Golden Guardians qualified for the 2020 League of Legends Championship Series Summer Playoffs in week 8, and after finishing the LCS Summer Split with a 9-9 record, the team secured the #5 seed. In its first Summer Playoffs, GG will face off against #4 seed TSM. AD Carry Victor "FBI" Huang spoke to Inven Global's Nick Geracie after Golden Guardians' last game in the Summer Split to discuss the team's improvements, both as individuals and as a unit, and look towards the post-season.
Your regular season is officially over! Can you talk a bit about how the last game versus EG went down?
We had a really big lead and I felt we couldn't push it to snowball the game. There was some hesitation, some misplays, and in the mid game, I singlehandedly threw the game and we lost, so it feels really bad.
After you qualified for playoffs last week, I was not questioning whether you were a good team. I guess there are two ways to interpret this game. Either it's not a convincing win, or that you already qualified for playoffs and were taking it a bit too easy. How do you look at it?
I definitely think that if it were any other stage game, we'd try our best to win, but we just didn't really play well today, and even yesterday against TSM: we had big leads and both games and closing it out and snowballing into a win was an issue. Generally, we don't have that issue in practice and we'll be working to fix that come playoffs.
How would you evaluate the team's morale right now, despite losing the last game of the split?
Obviously, it feels bad right now having just lost that game, but everyone on the team is looking forward to playoffs, because at the end of the day it's all that matters. We need to win two best-of-5's and we'll get to Worlds. Even though we lost this game, it's good that we lost it in the last week, rather than in the playoffs. It's really easy for us to identify mistakes after a game and figuring out how to play these games where we have enormous leads.
It's a blessing in disguise because we as a whole always improve a lot more after losing on stage. We'll be really good come playoffs.
In Spring, you guys qualified for playoffs but it was a crazy miracle run over multiple tiebreakers. This split, you solidified your spot last week as one of the better teams in North America. What has the difference been the two splits?
In Spring, we were playing well individually, especially Closer. In the second split, we just came together as a team and figured out the style we want to play. Just working together as a team, being more confident, and trusting each other more — and it shows a lot in the game. There's a lot less hesitation, the team has become more decisive.
I'm glad you brought up Closer, because he's been a mad man all year. But something people have really noticed is that you're quite the talent yourself. You've had great stats this Summer and when GG looks their best, they're enabling you to succeed. How do you feel about your own level of play this Summer? Is it more about your improving from Spring, or the team as a whole?
It's definitely a bit of both. I definitely improved from Spring to Summer, but in order to look good in the ADC role, you need your team to play around you well. The team has been performing a lot better, which really lets me shine. I have to give a lot of credit to huhi, he's really stepped up.
This weekend, I really shat the bed. We had huge plays and I think I kind of heavily threw the game away. I really don't want this happening in playoffs, but I'd say the team has been playing a lot better and it's allowed me to look better.
Huhi switched to support about a year ago and you guys came together in kind of an emergency situation. You've played with him in the past, so I'd love to hear he's improved in the Summer.
I think for huhi, his time in Academy really helped him improved a lot. In 2019 Summer, he was still learning the role and being put into the LCS when we weren't ready yet as a bot duo was pretty bad. The biggest thing was his confidence is at a really high level when he was subbed back in and ever since then, he's been playing really well, being really decisive.
Honestly, I think League of Legends is really mental-based game and he was really confident when he came back from Academy.
I feel that in his best games, he's been able to have agency and make the plays needed for the team. Is that something you feel comes from the synergy you guys have developed, or has he just improved on his own?
I'd say a bit of both. We've done a lot better as duo, we understand what each other's thinking, kill windows in bottom and when to push a lane as a duo. I also think he's improved a lot. The champions he couldn't play before he can now play at a really high level. There's no issue with champion pool and he can always bust out pocket picks, like his Sett, for example, is the best support Sett in NA.
And we know his Lux is still fire, right?
The team's only real swap in summer was Damonte. How has swapping this mid laner affected the way you play as ADC? From what we've seen, you've been the primary carry damage-wise for the team's wins.
The swap from Goldenglue to Damonte was really good for the team. Tanner just takes up a lot of resources and is a lot more willing to play for the team. Greyson was also willing to play for the team, but Tanner just does a better job of facilitating his teammates, especially Closer. It's been really good for the team, when he takes up that more supportive role. He's good at Galio, TF, all these kinds of mids.
What are your thoughts on the playoffs and Golden Guardian's chances here?
I want to say to the fans that even though we had a very disappointing final week, it didn't change our seeding and if anything, it'd help us perform better in playoffs. These losses showed the issues we have to work on as a team.
In these last weeks, I played really, really bad and messed up critical moments. I want to say to the fans that it's not going to happen in playoffs, guaranteed. We'll go to Worlds.
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FBI is a very desired fantasy asset heading into the playoffs, and I completely understand why. He is just incredibly safe. He is not an erratic player, no tilting, just plays a steady brand of LoL that translates to a dependable stream of fantasy points. He has scored 14+ points in 15 of his 18 matches on the season and now has a very forgiving schedule int he first week of the playoffs to make his point production even safer. You will not lose any sleep at night with FBI in your lineup.
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Esports editor and journalist of 10+ years. Lives on black tea and corgi love.