TSM Hauntzer: "I don't feel like the NA top laners have anything over me."

As promised by TSM’s head coach Ssong, TSM has improved substantially since the first week.

By knocking down one of the top name teams in the NA LCS, TSM scored a win against CLG. With many factors in play, it seems that TSM has finally found their magic. May it be Mike getting used to competitive play or TSM bonding well as a whole, there is no doubt that TSM is well on their way in meeting everyone’s expectations.

Amongst the TSM roster, one player has been given the title for the best GP player in the NA LCS. That player is none other than Hauntzer. Hauntzer has been consistently performing well on a weak laner such as GP. Winning match ups that are extremely unfavorable, Hauntzer has made a mark as one of the best top laners in the NA LCS.

After the game against CLG in week 4, Inven Global interviewed TSM’s top laner, Hauntzer. Let’s see what Hauntzer has to say about TSM’s progress, laning as GP, and MikeYeung.

¤ How do you feel about your win against CLG?

Overall, it was a pretty clean win. CLG picked a fairly cheesy comp, and they had to play split push. We just got one or two picks around Baron. Once we got Baron, it was over. Besides me dying to Huhi, which was really my bad, I think we played really well.

¤ As you may know, TSM has not had the greatest of starts. How has your team atmosphere been compared to the results you guys have been getting?

Despite our record right now, I think we have a really good team atmosphere. We are not necessarily too focused on the record. I feel like our skill level does not match our record. Looking back at our performances, we know easily what we need to do better. I just feel like it is up to us to keep improving and performing on stage.

¤ When we interviewed Zven and Mithy last week, they told us that Bjergsen and them would tend to be more vocal in post match discussions compared to you and Mike. Is this all true? Do you tend to think to yourself before you speak or are you much more vocal?

Hmm… I think it is mainly true. They are more vocal for sure. I tend to prefer to reflect on my own play first and then discuss what team plays we could or should have done. This is due to, Zven and Mithy wanting to make more of the team’s decisions. This gave me some room to think about my own individual performance. If I do see something we could improve on or do differently, I will speak up for sure.

¤ Do you think you act like this because you are a top laner? Since, top lane is so 1v1 and mechanic focused. Or do you think it is just you as a person?

I think it is really a mixture of both. This is because of the meta right now. There are a lot of split pushing champions like Vlad, Fiora, Camille, and GP. You are really just staying on an island while your team is doing other things. The team is more in control of the macro. If it was a tank meta, you would play around the team with tp more often. I just like to focus on myself and work on self improvement.

¤ When you know a certain point is the best, would you speak it out loud or do you wait for the discussion to calm down a bit before giving your opinion?

There is this problem on our team when we just talk too much. We tend to repeat a lot of the same stuff. Because of this sometimes, we need to talk over each other. When I do see a better play, I will definitely talk over someone. We just circle jerk the same issues over and over. Our discussions tend to go back and forth on the same issue, and I think that is the main issue with our team right now.

¤ Since you said you like to focus more on your own performances, are you satisfied with your own performances for the past 4 weeks? Or do you feel like you have a lot more to show?

I feel like there are always things that you can improve on. I think in this split, I am especially learning a lot. In terms of the performance I had on stage, I would say it is 50/50. I can definitely do a lot better. For example on GP, I lane really well and I farm really well. However in teamfights, I don’t do the best barrels. On other champions such as Vlad, I can lane well but teamfights can be a bit difficult. There are always things to improve on. That is for sure.

¤ Many casters are claiming that you are the best GP player in the NA LCS. What is your secret to winning tough matchups as GP?

I think the big secret is that you need to make sure you get Sheen on your first base in lane. Once you get Sheen, it is just all about positioning the wave and hitting your barrels. With Sheen, your Q and barrels does good harass. You just need to make sure you harass them enough to make sure it is harder for your laner to suppress you. If the game is really hard for you in the early game, you need to make sure you use your ult to farm and not for the map. You need to be a bit selfish to get items or get a good base off. Once you get Tri-Force, the game is really easy.

¤ When you reach the wave as a top laner, you usually want to use your skills to poke before farming it out. In these moments, you tend to get a grasp of how aggressive or passive your laner is. Have you ever thought ‘what is this guy doing?’ towards the NA LCS top laners?

Oh yes (laughs). There is one player… I don’t know if I should say his name. Playing against Flame in scrims… man… he is the most try hard player in the world. He does anything to cheese you. I think it is the same with Darshan. When I see them play like this in scrims, I think to myself ‘This is never going to work in live games, so why the hell are you doing it. You are trying so hard.’. Besides this, I think you can definitely tell a player’s mentality. Some players when I lane against them, I can tell they have a mental block against me. When they have a counter match up, they don’t play the match up right and they start losing. It is really obvious that they just don’t know what they are doing. Other players are confident, so they play the lane how it is supposed to be played.

¤ As you may know, a player’s mentality is crucial when playing top. If you tilt, you lose the lane outright. Is there anything you do specifically to tilt your laners?

I’m not too sure. I guess out playing them? For instance when you play with or against a GP, it is always a battle to hit the barrels. It is a game of who can hit the barrels better. I feel like I usually have the edge in that department. Whenever I kill the enemy barrels, they are like ‘Oh..s***’ (laughs). They think ‘Damn, he could do that anytime he wants.’, and it would put a lot of stress on them. Other instances would be to have good control of the river plant. For example, you would go for an all in and take the river plant. The enemy would be half hp, and I would be full hp. They would just think ‘Oh s***, I lost lane’ (laughs).

¤ You and your teammates have only said good things about MikeYeung so far. If you had to say one bad thing about Mike, what would it be?

Oh… (laughs). I really hate that he eats really loud. I have to sit next to him, and it really triggers me. Uhm… he says a lot of dumb stuff (laughs). For instance, we would argue over something and Bjergsen would say a point. Mike would shout ‘NO’ and say the exact same thing Bjergsen just said. We are all like ‘Mike are you serious?’ (laughs). Generally, I feel like he gets easily stressed out. I think if he plays more off his instinct, he will play a lot better.

¤ From past interviews and what we are getting from you know, you seem to have a lot of confidence in yourself. In the NA LCS, where would you rank yourself as a top laner?

Ough. It is hard to imagine anyone better than me, especially off scrims. Scrims is a good way to see how good you are playing. In scrims, I feel like there is no competition. Obviously, there are good top laners. All the Korean top laners are really good. Also, you got Licorice.... and uh… and… oh Darshan. These top laners are really strong, but I don’t feel like they have anything over me. As long as I keep practicing, they are never going to get that edge on me.

¤ If you were to rank yourself as #1, who would you rank as second or third?

It is hard because it all depends on what champion you play right? Although we haven’t met against C9 yet, I feel like Licorice and Impact are the best. I don’t think Ssumday, Flame, and Darshan are playing their best right now. Maybe, it is because of the new teams or some other factor. I think Impact is the best for sure. He has the most fundamentals. The others are strong, but they are not at the top.

¤ Lastly, is there anything you want to say to your team, fans, or even just a random comment?

Ough (laughs). To my team, I want to say to not listen to the feedback on Reddit. All the people on Reddit are pretty dumb, and they don’t know what they are talking about (laughs). They just meme a lot, so just ignore that s***. To our fans, I want to tell them to keep believing. You guys know we are a strong team. I think that is why you follow us. We are consistently going to be the best. In regards to playoffs, there is almost a 0% chance we don’t make it to playoffs. When we make playoffs, we are going to reach the finals. When we get to the finals, we are going to win.

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