After placing 9th in the 2018 NA LCS Spring Split, OpTic Gaming found themselves in a heated race for a playoff spot with none other than TSM. Faced with the hardest remaining schedule of any team in the NA LCS, OpTic Gaming took a huge step forward with an upset over Echo Fox.
If OpTic Gaming can defeat TSM in their Week 9 match, they will secure the first NA LCS playoff berth in the history of the GreenWall.
OpTic’s improvements from spring to summer come in no small part from Terry “Big” Chuong. Signed as the starting Support for OpTic Gaming ahead of the 2018 NA LCS Summer Split, Big has led his team to a fringe playoff standing as the primary shotcaller, keeping OpTic together late into the game where they do their best work.
Whether it be a split-push courtesy of Niship “Dhokla” Doshi or a masterful 6-item teamfight by star carries Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage and Noh “Arrow” Dong-tak, OpTic Gaming have made their name on bringing things down to the wire under their Support’s unifying voice.
Following OpTic Gaming’s triumph over Echo Fox, Big sat down with InvenGlobal to discuss OpTic’s exciting summer and playoff hopes.
We’re here with OpTic Gaming Support Big after a very exciting victory over Echo Fox. That was a very well-played game by you guys, and you had a difficult composition to execute. Can you tell me more about your game plan coming into today’s match?
It was a pretty simple game plan. We wanted to 1-3-1 with Draven being sped up by Zilean for while our solo laners pressured side lanes. Draven gets really strong after throwing a few axes, so he can run people down with Zilean speeding him up while remaining safe.
You guys have the toughest schedule left of any team, so this is a pretty big win for you guys. How important was it to defeat Echo Fox today?
It was really important for us to win this game if we want to get to playoffs. We’re pretty much competing with TSM for the last spot, and that TSM game is the most important game of all. All we have to do is beat them, and we’re in. If we lose, then we will probably have to play them again in a tie-breaker for the final playoff seed.
Do you still keep in touch with anyone on Echo Fox?
I don’t really keep in touch with anyone because I’m not much of a social person. There’s maybe one person out of every couple of my former teams that I keep in touch with, but aside from that, I’m not very outgoing.
Does being the primary shotcaller on your team clash with your personality?
Everyone has different personal motivation. I like being helpful to people. The first team I shotcalled for were pushing me to do it, and I figured I’d give it a try for the betterment of the team. Now here I am shotcalling in an NA LCS playoff race. I’m doing it for the greater good, not for me.
I don’t really have a set plan when it comes to shotcalling, I just act on the spot. It’s not very elaborate.
Usually, you’re the one to calm down your team during tense moments in communications. In our interview with Dhokla, he mentioned how good you are at re-aligning the team’s focus when everyone is out of control.
Yeah, I usually am groaning at them. “Calm downnnn. Shut upppp. Stop panicking!” (laughs) That kind of stuff. Then once people are listening to me, I tell them the plan.
If OpTic Gaming is to make the playoffs, is there a specific team that you’d like to play against?
I haven’t really thought that far ahead. It’d be really cool to get into playoffs because it would be my first time. But it would be awesome to be on stage for the Finals, or even Semifinals, or even even for 3rd or 4th place! I don’t care. As long as I’m there, I know that I’m doing good for myself.
What about a team that you guys definitely don’t want to play against?
Team Liquid. We just turn off our brains and start choking when we play against them. I don’t know, maybe we’re scared of them, but it just feels like we have a mental block against them because they’re the top team.
Doublelift and Olleh are a really experienced Bot Lane. They know what to do when they’re behind, and they’re not going to panic on a 3-man dive and lose their tower. They’re going to know exactly what to do and brush it off, whereas I’ll be like, “Oh my god they got our tower what do we do?!”
I think it just comes down to the amount of times you’ve been in the situation.
What’s the vibe for you guys on OpTic Gaming with things coming down to the wire for playoffs?
For me personally, I’m a nervous wreck. It’s so close, and I don’t want to be the reason we don’t make it. I don’t want to flub it, but then on the opposite side, Tristan is in the Mid Lane like, “Don’t worry man. It’s all going to work out. Just play your best and have no regrets, and if you don’t make it, oh well!”
The rest of the team is pretty much in the middle of those two extremes.
Have you noticed a difference in your team since Croissant started joining the team on stage for Draft Phase? You guys have been mixing things up in the draft a lot lately with picks like Draven and Fizz.
On stage, he doesn’t talk that much because we already have a game plan. But when we’re first making the game plan, he’ll help Zaboutine prepare it and try to think of creative picks we can use to innovate. Zaboutine will ask how we’re feeling about different champions and changes on the patch or the Akali rework, for example. If he notices something really important that we don’t, he will bring it up.
What’s OpTic Gaming’s opinion of the new Akali?
We think she’s pretty strong right now. It’s really hard to tell since it’s only been one week. No one has figured out exactly how to play against her yet, so she’s pretty good.
There’s a lot more Mid Lane assassins in the current meta. Will we see more shielding supports to counter that as we have in the past?
I don’t think we’ll see Support changes since Mid currently picks later on in competitive drafting. I think it’s just comp-based for the most part. The LeBlanc has always been there, and Fizz just got buffed, so that’s why we’re seeing some more mobility in the mid lane meta.
Since this is your first interview with Inven, we’d love to know who you’ve looked up to in your career. Is there a player you’ve modeled yourself after or aspired to match?
I wouldn't say that I had any players that I modeled myself as, but I did look up to the legends like Ssumday or Froggen; people like these who came to NA. When I first got to play with them, I thought it was crazy. I was like "Whoa, I have a legend on my team!"
After getting used to them, I found out that they were just any other guy, just chill, who happened to play the game better than I did. (Laughs) Froggen was so chill as a teammate, and Ssumday is always so buddy-buddy.
It takes a whole team to win a game, and maybe other people are less phased by it, but when it sunk in that literally Ssumday was my Top Laner on Dignitas, for example, that was a big adjustment for me.
Have you been equally starstruck by opponents? If not, do you think an opportunity to play internationally would change that?
I don’t think so because I have a different view with popular players. For some reason, it’s just the legendary players that come to play in the NA LCS that really make me go, “Oh my god it’s happening!”
Your teammates Arrow and PowerOfEvil are pretty decorated players in their own right, coming from LCK and EU LCS respectively. Did you have a similar reaction when being signed to OpTic as you did to your previous experiences with Echo Fox and Dignitas?
Arrow has been around for a while now, so it wasn’t that intense or surreal. But for Tristan, my first reaction was like, “Man, I can’t believe I’ve got PowerOfCash on my team! This guy’s here for the big bucks.” (laughs)
Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?
Thank you so much for supporting us. I’ll see you at playoffs, Worlds, and in the anime community!