After a rough start to the 2020 League of Legends Championship Series Summer Split, 100 Thieves made changes to its LCS roster. Jungler William "Meteos" Hartman and сupport William "Stunt" Chen were removed from the starting roster in favor of 100 Thieves Academy Jungler Juan "Contractz Arturo Garcia and Support Philippe "Poome" Lavoie-Giguere. In its two matches against Golden Guardians and Dignitas, 100 went 1-1 to bring the team's record to 2-6.
Poome made his LCS debut against Golden Guardians and shook off the loss admirably before the team's match against Dignitas, which resulted in the rookie's first victory at the highest competitive level. After being signed by amateur squad 100 Thieves Next before the season and being promoted to 100 Thieves Academy in the summer, Poome has made his way to the top of the organization's developmental pipeline with a starting spot on the 100 Thieves' LCS roster.
Poome spoke to Inven Global's Nick Geracie after defeating Dignitas to discuss his journey to the LCS, his synergy with Contractz, and 100 Thieves' investment in the amateur League of Legends esports scene.
Congrats on your first LCS win, Poome. How does it feel?
It feels pretty good. I was kind of expecting it; I don't go in with a mindset that I'm going to lose. Winning is normalized within that mindset.
It's good to debut with confidence, but it's common for rookies to be nervous in their first LCS games. Did you have to reset your mental after losing your debut game against Golden Guardians before facing Dignitas?
Even though we lost my first LCS game, my map movement and play was really good. I played тхе lane well and really played better than my opponent. I watched the VoD and I'm constantly at the objectives faster than my opponent and blocking the enemy team's plays. From my perspective, that is playing well, despite having four deaths.
My four deaths weren't really because I misplayed, but because we misplayed teamfights and that resulted in me dying. The fights we took should have been in our favor against GG, but we just did not execute properly. Because of this, there wasn't anything to be worrying about from my perspective before facing Dignitas.
We misplayed against GG and maybe should have drafted some different champions. We talked about the draft and missing on execution, so there's no reason to go into the game against DIG worried. All we had to do today was execute better than we did yesterday, and if we keep our communication system intact there is no reason to be worried.
I agree that there is usually context to deaths as a support in a losing game, so it sounds like you had a good perspective. What is the dynamic within the current 100 Thieves LCS roster
We only had three days of scrims before our matches, and one of the days was cut in half because my building lost power. We only had 13 games of scrims before this weekend. Contractz and I are the most vocal on the team. The two of us and Ryoma are the ones who talk about stuff the most, but it's usually Contractz and I specifically. We talk about fights we want to take, which side of the map we want to play on, etc.
I'm pretty sure it was like that before we were promoted — Meteos was probably the shotcaller, though I'm not entirely sure. Contractz and I have played together on 100 Thieves Academy for three weeks, and we were also the leading voices on that roster.
I'm a very vocal person; I'm always going to speak up and say what's on my mind. If we are in-game and I feel like we should do something different than what we're currently doing, I will definitely say it. Contractz and I are doing the same thing we did on 100 Thieves Academy, basically.
Speaking up is a great quality to have, but it's not common amongst LCS rookies. What makes you so confident to speak your mind?
Yeah, sometimes it takes time for people to do that. For me, I was just born like that. If there's something on my mind, I have to share it. If I don't, then it takes a toll on me. If I keep stuff to myself, then it's going to hurt me in the end, so I need to say it and I just say it.
If things get heated, I can take a five-minute breather because I don't want to say bad things or be harsh because that's not good for the team environment. However, that hasn't happened on 100 Thieves or 100 Thieves Academy yet. I haven't run into any trouble, I'm just very talkative.
Contractz has a lot of experience at the top level of competition. Have you been able to pick anything from him?
I definitely look up to him and think he's really good at the game mechanically. He has a very aggressive playstyle, which I like because I want to go in; I want to fight. I want some blood, I'm not a sit-back-relax-play-for-scaling type of person. I mesh well with Contractz's playstyle because I'm all for opportunities to fight early game. If we get a late invade, I'm all for it to try and create advantages early, which is also how Contractz thinks and plays. In my opinion, we mesh really well.
This is your first interview with Inven Global. How did you become a professional League of Legends player?
I've been gaming since I was really young. My brother got me into gaming because he bought an XBOX360 and he was playing all the time. I would watch him play games like Call of Duty all day. I started gaming competitively in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. I would attend events like DreamHack Montreal with my team and also play in online tournaments.
