While Team Liquid's LCS squad is battling to win the Spring Playoffs, Team Liquid Academy has blessed the organization with another crowning achievement. In a 3-2 win over 100 Thieves Academy, TLA crowned themselves champions of 2022 LCS Proving Grounds Spring.
A large part of TLA's success in 2022 has been due to support Bill "Eyla" Nguyen, who, since returning from subbing in the LCS for Jo "CoreJJ" Yong-in, has re-established himself as the best player in the LCS Academy league. After winning 2022 LCS Proving Grounds Spring, Eyla spoke to Inven Global about triumphing over 100 Thieves Academy, how his time in the LCS helped him grow as a player, and his respect for 100A jungler Shane Kenneth "Kenvi" Espinoza.
I'm here with TLA support Eyla after a close series to win 2022 LCS Proving Grounds Spring? How are you feeling?
Honestly, I'm pretty exhausted. I tried really hard during the whole series and I think having a strong performing bot lane was crucial to our ability to win. I was really focused on what to do in draft, how we win games, how we push our advantages, and our skill gap in the bot lane. It's honestly very tiring to take on that carry role and push yourself to be part of the reason why your team wins, but honestly, I'm also really happy.
I know that's been a role you've been looking to take on TLA throughout this season. Did your time in the LCS make you feel even more responsible as a leader for your team to get the win today?
I think being in LCS really helped me out with becoming the leader of TLA. That experience helped back me up, but I think I would have gone into this year the same way regardless of whether I played LCS or not.
There wasn't a guarantee that I would play in the LCS in 2022, so going into this year, my plan was always to become a much more lane dominant bot lane and be a sort of leader that would push us to become better. This is my second year playing in NA, so I have a bit more experience. Playing in LCS definitely helped me out, but regardless, I was always looking to take on this role in TLA.
You mentioned the importance of a strong bot lane in this series, and for me, the defining moment of the series was that Renata Glasc play in game 5 that was followed up by the Zeri of your AD carry Sean "Yeon" Sung.
We haven't really seen a lot of successful Renata Glasc in North America, so can you talk about the conditions of selecting this champion and how you were able to execute on the pick?
Renata has been one of our more commonly practiced picks, so I obviously feel very comfortable on it. It's a new champion, but I pride myself on being very mechanically adept, so when she came out, I practiced her a lot. She has a lot of interesting cc that can have a lot of impact. Based on how the series was going, I knew Renata in game 5 would be the pick to win the series. I'm happy that it did win the series.
Last time I spoke to CoreJJ, he told me Renata hadn't been figured out by LCS yet, but that he would change that. Did you work on this pick with him at all, or was it more solo grinding to master the champion?
Obviously, when a new champion comes out, you test it out a lot. Initially, I thought it was kind of weak, but when Core came back, he said it was really strong. I kept testing it out more and we both came to the agreement that the champion is broken.
Would you say that this is the best League of Legends you've played in your career?
Definitely. I pride myself on getting better every year. I've never once thought that I played better in a previous year than I was at the time. To me, it's a graph that trends straight upwards.
I definitely think I'm playing much better now than I was last year. We drew a lot of respect bans on Karma, Lucian, and Nami — I think Karma was almost permabanned against us, and on the games it was open, we would just pick it and destroy them. Having that sort of pressure on other teams where they have to watch out and ban specific champions against us or their bot lane will get destroyed is something I'm really happy about.
You're widely considered to be the best player in the Academy system. Outside of your teammates on TLA, who comes closest to challenging you for that title?
If I'm not including any of my teammates, I think it's Kenvi. 100 Thieves Academy were running the lower bracket and we were analyzing them like we have all season. I think the biggest reason 100 were able to even reach finals in the first place was because of Kenvi. He had a lot of impact in the games and he gave us a lot of trouble both last year and this year, especially in this series. I have a lot of respect for Kenvi.
You beat 100 Thieves Academy today, and tomorrow, Team Liquid plays against 100 Thieves in the 2022 LCS Spring Playoffs. Is there anything you want to say to your LCS teammates?
We beat 100 Thieves Academy. We paved the way for you guys to succeed.