing, I’m just excited to be here overall. And I’m just looking forward to the upcoming weeks because there is always a lot on the line, regardless of franchising or not. I’ve always been in this situation the past three years now so I’m kind of used to it. I think just making sure I keep my level of play to where I want it then I’ll be satisfied.”

Lourlo GGS

Lourlo has reunited with his former head coach, Choi “Locodoco” Yoon-seop. Photo courtesy of Riot Games.

Now you guys have made it clear that you’re invested to build for the long-term, but plenty have already written you guys off as non-contenders for this season. What’s your take on that? Do you think you have what it takes to win now? And what would it take to compete?

“I think the community definitely underestimates us a little bit. Obviously, if you look at us on paper, we’re five North American players, and most of us came from losing teams other than Contractz. It kind of makes sense that the general approach would be, ‘Yeah these guys are from losing teams, they haven’t done well for the past year, so let’s rate them low.’

It does make sense, and it’s on us to prove them wrong and work to the best of our abilities. People will still have that opinion until we prove them wrong. It’s on us to win.”

Featured image: Riot Games

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100T Meteos

Meteos: ‘The biggest reason I went with 100 Thieves was because Ryu’

Jungler William “Meteos” Hartman jump-started the next chapter of his League of Legends career last weekend, rocking his fresh 100 Thieves threads as he led his new team to an undefeated start.

Following his team’s impressive weekend, Meteos sat down with The Game Haus for a quick interview.

In recent years you’ve been in and out of lineups, and you haven’t competed for an entire season since Season 4. What has changed for you to want to start competing again full-time?

“I’ve always enjoyed playing, first of all. Usually when I’ve taken a break from playing it was because I didn’t feel like I could play well at the time. I wouldn’t want to play for the sake of being a pro player if I didn’t think I could do a good job. 

100T will be battle-tested this weekend against Team Liquid (2-0) and Cloud9 (2-0). Photo courtesy of Riot Games.

I went through some personal non-game related stuff that was messing with my head. I just wanted to take a break and some time off, that was what 2017 was for me. I told myself I’m going to take this year to chill: stream, and do things that are non-game related, and try to have a more balanced lifestyle. I felt like going so hard for years straight of League 24/7 all the time was going to burn me out and lower my overall happiness level. That was what 2017 was going to be for me.”

What specifically about 100 Thieves sold you on playing for them?

“I had a few offers in the offseason for a few different LCS teams. And the biggest reason I went with 100 Thieves was because Ryu had signed with them. I had talked to Ryu before the free agency happened saying, ‘Hey dude I really enjoyed playing with you on Phoenix1, if you want to play together, I’m open to it.’

He signed with 100 Thieves, and I was down.”

During your competitive break, other North American junglers (Svenskeren, Akaadian, Contractz etc.) stepped up in your place. How would you compare yourself to the new crop of junglers? And what advantages or disadvantages do you feel you have coming off a hiatus?

“Generally, in my experience jungling, it’s more about how well your team functions as a whole over an individual team’s performance. Players like Svenskeren, Akaadian and Contractz, they’re really good.

meteos heart

Meteos shows the fans some love. Photo courtesy of Riot Games.

I don’t think there are any junglers you can say flat out aren’t good, they’re all pretty good. A lot of stuff that can be hard about jungling is just getting on the same page with all your team. People will look at junglers and just say, ‘this guy just farms all the time or this guy just ganks one lane.’

The thing to think about is anytime you gank top, you have to tell your bot lane to play safe. League of Legends players all want to win their lane. Every laner is like, ‘I wanna shit on this guy,’ so it can be hard when you have to tell guys ‘Play safe, I’m going to pressure here,’ and just figure out how to be in the right place at the right time. A lot of it comes down to team cohesion and how well it functions as a whole.”

What are your expectations for this specific roster? And how would you compare the lineup against some of your Cloud9 rosters?

