TSM has guaranteed a top 3 finish in the 2021 League of Legends Championship Series Mid-Season Showdown after elimnating 100 Thieves 3-1. True to form, TSM fell behind in every early game of the series, but turned the tides in the mid game by playing to its decision-making and teamfighting strengths. TSM will face off against Team Liquid at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, with the winner meeting Cloud9 in the finals for a shot at representing NA at the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational.
TSM AD carry Lawrence "Lost" Hui spoke to Inven Global after defeating 100 Thieves to share his thoughts on the series, his growth throughout the season, and playing in the upcoming game against Team Liquid, which will be the first offline LCS match in over a calendar year.
Congrats on the win, Lost. How are you feeling?
F*CK...F*CK... *laughs* F*CK...I didn't play as well as I wanted to, man, but, it's still a birthday dub, so I feel pretty good, honestly. We ended up winning, but I'm pretty upset with myself for not playing up to the standard that I think I can play at, but obviously, when push came to shove, what showed was not enough in my opinion. FBI played really well, though.
In that case, maybe your team carrying you to the birthday win is your present.
Well, on a team level, how did things go compared to your expectations today?
*laughs* Honestly, it's kind of funny in a sense that a lot of our wins in the Spring Split and in this lower bracket are just randomly heisted off of a Baron steal or some other type of miracle play. It could have been a 3-0, too, if we had executed better around that fight at Elder Drake. We have this magic. We just heist wins out of nowhere. *laughs* And I guess, in this win, it showed up too. Maybe we have some genie that gives us this ability.
Your usage of the word heist after this series is appreciated. That being said, 100 Thieves won every early game this series, but only won a single game. Was it part of the plan to sacrifice the early game and turn the game over in the mid game this series, or was that a result of subpar execution from TSM?
*laughs* Yeah, I think we dropped the early game for a lot of strength in the mid game and late game in terms of teamfighting power. Obviously, the type of champions we were drafting for this kind of lack early game agency and ability to be very aggressive in the first 10-15 minutes of the game. Style-wise I think we played pretty well. I think our teamfight execution and our mid game are pretty big strengths of ours, and that showed during this series.
Obviously, the games were pretty messy overall, but I think us playing to our strengths is ultimately what made us the eventual winners of the series, which is our macro and teamfighting in the mid game and late game. I'm glad we were able to win in that sense, but obviously, we don't want to be in such huge deficits where we have to steal or sneak a Baron in order to win our games. *laughs*
Despite TSM's strong neutral objective control, 100 Thieves secured the majority of the dragons in this series. Was that part of the plan of de-prioritizing the early game?
No, I think we did put a lot of emphasis on objective control in terms of whether we could fight for dragons, but I think a lot of the times, we just weren't favored in the situations or we needed to trade for resources elsewhere. We weren't often set up for a proper 4v4 situation because of how the early games went, so naturally, we weren't going to get as many dragons with less agency in the early game in how the games played out.
I think if we played better, we could have gotten a lot more early dragons, but a lot of early games didn't go to plan and that's probably why 100 Thieves ended up getting way more dragons than we did this series.
It sounds like you think this series should have been less close than it was.
Hm...no, I think that 100 Thieves was going to put up a fight no matter what. I could easily be playing game 5 right now, that's for sure. *laughs* They had a lot of agency in the last game, and if they had played better, I think they could have easily closed it out. As it is with every series, it's about who shows up better on the day, but I didn't think 100 Thieves were a worse team than us going into this match whatsoever.
I'm really glad we ended up winning, but it would be a discredit to them to say they didn't also play to their strengths well in this series.
Despite your measured perspective of the series and your disappointment with your own play, it's impressive that you were still able to make daring, pivotal plays. Almost immediately after a failed assassination attempt on Tommy "ry0ma" Le's Tristana, you carried the game-winning teamfight with over 6,000 damage.
