Golden Guardians went 0-2 in their first weekend of the 2022 LCS Spring Split, but it's hard to fault them — visa issues, primarily for support Kim "Olleh" Joo-sung, prevented the team from gathering and practicing as a full starting five until less than a week ago. Golden Guardians Academy competed in the LCS Lock In in place of the main roster.
After Golden Guardians' first loss of the season to Cloud9, GG AD carry Lawrence "Lost" Hui spoke to Inven Global about how he joined his new team, his time on TSM in 2021, and how Hu "SwordArt" Shuo-Chieh helped him grow as a player last season.
Despite the loss today, it was nice to finally see the starting Golden Guardians roster on stage. How long have you guys had to practice after overcoming visa complications?
We've played together for less than a week. That's not great before heading into the start of the regular season, but we're doing what we can. Visas can make things a bit difficult, but you make due with what you have.
Were you one of the players with visa delays, or have you been in the US for some time before the season?
For the most part, I've been playing with the team for a while. The majority of the delays were in the support role for Olleh.
Every teammate on GG is a new teammate for you. What are your first impressions of them?
My first impression of our current team is that it's a pretty unique team. I think Golden Guardians, as a team and overall as an organization, has a very kind vibe. People are super polite and super kind in general. They've really been facilitating around concerns like understanding the emotions of one another, being nice, and for the most part just giving a lot of freedom to the players in terms of how we want to play and practice.
That's been really nice from the organization, as well as the team itself and how it runs. We have a really unique playstyle too — first pick Yuumi, crazy junglers for Pride — we've definitely got a lot going on here.
Olleh hasn't played competitively in three splits, and hasn't played in LCS since 2019. How do you think he's shaken the rust off thus far early in the season?
He's kind of just getting back into the swing of things. Obviously, after playing solo queue for a year without playing competitively, you're communications and the way your mind thinks about the game is very different than when you play competitively. Olleh's played competitively before and he has a good eye for the game. In the coming weeks, we should start to shape into a better bot lane.
You've been coached by Inero before on Echo Fox in 2018. Was your familiarity with him a factor in your decision to play for Golden Guardians this season?
I think being able to be coached by Nick again is nice. I think familiarity is important in being able to know you can trust someone on their word or when talking things out during the off-season. For the most part, I think this was a good roster for me to join. I think we have a good shot at upsetting a lot of the teams perceived as top teams going into this season.
What can you tell me about how the offseason went for you? How did you end up on GG for the 2022 season?
I wasn't in TSM's plans for this season, and they made that obvious to me. That kind of came at a later date because they were going through all their scenarios as every team does. I was in one scenario and I wasn't in the other, so they were holding off on that for a while. After they made their decision, it ended up being the scenario without my inclusion, so I ended up talking to other teams.
A big part of why I keep playing professionally is because my dream is to go to Worlds, perform well, and be known as one of the better bot laners at the tournament. In pursuit of that, I just wanted to choose the most competitive roster I possibly could, and GG ended up being the most competitive roster I could join, so I'm happy to be here.
You were very close to reaching that goal last year — one game away against Cloud9. From your perspective, are you motivated by the closeness of the achievement or by the narrow margin in which you missed Worlds 2021?
I think being one game away, or in general, if you're a competitor that's close to achieving a goal — Why not give it another shot? Why not continue and keep pushing forward? If you can almost make it, then put in that extra 10-30% to make things more efficient with your practice and your play and hope that you make it in the future of your career. That's the mindset I have.
I really want to reach this goal I set for myself at the start. Otherwise, why would I keep playing professionally?
Despite missing Worlds, TSM had a very competitive season domestically in 2021. How do you feel about your individual play on TSM last year?
I wish I could have done a lot more in 2021. I think if I had done just a little bit better, we could have made it to MSI and we could have made it to Worlds, but there are thousands of what-ifs, you know?
In the end, there is only one winner in the LCS, and only three teams that make it to Worlds.
In terms of my individual performance on TSM, I don't think I did well at all in the Spring Split, but as time went on, I think SwordArt and I played much better as a bot lane in general towards the summer playoffs.
I'm proud of that and I'm proud of the advancements and improvements I made throughout the year when comparing the 2021 LCS Lock In and Spring Split to our 1st place finish in the Summer Split and making it so close to going to Worlds. I went 3-2 against a team that made the quarterfinals of Worlds 2021, so it's not the worst. Seeing that progress felt good from my point of view.
Was there anything specific that you felt you improved on while playing for TSM in 2021?
I think my laning phase in particular got a lot better towards the end of the season. My matchup knowledge and general laning in the first few minutes of the game 2v2 was, for the most part, was the most improved.
Was working with SwordArt specifically helpful with improving your laning phase, or were these improvements you made on your own through getting more LCS experience than ever before in your career?
SwordArt and Bjergsen definitely had an influence on me as a player, and not just my view on the game and its specifics. SwordArt gave me a different perspective on practice and how I should view the game outside of it. He kind of helped sharpen my idea of what winning League of Legends looks like and that was really invaluable to me.
I would like to thank him in the future for giving me the help and for me having the privilege to play with him in 2021. That was really enjoyable from the aspect of improvement.