CGA Cody Sun: "When you tunnel vision on a goal, you forget that you're working with other people and that there are factors out of your control."

Cody "Cody Sun" Sun is looking to re-invent himself after a tumultuous end to the 2018 season.  After being named all-LCS AD Carry in the Spring Split, the 100 Thieves Bot Laner was benched in favor of rookie Samuel "Rikara" Oh. Cody Sun ceased to see regular playing time, and did not start a single game at the 2018 World Championship. 

In signing with Clutch Gaming Academy, Cody Sun has an opportunity to regain his confidence in a low stakes environment. In addition, Cody Sun gives Clutch Gaming depth at the AD Carry position in the event that Chae "Piglet" Gwang-Jin not reclaim his past form. 

After his experiences in 2018, Cody Sun isn't worried about what he can't control. The Canadian AD Carry took time out of his off-season to speak with me about his growth throughout the past season and his future plans with Clutch Gaming Academy. 

photo: LoL esports Flickr

Cody Sun, congratulations on joining Clutch Gaming Academy. Can you tell us how you came to join the team for the 2019 season?

When I was looking for a team, I was looking for an organization that I felt would best give me a chance in the long-term. Clutch Gaming seemed like they had a lot of respect for their players. They're a very player-focused organization, and they seemed very welcoming and interested in me. I like the organization's approach to player development, and after tryouts, it ended up being a good fit.

You mentioned via twitter earlier in the off-season that you hadn't received any LCS offers after a relatively successful year on 100 Thieves. Was that something that surprised you?

In the beginning of the off-season, I had some LCS offers. The talks seemed to be going pretty well  at first, but in the end, each organization decided to go with someone else. It was kind of surprising for me, because I thought that I was capable of playing LCS again.  I wanted to prove that I'm still a top ADC in the region.

However, an organization's decision is not entirely in my control, and I have to respect if they went for whoever was the best fit. After those talks ceased, I ended up fielding offers from the NA Academy League. 

▲ photo: LoL Esports Flickr

Your most recent trip to South Korea was in the form of a World Championship qualification with 100 Thieves. How did that compare to your first qualification in 2017 with Immortals?

This was my second time boot-camping in Korea for Worlds, so I kind of had a gist of the environment. We ended up staying at the same practice facility as last year, too. It was pretty cool already being familiar with things and knowing where to get food.

Would you have considered playing in South Korea or another major region if a notable organization like KT Rolster had made you an offer?

I really like going to Korea. Every time I've been there, it's always been a really good experience for me. I had some offers from other regions like Turkey, and I guess some of those offers were better than my NA Academy offers since it was a chance to play in a main league like TCL.

However, I felt like I wanted to stay in NA and finish what I started here instead of going to another region. I haven't finished what I've wanted to achieve in NA, so that's why I decided to stay despite having main roster offers in other regions.

What about Clutch Gaming Academy was appealing to you compared to other NA Academy League teams?

I was really impressed after the conversations I've had with Sebastian Park. He's very straightforward and honest with how he's operating things, and I really appreciate that. From my perspective, he knows a lot about the scene.

Based on the players he chooses to develop and sign, it seemed like Clutch Gaming would be the best fit for me. Sebastian gave me the impression that he was capable of doing his job at a high level. He even knew things I didn't know about the scene and players, and that surprised me.

As the starting Bot Laner for Clutch Gaming Academy, you'll be slotting in behind Piglet on the roster depth chart. Are you looking forward to being able to practice with him? 

I've always had a lot of respect for since the beginning of his career. I remember watching him win Season 3 Worlds and how dominant he was back then, and then again when he first joined Team Liquid. From playing against him in solo queue for the past few years, I can say that his skill level is still very high. 

When playing against Piglet a few times in Academy and LCS, he seemed very confident in the way he plays. I'm hoping to learn whatever I can from him. I have a lot of respect for him and I'm not just trying to take his spot. 

photo: LoL Esports Flickr

What was the biggest lesson you learned as a player in 2018?

I learned a lot about how veteran players and personalities see the game and their thought process on how a team should practice; how VoD reviews go; etc. However, I've also appreciated the team dynamics I have had in my previous teams in the Challenger series and Immortals. 

I learned a lot about the game, teamwork, and myself. It was a very traumatizing year towards the end, but I think through all of the trauma and drama, I was able to learn a lot about different personalities and perspectives and how that differs from my own thoughts on my experiences. 

It's propelled me to learn a lot more about myself and the world. I started reading more books recently to try and expand my knowledge on everything in life. It's been pretty a nice ride, you know?

I like where your head is, Cody. What are you reading right now?

The Power of Habits, by Charles Duhigg. It's a pretty nice read. 

I appreciate you being so open regarding your experiences this year. You mentioned earlier you hadn't finished what you started in NA. What do you want to accomplish in North America, and how will you look to work towards those goals in 2019?

Usually, the way I like to do things is I set out on what I want to do and try to achieve it. I don't like to give up; I'd rather go through the process and learn as much as I can from the experience. 

When I first started playing, my goal was just to keep achieving higher ranks. I went from Platinum, to Diamond, to Challenger, and then after hitting top 50 in Challenger I wanted to hit rank 1 on the NA server. I started receiving offers in the Challenger Series, and my goal became to do well enough to be signed to a team in the NA LCS. 

After I made LCS as a player, my goal has been to win it. I've always been really close, and I've finished in 2nd place twice. After this year I've realized it's not healthy or worth it to tunnel really hard on a goal and sacrifice things like your own values or beliefs. 

When you tunnel vision on a goal, you forget that you're working with other people and that there are factors out of your control. All you can really do is focus on yourself and try to communicate your perspective and thoughts to the people around you. 

photo: LoL Esports Flickr

This goal that I currently have is a bit harder to achieve than the previously mentioned goals that I've reached, so I've learned it's better to stay within yourself and focus on what you can do on improving yourself. It's better to find a healthy balance instead of tunneling really hard on achieving a goal that is not entirely within your control individually. That will lead to actions you don't intend. 

It's better to try to be your best day by day, and if you maintain consistency in that, you will achieve your goals through opportunities brought to you naturally. You can't force yourself to achieve certain things when there are other factors. 

I wish that I knew all of this earlier, because then I feel like I would have been able to communicate that with other people to try and turn things around, but that's all in the past now. I don't really think too much about that stuff. 

You can't control how you learn something, but you can control how it influences your next chapter. Thank you for sharing your perspective with me Cody Sun, is there anything else you'd like to say before we finish the interview?

Shout out to anyone I've worked with in the past; it's been a pleasure. Honestly, even though the end of last year was filled with a lot of emotional toiling and drama, the beginning of the year was great, and the year before that was pretty awesome as well. I still made a lot of friendships on 100 Thieves with the staff and my teammates. 

I want the friends I've played with over the past year to succeed, whether that's in Academy or LCS, and I hope that everyone is able to find something that they can hold onto. 


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