After losing its first match of the 2021 League of Legends Championship Series Mid-Season Showdown against Team Liquid, TSM has bounced back. Facing elimination against Evil Geniuses, TSM won its first lower bracket match 3-1 to stay alive in the post-season. TSM's next match will be against the winner of tomorrow's match between 100 Thieves and Dignitas, while the loser of the match will join EG in elimination.
After defeating Evil Geniuses, TSM top laner Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon spoke to Inven Global about his pocket pick Nocturne top, his role within TSM throughout the season, and who he expects to face in TSM's next match of the LCS Mid-Season Showdown.
Congrats on your win today, Huni. As someone who has previously expressed enjoying playing against his former teams, was beating Evil Geniuses make this win extra special for you?
Yeah, I mean, it's always fun to win against your former team. It's better to stay in the bracket than to go home, so we take those.
Your top lane Nocturne made the series exciting. Can you discuss the methodology of this pick and what led to you picking it against EG today?
First of all, there was a reason my Nocturne priority in this series was always high. Nocturne is generally good against Jiizuke's champion pool.
Jiizuke loves to always pick assassins or melee champions, but the way I see it, Nocturne kind of counters most of the champions he plays. That's why I picked it up. Also, Jiizuke goes for a lot of overaggressive plays, so that's one of the easiest picks for me to play in punishing him. The good champions in this meta are champions with a good source of AD, good engage, and good teamfighting, too. That's why I picked Nocturne.
Despite playing entirely carries today, we've mostly seen you on low-econ, weak-side picks for TSM in 2021. How would you describe your role within TSM's identity, and how has the team evolved to allow you to play more of your trademark carry champions?
I'm really comfortable playing whatever the team needs. Since I have a deep champion pool, I can be really flexible and play anything. Right now, I think we're just putting a lot of focus on giving me comfort matchups to make sure I can impact the map a lot.
It's pretty easy to play off of the map with my team, and I think one of my greatest strengths is being able to play well mechanically and control side lanes on any champion. That's why I played picks today for side laning and/or outscaling. Those kind of things are pretty easy for us to play off of as a team.
Also, in the last game, EG had to ban Nocturne, so I think that points towards another big strength of mine — I don't think Evil Geniuses was ready to play against Nocturne top, even though he's a really good champion.
You've been successful on all types of champions this split. Do you think you've dispelled the myth you can only succeed on aggressive carry champions?
I'm not sure. I think I'm a player who has improved the most at being able to play whatever my team wants. I've shown this on SK Telecom T1, Fnatic, and even Clutch Gaming who needed a carry. I don't really care, though. In terms of how things can look when I'm playing on stage sometimes, I kind of agree, but I don't think it makes sense to say that I can play only one way, or that no matter what I need to be the carry. Those things are kind of false.
100 Thieves and Dignitas play tomorrow, and the winner will play against TSM in your next match. Who do you think you will end up facing?
I think Dignitas is performing pretty fine, but honestly, neither team is a top team. I would say it's clear that TSM, TL, and C9 are the strongest teams. The other teams are kind of...whatever.
I don't think it matters who comes to face us, but I guess I'd prefer it to be Dignitas so I can beat another one of my former teams. That would feel even better. *laughs* I beat EG, so it'd make sense for me to beat DIG next.