“I feel really good about this roster. I think everyone is a good mixture of dedication to improving and kinda laid back. No one has a super close mind or really big ego that can be hard to work with. As far as how I’d compare it to other teams, I usually try to leave that stuff up to the fans because it really doesn’t matter that much to me. I’m mostly focused on trying to improve myself and working on our own team. We’ll see how it goes when we play against them.”

 

Featured image: Riot Games

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Fox Dardoch

Dardoch on Free Agency: ‘I didn’t really have many other options’

Echo Fox debuted their revamped roster this past weekend, premiering their veteran-laden lineup as they begin gunning for their organization’s first playoff berth.

Labeled by some as North America’s biggest boom-or-bust team, the new Foxes swept their opening weekend with convincing wins over FlyQuest and Clutch Gaming, comforting Echo Fox fans heading into Week 2. And with games against Cloud9 (2-0) and TSM (2-0) on the docket, this team will certainly have a chance to prove themselves again this weekend.

Anyways, following their opening victory, we had the opportunity to sit down with Echo Fox jungler Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett.

First off, congratulations on your first win. What do you feel made it such a one-sided victory?

“First, our coach Inero and our assistant coach Thinkcard set us up with a really great draft. And everyone felt really confident going into the game, so that definitely helped us play well. Other than that, I think FlyQuest just kinda let us play to our team comp’s win condition and they didn’t really contest us in places they needed to so we just kinda got to do what we wanted to do, and we won.”

What were your thoughts on AnDa’s debut?

“It’s kind of hard to tell because they were pretty outclassed as a team it seemed, so not much to gain from it. I don’t know yet.”

Dardoch fans

Echo Fox is Dardoch’s fourth team since the beginning of 2017. Photo courtesy of Riot Games.

So you picked Echo Fox this offseason, why them over other teams?

“For me personally, I didn’t really have many other options. So, I signed with Echo Fox only knowing Fenix was on the roster and I just kinda trusted them. With the names that they gave me and the options that we had, I felt pretty comfortable signing, so I just did.”

Have you noticed a difference in Huni since his time on SK Telecom?

“Well, he’s definitely a lot better than he was previously. Even though he was already an overwhelming individual player on Immortals. After his year on SKT, he just became a lot more composed and he’s actually a very good leader.”

In terms of your character, do you feel like you have something to prove to people outside of your team?
fox dardoch

Despite his talent, his behavior as a teammate has always been called into question. Photo courtesy of Riot Games.

“I don’t feel like I have anything to prove to anyone outside of my organization but I know if I act the way I act my teammates will speak the truth about me. And eventually the word will get out that I’m not this toxic entity.”

No doubt in this team’s talent. You’ve got Huni, yourself and you’ve all played in LCS for quite some time. What do you feel like you guys need to do to unseat the favorites like TSM or TL?

“I think all we need to do is keep practicing as hard as we do and keep the communication line flowing. I think we’re a really creative bunch who aren’t scared to make plays, so I think we can easily dethrone TSM, TL, whoever the top teams will be by the end of the season if we keep our practice up.”

 

Featured image: Riot Games

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Burning 5: LCS questions following roster mania

If you blinked, you may have been lapped by the quickest roster shuffle since the inception of the North American LCS.

It all unfolded quickly. Big names swapping teams, European stars plucked from over the Atlantic and near-blank checks were passed around to the region’s most talented players. With charter membership finally kicking off, roster building became an arms race that could have been missed in the blink of an eye.

Anyways, despite the snappy moves and high-prized free agents, questions remain.

What does Meteos have left in the tank?

LCS roster

Photo courtesy of Riot Games

On one hand, adding a popular two-time LCS champion to an organization in its infancy seems like a no-brainer.

On the other, it’s been a long minute since former Cloud9 star William “Meteos” Hartman has shown the willingness to be a long-term LCS starter.