That was my first competitive experience; I played competitive CS:GO for four years. I wasn't at the level where I could quit school and go pro, though. My aim wasn't really good, so I decided to not put any more time into the game and swapped to League of Legends.
I achieved Master in solo queue and thought that something could maybe happen, but when I hit Challenger and then won the 2019 Tyler1 Championship Series, I asked my parents if I could take a break from school for a year to let me see if I had any potential opportunities. I was playing amateur tournaments since swapping to League throughout that time, which was about two years. I was signed to 100 Thieves Next, which was a pretty good opportunity for me.
You debuted on 100 Thieves Academy this summer in place of Breezyyy. How did you end up being promoted to the Academy squad?
100 Thieves Next was probably the most fun amateur experience I ever had. It's hard to say that other amateur teams can be the same, or that every LCS org should invest in the amateur scene because I felt like our amateur team bonded really well. We all had a different personality trait — Tenacity and I are big goofballs; we like to meme and stuff. There are also quieter people on the team, and it felt like everyone became friends.
I'm still in the 100X group chat. I come in and watch their scrims and we talk about stuff. It was a really fun squad to be a part of; I always looked forward to scrims because it meant I got to chill with the boys.
One day, I went out to eat with one of my friends in Montreal, and our General Manager PapaSmithy asked me if I had time for a call. At first, I thought I was in trouble because sometimes I can say stuff that might put me in trouble, but then he asked if I was interested in playing in the LCS Academy League. That was definitely something I wanted to do, so he offered me the spot.
What were your 100X teammates' reactions when you told them about your promotion?
We're all hyped for each other and we all want each other to make it, so they were really happy for me. It also changes their perspective because while there are other LCS organizations invested in the amateur scene, it hasn't really felt like anything.
Having someone from the amateur scene moved up to an Academy team definitely makes it better for the 100 Thieves Next players and Head Coach. They can see that 100 Thieves actually cares and truly invests resources into the amateur scene and pay attention to what you do. That's why it's good that someone from our team got moved up to 100 Thieves Academy, even if it wasn't me, I would have been like, "Oh ****, nice, they actually care!"
You are an example of the 100 Thieves development pipeline in real time. How did you find out you were starting for the LCS team?
I was playing solo queue and PapaSmithy messaged me asking if I had time for a call. We got in a call and he told me I was getting promoted. I was just playing solo queue with Prismal, and once I got PapaSmithy's message I was like, "Oh ****...". At that point, I kind of expected being promoted. I didn't expect the message, but when it came, I knew what it was about.
When you signed with 100X at the beginning of the year, did you expect to work your way up through the organization this quickly?
It has definitely been a faster timeline than I expected. I definitely did not expect to play only three weeks in the LCS Academy League. I thought it was going to be longer; maybe a split or two to learn some things. There is still stuff that I need to learn; I'm not a top tier player. I'm still confident in my ability, but I need to learn a lot, so I expected to be in Academy for longer than I was, at least. Things went a lot faster than I thought they would initially.
What has your response been to playing with established veterans in the LCS thus far?
It definitely feels better to play with good players, you know? They have different opinions, and you can see how they want to play the game based on their own created identities. These players built their own identities and you can learn from learning how to play with that, so it's definitely better.
That being said, I don't really get scared. I shouldn't value their opinions more than my own because they have been to the World Championship. I do value their opinions, but I also need to stand my own ground.
In your win against Dignitas today, you went up against one of the most decorated North American Supports of all time in aphromoo. Is there anyone else you're looking forward to facing in the LCS?
Yeah, I really look up to Vulcan. It's going to be hype to play against him; maybe get smashed, maybe not, we'll see.
Vulcan's rise to the top has been relatively quick since he debuted in the 2017 NA Scouting Grounds.
Yeah, definitely. I definitely look up to him in terms of how fast he improved. He's someone I look up to a lot.
If 100 Thieves was to qualify for Worlds this year, who would you like to play against on the international stage?
I'm not sure, I don't really know names that well. I know Crisp is really good; Mikyx is really good...Hylissang, Effort... probably those players, I think.
Thanks so much for the interview, Poome, and welcome to the LCS. Is there anything you want to say to the 100 Thieves fans?
I just hope they keep supporting us through this roster change. We've only had three days of practice, so with more days of practice and more scrims, hopefully, it gets even better from now. Keep supporting us.