League of Legends Championship Series fans and analysts consistently had Golden Guardians ranked near the bottom this off-season, and the team struggled out the gates in Week 1. However, they secured their first win in their third game, and look to improve on thier performance to silence the dissenters.
After the win, top laner, Kevin "Hauntzer" Darnell, spoke with Inven Global about his role in the team, their mentality and confidence after the rough start, and how he ranks himself individually. Watch the video interview on our YouTube, or read below.
Hey there, I'm joined by Hauntzer for Golden Guardians. Congrats on your first win of the season, how are you guys feeling?
We're pretty frustrated. Yeah we got a win but it was quite a messy win. And everyone wants to play much better than how we played on stage. Everyone was very critical of how we played on stage, and we're just going to take time to learn as much as we can.
Do you feel like you are translating the things that you fix and work on in scrims to your on stage games and actually making progress on some of these things?
I think one of the biggest differences on stage versus scrims is that our mentality is a little bit different. There's a lot more pressure on stage for sure. So we arre not able to translate our scrim results on stage because in scrims we always perform really well. We're very relaxed and always make a lot of plays, but there's too much pressure [on stage].
I think people need to calm down a litle bit and be less nervous and focus on the match instead of things they can't control. So I'd say our practice is going really well. We're still learning a lot. We learned a lot from Week 1, and we're going to learn a lot from today too.
You spoke with Inven Global during your media day earlier this month and you said you wanted to be more of a role model and leader for the team. Have you found out how to do that? How is that going?
Yeah, since I'm the oldest I think people listen to me more, and it's pretty easy for me to voice my opinion on how we should play the game or what I think is good. Obviously everyone is going to give their own opinion on what they think is best, and we just come to a conclusion at the end of the day, and that's all that matters. And for myself, I'm trying to get others to be healthier out of game. But in the end it's all their own decision.
You mean like joining you at the gym and stuff?
Yeah, yeah. Like I want Can "Closer" Çelik and Ian Victor "FBI" Huang to go to the gym, but they always say tomorrow.
So going back to Golden Guardians as a team, the entire narrative up until now was that GG would be at the bottom, but that each player was very confident that the team would perform well. But then after an 0-2 start to the season, what did that do to the team's confidence, and how did it affect your practice this week?
I still think we have that conifdence. Just because you're confident doesn't mean you can't lose. It's fine to lose as long as you learn from your failures, and we definitely learned quite a bit from last week. And going forward, we're not really scared to fail cus we just want to get better and improve.
Our goal is not to just win one weekend and that's it; our goal is to improve over time and become a contender. So as long as we are taking everything in stride and learning as much as we can, in both failures and successes, we'll do really well. And I think everyone is confident in each other because we believe that we can do that.
Best of luck! For you specifically, you've been a strong contender in the top lane for a while now, but we also have a very strong top lane pool in NA. Where would you put yourself right now and what do you think your ceiling is?
I'd say it's really hard to rank someone, and right now, since we've only played three games, there's not much stats or plays to look at. And you can't really go off scrims, because scrim results don't really matter. So it's kind of hard to put myself where I am, I only know where I want to be, right? So I want to be the best and my goal is to be the best top laner, so we'll see how it goes down the line.
Is there anyone you're looking forward to playing against as a good measure?
I don't feel like there is a top laner who really stands out in NA at least. I think the general pool is really good, I think everyone is pretty good, but some are better than others. It depends on the meta. But it doesn't really matter who I face, I just want to beat them all
Anything you want to say to fans before we go?
We had a rough start but it wasn't as bad as before. I'm really happy with this team. I feel like the atmosphere we have is very productive, and the coaching staff is really good. We brought some OCE people over and they're very helpful with what they do, and I'm looking forward to seeing us improve.
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