Evil Geniuses Academy has mimicked its roster in the 2020 League of Legends Championship Series Spring Split by surging into the post-season. EG Academy entered the 2020 LCS Academy League Spring Playoffs as the 3rd seed, and followed up a sweep of 100 Thieves Academy in the Quarterfinals with a convincing 3-1 win over Dignitas Academy in the Semifinals. EG Academy will face Cloud9 Academy in the Finals on Friday, April 17 at 1:00pm PT.
Evil Geniuses Academy Jungler Andy "AnDa" Hoang spoke to Inven Global's Nick Geracie after the win to discuss replacing Kadircan "Kadir" Mumcuoğlu, building synergy with his new Mid Laner Ahmad "Giyuu" Charif, and the team's road to the 2020 LCS Academy League Spring Finals.
Congratulations on your win, AnDa. It was expected that Dignitas Academy would put up more of a fight against Evil Geniuses Academy. How did the series itself compare to your expectations?
Before the series, our team had a kind of rough week of practice compared to how things usually go, but we learned a lot from those mistakes and I think it showed in our games. We made more proactive plays than usual, and we played aggressively for the most part, so I was really happy about that. None of us were scared about Dignitas Academy; we were all really confident and knew we could play as such if we drafted a composition that we liked to play.
It's nice to see you guys comfortable out there even though the team has dealt with visa issues. Giyuu only got here a week or so before the post-season, so how have you managed to acclimate to a new Mid Laner so quickly?
Giyuu likes to play a lot of aggressive champions, so he lets us know how we can help him. There are some games where we will have both me and our Support roam mid, and we're usually able to get a lot of advantages for him and snowball the game off of that.
As a Jungler, adapting to a new Mid Laner feels kind of weird because Aidan Joseph "5fire" Reckamp, who I played with for most of the season, has a very different champion pool when compared to Giyuu. It took a little while for me to adapt, but after a few weeks, we knew what we wanted to play and how to play it.
How did things happen when you joined Evil Geniuses Academy?
Going into 2020 felt kind of weird. I had won the previous split with 100 Thieves Academy, and I was waiting on one offer in the LCS in the off-season, but it ended up falling through. I had some offers in the LCS Academy League, but something unlucky happened to me, so those offers all went away after a certain amount of time had passed.
After a certain point, I knew teams weren't looking for Junglers anymore, and I reflected upon how I wanted to approach the year since I wasn't going to be starting on any team. I chose to grind as much as I could and stream as much as I could, with the possibility of a potential bootcamp somewhere in the middle of the 2020 LCS Spring Split.
However, Evil Geniuses approached me to substitute in for EG Academy in scrims, because their Jungler had visa issues. Because of continued visa issues for Kadir, I ended up signing onto EG Academy as the starting Jungler.
Did you expect to keep starting on the roster when 5fire was released?
From what I saw, the team liked what I brought to the table. In my first four weeks with EG Academy, I was playing from Canada, and even though I was playing on 100 ping, I was still doing pretty well in scrims and matches. They liked what I was doing with the team, so they kept me. I'm pretty grateful to EG for giving me this opportunity.
Do you think playing well on 100 ping gave you an advantage when the entire Academy League had to move online due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
I definitely thought about that. I'd been playing from home for almost the entire season before the lockdown *laughs* the ping difference is really big, though. Playing on 100 ping definitely limited my champion pool, because there are a lot of champions you don't want to play on that type of connection. Thus, since moving back to Los Angeles, I've been trying to expand my champion pool, and I think I'm playing a lot more confidently than I've previously showcased. I'm pretty proud.
As you should be. Overall, do you think there were any ways you could have approached the off-season more optimally?
It's kind of hard to say. I have an agent who contacts the team and they relay the info to me, so I'm not sure entirely what I could have done. There's not entirely too much you can do, because I think teams will pick players primarily based on their performance in the season prior. I think I did pretty poorly in the LCS last spring on 100 Thieves, and I don't think the problems or issues were really addressed, so that may have affected people's opinion on me.
I think one big thing that I wish that would have happened is if teams had done tryouts. I don't think many of the teams or any at all really did tryouts. One thing that people or teams perceive me as a quiet player or a player that doesn't communicate much but I think if I were able to show my play in tryouts of some sort, it would change their perception of me as a player.
I'm not sure what I could have done, but overall, I'm pretty happy with my play as of late and grateful to Evil Geniuses for giving me the opportunity to compete.
Thanks for your time, AnDa. Is there anything you want to say to your fans and supporters?
I think we're going to win the Spring Finals against Cloud9 Academy. EG fans are cheering for us, and I hope that people see my worth as a Jungler.