100 Thieves is certainly in an interesting spot. Last year's LCS champions have continued to be one of the best teams in the league, but have perhaps not had the same fanfare that other rosters have enjoyed. Despite possessing one of the best records of the regular season, team members like Choi "huhi" Jae-hyun feel a lot of the community's focus is only on their failure rather than their much more frequent success. Inven Global had the opportunity to speak with huhi, and discuss his thoughts on his team, how their bot lane has continued to improve, and the perception of 100 Thieves in the LCS.
You and FBI have been doing so well recently. It’s strange, considering how the current meta doesn't seem to make it easier for the bottom lane to excel — what do you think caused your guys’ improvement?
We had a mindset change — coming into this split and the last split, we were a little too confident in ourselves in the bot lane. For example, when it was called that the jungle will be bot side, we know that the enemy is coming to bot side, or we're losing in a two-versus-two match-up, we would still try to play aggressive and outplay instead of gracefully losing in the situation.
And we realized that that's one of our biggest problems. We started to play a little smarter again, like in the split that we won the championship. And yeah, that's a must-have for a pro player, and I think that's why FBI and I have been performing a lot better.
Describe to me the process of working with FBI and how you guys reflect on your play together.
FBI still and I still talk about bot lane a lot — no matter if we're winning or losing. After the scrim block, or after the LCS games: just having that conversation that deeply with an AD carry and the support makes you stay on the same page a lot. And FBI and I always have that. Sometimes, it's not gonna go well, and sometimes it goes really well. We're not really scared of those moments. We are kind of naturally building up knowledge together, and know how to play with each other. And also about the matchups, we are mostly on the same page if we want to play the matchup or not. So all of those is what's helping.
It seems like your team a lot of times gives you counter-pick — sometimes making Ssumday draft blind. Would you say that gives a significant advantage to the bot lane, or why does your team many times opt for that choice?
I mean, counter-picks are always good. But, usually for our team, we usually pick what we think is the best. So I don't think we're really thinking about the counter-picks too much, but we're thinking about what is the best blind, as well. And it's all of those things that play into it. And if I do get a counter-pick in the bot lane, I am pretty confident that we're going to snowball.
I want to look at 100 Thieves as a whole. You guys are still one of the best teams in the LCS, but obviously have experienced some hiccups. Do you think your current record reflects your level of play?
Honestly speaking, I don't think it does. Because I know how much better we can be as a team. But luckily, we're still on the top floor in the standings, even though we're playing like this. That can only be an upside, because we all know that we can play so much better, even in the wins, and especially in games versus like FlyQuest. I think that's why the standing doesn't really reflect us. But it's also a good thing, because even though we have that many problems to solve, we're still on a top level. That gives me more confidence that if we actually click and ramp up for playoffs, it's gonna be an easy win.
As you mentioned with FlyQuest, 100 Thieves still goes through lulls where you lose games to the lower-ranked teams in the league — how would you explain this?
Right now, we have the mindset of experimenting on stage, because playing certain champions in scrims and playing on stage are two totally different things. And in the regular split, we already have the mindset of preparing for the playoffs, even though it's in the middle of the split. So we want that experience built up for playoffs so that we are ready for them, and know what type of champions we want to pull off and what new strategies we can pull off as well.
What are your general thoughts of FQ? Some see them as the dark horse of the LCS — do you see truth in that?
I definitely think they're actually not a bad team, especially their mid laner toucouille has been popping off whenever I see them play. But that being said, based on the game that I played on stage versus them, it's hard to judge. Not to discredit them, but it was more so on us not having a good draft and not doing anything in the game. So it's hard to tell personally, but based on what I've been watching, I think they're actually not a bad team at all.
What’s your opinion of the perception of 100 Thieves? It seems the only time people are vocal about the team is when you guys have a loss like the one against FlyQuest. Why do you think that is?
I think we have a lot of doubters and haters. I definitely feel when we lose, everyone talks about us. And when we win, it's like, "Whatever." But yeah, that just gives us more drive to win again. In the end, we obviously want the support and be the favorites, but for now, we're using that as a drive to refocus and be at the top again. And it's been going not bad.
You've been on championship teams in the past — is that par for the course, or is that unusual to you? Why do you think your team has that perception?
It is definitely a common thing in my career. Even when I was in CLG, they preferred other teams such as Team Liquid, TSM, and Cloud9 back then. And when we were losing, we were kind of getting focused on. It's a similar situation on 100 Thieves too. I'm actually not sure why that is. But maybe we need to have more of a character on the team or something. But all of us are more so focused on winning. And that just makes it maybe a little boring for other people to watch us or to cheer for us. That's my guess.
Editor note: The article was edited for brevity.
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