Just a few years ago, a young French Canadian downloaded League of Legends and booted it up for the first time. Now, he is playing professionally for 100 Thieves in the League Championship Series after climbing through both the amateur scene and Academy League. Philippe "Poome" Lavoie-Giguere has joined the league as the newest rookie, and he - along with the rest of 100 Thieves Next - is proving that NA talent still exists.
Poome found himself as an LCS starter partway through the Summer Split, replacing former 100 Thieves Support, William "Stunt" Chen. He was accompanied by Juan "Contractz" Garcia who replaced William "Meteos" Hartman as the 100 Thieves Jungler. The team has struggled this Split, but are seated in a prime position to claim one of the last two remaining playoff slots this weekend, where Poome would have his best of five series debut in the LCS, and ultimately, a chance to go to Worlds.
We spoke with Poome about his playstyle, his history throughout amateur, orgs' scouting abilities, and the problems the amateur scene has and how they can be fixed and further developed.
How would you describe your style? When you load into the game, what are you hoping to achieve?
I am okay with any playstyle, be it defensive or aggressive, but usually, I want to be on playmaking champions because I try to set up my team for fights. I usually see what we have to do for objectives or what we need to set up a fight in advance, so I want to be on playmaking champions for my team. It also compliments Contractz's aggressive playstyle. And it sets up Sun "Cody" "Cody Sun" Li-Yu and Kim "Ssumday" Chan-ho well for flanks and fights in general.
What would be your go-to champ then to compliment your playstyle, if you just had to blind pick something or have something be your signature pick?
It'd probably be Thresh, but it really depends though. I don't think Thresh is that good of a blind, but let's say I could have one ban, then I could always pick Thresh or Bard. Bard is a very aggressive champ with a lot of playmaking potential with his ult, stun, and Magical Journey. And it's also a very defensive champ at the same time. And it's the same for Thresh, they're both very versatile champs, so those are the two I'd pick.
The most impressive thing for me looking at your play is how new you are to League of Legends in general. A lot of rookies will say, "I always looked up to Bjergsen," but you just started playing, so do you even have much of a concept for these guys who have been here for eight years or so?
Yeah, I've seen a lot of clips and montages and stuff. I definitely know some of these players historically, like what they do and stuff. But like in terms of playstyles and metas, that's where I don't really know much. Like there are some metas from the past that I just don't get. Like some seasons I have no clue what happened in pro play. But for the names, I know them because I watched the LCS broadcast and YouTube. So I definitely know what some players are known for, but that's about it.
It doesn't really change anything though, because League I think is kind of a new game every season. So what someone did in the past doesn't really matter because it's just a new season. It's different playstyles, different champions. And you can't really force a playstyle either.
I personally feel like 100 Thieves is one of the only successful scouting teams, with 100 Next and pickups like you. So what do you think about scouting and NA talent in general?
I think some orgs are really bad at scouting and some orgs are decent at it. I think it stems from personal bias. Most teams are going to ask their players on their team what they think of x player [in solo queue]. And in NA, we always play with the same players. The solo queue ladder is not very diverse. Our queue times are like 30 minutes and you play versus the same players all the time. So if there's that one solo queue player that doesn't perform 100% of the time in solo queue, you'll be biased and just say he's bad.
But it's really different because while I do agree that solo queue kind of translates to competitive, it doesn't really. There are some players that are just better with communication, and some that are better with a system around them. And some who have the potential to develop well with help. So I think it's hard to scout anyone, but I also think there's not a lot of work being done to scout people. There are a lot of promising players that aren't Challenger. There are promising players that are just Grandmaster or Master, but they can still be developed. And they're quote-unquote "young," though I don't think age really matters.
But I think there is actually NA talent, and I think it's going to get better in upcoming seasons. The amateur scene grew so much. When I started in the amateur scene, it was like 100 viewers, and now it's around 500, just because of 100 Next. The hype around it is so fun, and it really creates a good environment. So hopefully that is going to help.
You being successful and making it to the LCS further proves that. But on that note, others from 100 Next were recently promoted to Academy. So how do you think they'll do?
I think they'll do great. When I was on Next, I was fairly certain everyone on the team would make it to Academy sooner or later. They're all really vocal, they're really good mechanically. So I knew it was going to happen sooner or later, so I'm really hyped that those two get this opportunity. And I'm hyped for Jouhan "Copy" Pathmanathan, Yeon, and Osama "Auto" Alkhalaileh. I hope they also find Academy spots. And even the newer players, like Xin "Nxi" Dinh, he's probably going to get a lot of attention and hopefully develop into a really good player.
So I'm really happy for them in Academy, and I think they'll be great. They're two great players that will now get more time to develop and have more laning phase and jungle pathing stuff to learn, and they're going to smurf. That's for sure.
