Golden Guardians made its first roster swaps of the season ahead of week 5 of the 2019 LCS Summer Split. Matthew "Deftly" Chen and Kim "Olleh" Joo-sung were swapped out of the starting lineup in favor of Golden Guardians Academy duo Victor "FBI" Huang and Choi "Huhi" Jae-hyun. This weekend's games were not only the LCS debut for FBI, but also Huhi's first game since swapping roles from Mid Lane to Support.
Huhi sat down with Inven Global to talk to Nick Geracie about role swapping late in his career, his humorous reunion with Darshan "Darshan" Upadhyaya on GGSA, and why Yuumi is his favorite champion.
I'm joined by Huhi, Support for Golden Guardians — I'm never going to get used to saying that! Welcome back to the LCS. What is it like to be back on stage?
It feels pretty good. It's always fun to play on stage, it's a lot more of a competitive setting than playing in the NA Academy League. In Academy, we're playing online and it's not doesn't feel as important. For LCS, we're traveling to the studio to play on stage and it's a concept that helps me feel more committed. It puts me under more pressure, but I like that, because the games mean more to me.
How was your first game on the LCS stage as a Support?
The biggest difference I noticed in going on stage is the difference in position physically. As a Mid Laner, I always sat in the middle, and so my body just led me to the middle seat before we started playing. I realized, 'Wait a minute. I'm not supposed to be here.' *laughs* So I went over to the end and sat back down again.
It does suck that we didn't win in my Support LCS debut, as well as FBI's first LCS game, but we're definitely growing. No one is really mad, and everyone is very open to growth. I don't want to say it's perfectly fine, because it does suck that we lost, but I think we gained a lot from it.
This is the first time we've seen Golden Guardians do any roster swaps this season. What was the team methodology behind starting you and FBI?
It always will come down to the scrim results. You have to make decisions based on scrims, and I think the staff saw our stats in scrims and thought it would be a good opportunity to give us a chance to play on stage to give FBI and I some experience. I'm not sure of the details, but they wanted to give us a chance.
How and why did you decide to swap to Support so late in your career?
Throughout my time as a Mid Laner, I always enjoyed playing flex roles in solo queue. It might be bad to say, but whenever I saw some players playing roles other than their mains, I felt like I might have more knowledge than them about certain aspects. I wasn't serious about it yet, but that was my first thought toward the idea.
I started thinking about it more seriously when after I joined 100 Thieves when we weren't doing that great. I felt that I needed some kind of change to continue my career. I decided I would switch to Jungle or Support.
At first, I thought Jungle would be more suitable for me because I was formerly a Mid Laner and would feel a lot more comfortable playing Jungle champions than Support champions. However, I thought it through and decided that in the long run, Support would be a better decision in general. I've always really liked supporting my team, being vocal about the game, and helping my teammates in any way possible, so I wanted to give it a try.
Even as Mid Laner, you were known for your self-less, team-focused style and playing to your side lanes. Do you think those aspects of your style would convert better to Support?
Yeah. I also think I have a lot more fun playing Support with my playstyle. I like the concept of helping the team out, and it's not a small role at all. There's a lot of weight on the Support — you have to communicate a lot, ward properly, and make sure everyone is on the same page. As a player, I always want to make sure my team is on the same page regardless of winning and losing. This made me think that Support would be the best role change for myself.
Support has a lot of influence about how the laning phase plays out in Bot Lane. What's your dynamic like in forming synergy with FBI?
FBI was a domestic champion last split in the Oceanic Pro League, so I always ask for his advice on how to play the lane. He's really good at laning and is also pretty vocal, which is rare when it comes to AD Carries. On Bombers, he was actually the main shotcaller.
In general, FBI is the best AD Carry I can ask for because I can ask for laning tips and also talk with him about what we want to do in game. There may be an argument here and there, but I think those are healthy conversations if you handle it properly. You have to get on the same page, eventually, if you want to grow and progress.
What are your favorite support champions to play?
My favorite Support champion is Yuumi. I'm kind of weird when it comes to new champions. Whenever one comes out, I always love that champion. No one was playing Yuumi when she was first released, and I would always play it and try to have fun with it. Usually, a new champion becomes my best and favorite champion through this process. That was the case with Aurelion Sol, too.
Most Support players hate Yuumi. What do you like about it?
Yuumi is really different compared to other support champions. It's really hard to get vision by yourself, but I really like the champion's tools. There's a shield on the passive; two heals; you help boost your AD Carry; your Q's are practically unmissable, and the ultimate is great.
Also, I like the fact that I can just be in a person and keep typing calls or summoner timings. I can go inside a teammate and continue to focus on talking about the game without worrying about being caught. Yuumi definitely saves me some clicks, which will always allow me to time something more accurately or communicate something in a clearer way because I can watch the map fully without worrying about where I'm moving.
Before this season, you were the bright spot of a struggling Counter Logic Gaming, playing arguably the best Mid Lane of your career. What happened on 100 Thieves that stopped you from succeeding?
There were a lot of environment issues. We didn't really become a team. Whenever I played on 100 Thieves, I felt like we were five random solo queue players. In the end, that leads to doubt since you didn't bond with your teammates in the first place. You cannot expect to win if your opponents are playing as a team and you are not even trying. That was the biggest difference between my performance on CLG and 100 Thieves.
Speaking of CLG, you and your former teammate Darshan are now re-united on Golden Guardians. Was your decision to join Golden Guardians Academy influenced by Darshan?
I signed my contract with Golden Guardians, and then the next day, Darshan was in the office. He knew I would be there, but I didn't! *laughs*
In an interview with Hauntzer earlier this split, he explained to me how GGSA's experienced players provide a lot of insight to the main roster. Is there something about the Golden Guardians environment that helps facilitate these discussions between both rosters?
The practice rooms for our LCS and Academy teams are right next to each other. People go in and out of each other's rooms, and there's a ping pong table outside all of the rooms. We'll all play ping pong and talk about matchups sometimes. We also do internal scrims whenever we can, so I think that's when people talk a lot about strategy and in-game stuff in general. That's where we can contribute that type of advice.
Given your experience, are you also able to provide feedback for Mid Lane as well as Support
Whenever I see something, I will try to give feedback to the best of my ability, but I also don't want to overstep. Froggen's playstyle is very different from how I played Mid Lane, so it's interesting to see his thought process on how to play the game. As long as something isn't affecting our game play on the map, I don't really mind. When it does, I try to bring up that what is being done isn't helping the team and we should be trying to do it a different way.
It's great to see you back in the LCS, Huhi. Thank you for all of your insight in this interview. Is there anything you want to say to your fans now that you've returned to the stage?
This is my first time playing Support on stage. It sucks that we lost our first game, but we're not down. We messed up a lot of stuff, and we're happy about that so that we learned from it earlier rather than later. We'll improve and make sure to keep grinding.
Oh, and I'll be back.