Recently, he’s been more of a flash in the pan for teams in transition. Cloud9 penciled him back in mid-season for a run that culminated with a berth to the 2016 World Championship before he resurfaced the following spring jungling for Phoenix1. His time on P1 was flashy, brief and he made it abundantly clear that he wasn’t willing to commit long-term to professional play. And after a few forgetful performances, he was supplanted by then-rookie Mike Yeung.

While there is little question he is capable of being a rock for this star-studded 100 Thieves lineup, the comfortable life of a Twitch streamer and Gunnars spokesman will always loom around the corner for a jungler who hasn’t competed for an entire season since 2014.

What can we expect out of MikeYeung?

LCS roster

Photo courtesy of Riot Games

In a perfect world, Mike Yeung isn’t the one to take the mantle of Team SoloMid’s jungler; but absorbing the proven bottom lane of Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and Alfonso “Mithy” Rodríguez was too good of an opportunity to pass on.

The young jungle main is quickly moving onto the biggest stage in Western League of Legends with little experience and heavy expectations. His four teammates have enough hardware to share and have all come together to perform on the international stage.

While he’s put together some nice highlights on the rift, the expectations to perform at the highest level with one of the best Western teams ever assembled won’t be easy. It’s international success or bust and plenty of that pressure rests on the shoulders of a flashy, but largely-unproven player.

How will CLG carry on without aphromoo?

LCS roster

Photo courtesy of Riot Games

The parting of Zaqueri “aphromoo” Black from Counter Logic Gaming is the biggest loss of the off-season no matter how you slice it.

The anchor for an organization plagued by years of instability, failures and 17-page manifestos, aphromoo not only became synonymous with CLG’s branding, but became their in-game leader as they won back-to-back LCS titles, twice qualified for Worlds and clawed their way to a runner-up finish at the 2016 Mid-Season Invitational. With a resume rivaled by few, his cool vibe and team-oriented approach were instrumental for CLG’s renaissance.

The move to former TSM support and three-time LCS champion Vincent “Biofrost” Wang isn’t necessarily a downgrade on the surface, but as we’ve seen from plenty of teams, you can never put a price on leadership.

Life without aphro will be a big transition. It’ll be interesting to see if Biofrost, new jungler Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin and incumbent CLG members can fill that void.

Does Dardoch finally get it?

LCS roster

Photo courtesy of Riot Games

Rick Fox and company put together quite the boom-or-bust roster with the most boom-or-bust personality at jungle.

Joshua “Dardoch” Harnett has never been short of raw talent or passion, which we’ve known since his promotion to Team Liquid’s starting jungle position in 2016. Overshadowing his will, however, has always been the path of destruction his attitude has left along the way.

A year after Team Liquid’s infamous Breaking Point, the documentary that centered around the season-long stare down between Dardoch and then-coach Choi “Locodoco” Yoon-seop, the 19-year-old jungler is coming off a season where his attitude bounced him between three different organizations. And like his previous stops, he’s once again acknowledged his attitude problems weighed down his teams and seems determined to fix them.

“It has to get to a point where there’s a common denominator in all these teams,” he stated in his exit video with Team Liquid posted just over a month ago.

The acquisition of Dardoch is a risky move for a risky lineup, but if he can finally get it together, this team will be ready to compete for a title. If problems persist, it’ll be interesting to see what doors remain open for the controversial star.

Can we trust the Golden Guardians’ process?

LCS roster

Photo courtesy of Riot Games

Yeah, we know. The “trust the process” slogan is latched onto the LCS-exiled Philadelphia 76ers, but the Golden Stare Warriors-owned esports franchise is putting faith in the future.

Behind mid laner Hai “Hai” Lam are four players young, talented and local to North America. In fact, they’re the only team to recruit zero imports, while the rest of the league is carrying the maximum of two, regulated by the Interregional Movement Policy.

Known for his in-game leadership, the 25-year-old has tasked himself to help build a team organically for the long-term, akin to their NBA-counterpart. The Warriors have been perennial title contenders after stockpiling and developing talent over years. It’ll be fun to watch their esports division attempt to emulate their long and successful plan of action.

Featured image: Riot Games

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