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?
“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.”
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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