After an 0-3 start to the 2019 LCS Spring Split, 100 Thieves is online. Coaches Neil "pr0lly" Hammad and Yoo "Ryu" Sang-wook have managed to cultivate some synergy within the supercharged roster of 100 Thieves. The Cleveland Cavaliers affiliate currently sits at 3-3, still taking its time with its victories, but looking more methodical with each broken nexus. 100 Thieves is currently in a four-way tie for 3rd place, sitting one game behind Cloud9 and three games behind Team Liquid.
Following 100 Thieves Saturday afternoon triumph over Clutch Gaming, Mid Laner Choi "HuHi" Jae-hyun joined Inven Global to talk about the win, the origins of Spellthief's Edge Top Laners, and why he was eager for the opportunity to join 100 Thieves.
Congratulations on your 2nd win in a row, HuHi. How do you feel after winning that super long and intense game?
After the early game, we felt that the win belonged to us, and it was just a matter of closing it out. But as the game dragged on, I could feel the stress my teammates were under because we weren't sure how to close out the game. We were asking each other questions, and usually we're able to be creative and someone will give an answer right away. This time, we weren't sure.
We knew we had to flank, but we didn't know how we could make that happen in a way that would set up a winning team fight for us. That was a really important question for us to answer, and since they had so much vision we had to get Oracles Lens and sweep out the vision. We tried to spread out and look for the right opportunity to engage, so when we finally got it, everyone was pretty hyped.
Clutch Gaming pulled out an innovative strategy with a Spellthief's Edge Top Laner. Was that something 100 Thieves was expecting to potentially play against?
We haven't prepared against it, but I was familiar with it from solo queue in China, where players first started using the strategy with Karma. It got popular there and I told Ssumday to try it because it seemed pretty good. We tried it in scrims, and I think that's when people started to pick it up in LCS. I'm not sure where exactly it got started, but when we saw them pick Zilean, we knew what we were up against.
Ssumday didn't seem to have a lot of issue with Urgot being able to farm, and then he capitalized on CG's mistake on a gank for a 1v2 double kill. What was his reaction to that play
When Jayce went top, we called out that it was happening and he said, "Ok, I might die." He was backing up, and the next thing we know, he gets a double kill. We had no idea what just happened, so we got hyped up, but he didn't really *laughs* maybe he was happy in his own way, but the rest of the team was really happy for him and hyped.
You also had a good game on Lissandra after lackluster performances last week. What did you adjust in your play from last week until now?
It was an off-week because of how I was preparing for the game. I'm not saying I didn't try hard or anything, but I felt like I wasn't confident in myself. I didn't do the normal routine I usually do to focus on the game, and I was worried a lot about the outcome of the games even before the start.
I wanted to go back to what made me successful as a player: an aggressive mindset; the thought that I can beat everyone and that our team is the best; stuff like that. I think that will help me throughout the split.
Last year, you were part of Counter Logic Gaming, but now on 100 Thieves, this is your second time being on a team with Aphromoo. How has he changed as a player since your days together on CLG?
I feel a lot more comfortable in-game now that I'm on a team with Aphromoo again. His voice is one of his biggest strengths, and it's very important to have a decisive voice on the team. Whenever I'm not vocal, I can trust that he will speak up, and that's kind of a relief. Obviously, I shouldn't slip on my job, but it feels good to have this type of player with me playing the game that I can rely on.
In this game, you and Aphromoo teamed up to initiate teamfights on Lissandra and Alistar, which Bang cleaned up fights nicely. How do you think he is performing now that the team has had some time to gel?
Good, but not better than scrims. We all know Bang is a great player, it's just really important that we make the transition happen fully on stage. Even though he looked good today, I wouldn't say that's his limit whatsoever. We don't have all of the chemistry we need yet, but I have high hopes on developing those and identifying our strengths. It's important to figure that out as soon as possible.
Pr0lly returned as Head Coach for 100 Thieves, and Ryu retired from Mid Lane and is now the Assistant Coach. What's the dynamic between the players and the coaching staff?
We also have Joseph "JungleJuice" Jang as Strategic Coordinator in addition to Pr0lly and Ryu, and I feel like there's a lot of professionalism throughout the staff and organization. Our staff utilizes a lot of data, they put a lot of time into their work and it's really interesting to look at and learn from. They also try to encourage us as much as possible to fix our own problems and mistakes. It's a different style of coaching and it's really refreshing.
Ryu also helps me out a lot on whatever mistakes he sees in my gameplay. It's interesting to talk with him because he was a great Mid Laner during his career, so sharing that knowledge and speaking with him is really helpful for me.
Was the personnel on 100 Thieves across roster and staff a major factor in you joining the team?
Definitely. I heard a lot of good things about 100 Thieves as a whole, so I really wanted to join if given the opportunity. Luckily, it happened.
100 Thieves got off to a slow start in the LCS. Where do you think you can end up in the standings by the end of the split?
Realistically, I think we still have a shot at first or second seed. I think that's our goal for now. Obviously, we want to win the whole split, but right now, we're just trying to not focus on our record even though winning is really important. More importantly, we have to fix our problems and our synergy has to be further developed. We're focusing mainly on that.
I'm sure the 100 Thieves fans are happy with this performance. Thanks for the interview, HuHi, is there anything you'd like to say to your fans?
We had a 0-3 start, so it was a rough, but now we're on a winning streak, so we're going to do our best to maintain that and make it a 3rd win for tomorrow.