How do you make sure you have the confidence to make these daring plays despite knowing you're not playing up to the level of your opponent in FBI?
*laughs* I think I see it as more of a systematic thing. I have pretty high expectations for myself, and every time I mis-execute a play, like the one on ry0ma like you said, my head doesn't come out of the game. *laughs* I'm just really disappointed after I make a play like that or a really crucial mistake. I feel bad about missing a big opportunity because I know I can execute on those plays and can do better.
Not showing up in the moment feels bad, but my head is still in the game after, you know? I see every play systematically, and that's probably why I can come up big another teamfight and play it well. I just wish I could play each situation perfectly. *laughs* That's the goal, in the end.
It's totally understandable to hold yourself to a higher standard, but it's undeniable that you've had these big pivotal moments for TSM throughout the season. Do you feel you've performed to the expectations initially set when you were promoted to TSM's LCS roster, and at this point in the season, are you satisfied with your growth?
Honestly, I'm happy with how far I've come. If you watch our initial games in the 2021 LCS Lock In, I think you can see it. I've come a long way from being that player.
I don't think I've come far enough for one to say that I'm a top 2 AD carry in the region yet, so that's still a goal that I want to achieve, especially this year, obviously. Time will tell whether or not I can reach it, but I am satisfied with how far I've come. However, that doesn't mean I'm lax or not looking for more. This is just the first step.
My end goal dream is to do well at Worlds and be able to tell myself that I was one of the standout players in a Worlds Group Stage. I think that's a pretty far goal. *laughs* But that's what I want to have when I retire. I'm pretty satisfied with the progress I've made, but there's still a lot more to do and to be achieved.
Your next match will be against Team Liquid at the Greek Theatre, which will be the first offline LCS match in over a year. I'm sure you're looking forward to that experience, but do you think transitioning back to offline play will be difficult? Or will it be easy because the game is obviously better without lag?
*laughs* Yeah, the game is much better without lag, for sure, but it's going to be pretty interesting going back to the offline setup. I think in the our case, as well as TSM's and C9's, a lot of the players have played on stage for a super long time.
As for me, I've only played on stage for a handful of games in both Academy and LCS. I think it's going to be pretty interesting for me, whereas the majority of the players on these three teams will be pretty comfortable. It's a really cool opportunity for me to play for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. In general, I'm excited to be playing, and I think this will be a good experience.
It will certainly be an exciting weekend, and last time you played Team Liquid, the series didn't go your way. However, TSM was in the same situation in the 2020 LCS Summer Playoffs in its rematch against Golden Guardians, and ended up winning the entire tournament. Do you think there are any takeaways from your first TL series, despite it ending in a loss, that will help you in your rematch at the Greek Theatre?
There's only so much you can do when changing your play in that period of time because every team has its own style. I think a big part of what plays into next week's match against TL is the fact that scrimming is pretty scuffed, usually. There isn't too much room to drastically change the way because of who you're scrimming, right? *laughs*
We've already learned from our last match against TL, and I think the biggest determining factor is just going to be the same as it always is in a post-season match. It comes down to how well you execute on your draft in general, and specifically, objective fights. I guess you couldn't say too much about that in our series today against 100 Thieves because there weren't that many objective fights. *laughs* We kind of just scaled and snuck a Nashor most of the time.
TL are obviously a very strong opponent, but we are going to have a lot to learn from this series against 100 Thieves. We have a lot of series' under our belts now because we dropped into the losers bracket in the first round. We are figuring out more about how we want to play and how we can fix a lot of our errors.
I wouldn't say this series against 100 Thieves was clean, and obviously, they put up a really good fight, but once again, I'm still confident going into the match against TL that we can win and we are going to win.
I just think we're going to be able to adapt enough during the week to beat them come the weekend, but that's not a discredit to them. They're an amazing team, and even if they lost to C9, they still 3-1'd us last time. Hopefully, each series is going to be really close win or lose and it will be exciting for the viewers to watch.