Would you have any suggested changes for the amateur system, as far as tournaments, ways to increase viewership, opportunities, etc.?
I think they've been making it really hard. I don't know if that's on Riot, I'm not sure, but there are players that play like six days a week. They have competitive games like six days a week, and then they have to find time to scrim too. And amateur is a "for fun" thing. Well not like, just for fun - it's for people who want to go pro, but they're not getting paid, really.
There's not a lot of money involved in amateur unless you finish first place in every league. And you probably won't get paid by your team. Most teams - probably 90% of the amateur scene - don't pay. You don't have a salary. So people kind of have to use a ton of time to play amateur, but there's a high risk and reward.
If you win a lot of leagues, the reward is pretty high, but if you don't win - you're not wasting time, because you're improving and learning - but it doesn't feel that good, because you could be doing other things, like going to school or something else. So that's one of the main problems with amateur. It's so much time and effort, and that's why most teams don't stay together for a long time because there's no reason to. And one player always gets burnt out or tilted, and they don't have a good setup to prevent it or to cope with it.
On 100 Next, we're contracted, so we have an incentive to stay with our team, but on most Amateur teams, you're not contracted, you can leave whenever you want. You can just go play solo queue instead if you want, you can just leave. And at that point, the team has to play with another player, they have to learn that player's playstyle and then if someone else leaves for fun, they have to change again, and it's really rough. My first couple of teams there were roster changes every month, and I just kept asking why I was doing it. The amateur scene is pretty broken.
So obviously 100 Next is a sort of outlier, but what about your other teams. When it came to making all these decisions, dealing with finding new players and everything, who did that? Did you have any management at all, or did it just come down to the other players talking through stuff? And similarly, how did you manage other stuff, like finding scrims?
Oh, it was just whatever random coach you had managed that. There is just a coach that would post on Discord and say, "We're looking for new players, send me your op.gg," and they'd look through that and maybe have some tryouts. It wasn't normally players deciding anything, it was usually up to the coaches. And we'd have some team meetings, maybe, and they'd ask if we liked playing with that player, but it wasn't our decision ultimately on who to scrim and who we have on the team.
Well thanks for the insight, I hope it develops more.
It's definitely going in the right direction right now, but there's still a lot of stuff to be done to save the scene because even Scouting Grounds is not enough. Scouting Grounds is not good. Well, it's okay, but it's not where it could potentially be. It could be bigger, it could be an even greater event.
Well okay, if you could make one change, one addition, or if you could provide one resource, what would you do? Do you just want more viewership? Or are you talking more like prize money or better structure or what?
I'd make it more into a tournament. Like a longer tournament. You know, you make these teams, and then instead of just two weeks or whatever you make it one month. One month of developing and then play a bunch of best of threes and have all the teams play against each other. And it gets you in the scene and it makes it a real competition.
Because right now, whoever finishes first or second, it doesn't matter. It means nothing. It doesn't matter what your standings are, even if you won and took first place, sure there's a little bit more hype around you, but it doesn't really matter in the end. So I think making it something bigger, like a tournament, and having first place maybe get an added incentive, that would be better.
Yeah, it's a difficult thing to solve. So completely different topic, if you never discovered that you were a god at League of Legends, what do you think your career would've been?
I would probably just be in school. I'd just do my own stuff. I was planning on going into engineering, but that got cut off by this, so...
Bummer! Haha. Any other games and hobbies you were just immediately good at?
Yeah I mean most of the games I play I get really high ranking. I was Diamond in Rocket League, Diamond in Rainbow Six, Global in Counter-Strike, pretty high on the ladder in PUBG... I don't remember much else. I'm Diamond in VALORANT, but I don't play too much and I mostly play with my Gold friends, so I'm not really trying to push for a high ranking there, though I'm sure if I really wanted a high ranking in VALORANT I could probably get it. I just have a tendency to put a lot of time and effort to improve on something and get it to where I want it to be.
Okay so conversely, has there been anything that you're just terrible at?
Yeah... There's a lot of games I'm not good at, mostly campaign games and solo games. For those, I'm really bad. So I always try and do online stuff rather that campaign type. I was also pretty bad at some subjects in school, like History and stuff. There's some stuff where I'm just awful. And I'm not good at real life. Like cleaning my room, laundry, cooking, hahaha. All of that just ain't it for me, that's not my strong point.
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Just like his League of Legends career, Poome was able to find immediate success in Fantasy LoL. He was a large part of 100 Thieves’ wins, averaging over 10 Assists and 17 Fantasy points in their first 3 wins. However, Poome has looked like a rookie over the last few games. He has failed to score a single fantasy point in 3 of his last 5 games, even having a 10 Death game. Luckily for him, the schedule softens up to end the regular season.
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