In one day, the 2019 LCS Regional Final will begin. TSM, Counter Logic Gaming, Clutch Gaming, and FlyQuest will be seeded into a gauntlet format to decide who will join Team Liquid and Cloud9 to represent North America at the 2019 League of Legends World Championship.
CLG proved itself as a top 3 LCS team with its 3-2 victory over Clutch Gaming in the 3rd place match of the 2019 LCS Summer Playoffs. While TSM may be seeded as the highest team due to its circuit points, CLG comes into the LCS Regional Final as the favorite to exit the gauntlet and qualify for Worlds.
CLG AD Carry Trevor "Stixxay" Hayes joined Nick Geracie to discuss his team's 2019 LCS Summer Playoffs run and share his thoughts on the gauntlet ahead of the LCS Regional Final.
Let's talk about Playoffs. CLG was expected to win against OpTic Gaming, but you guys absolutely smashed them. After that, your match against Cloud9 was expected to be closer, but you fell 3-1. What do you think went wrong in the series against C9?
Going into the Cloud9 match, everyone thought it was going to be a lot closer than it ended up being. I think a lot of it came down to them having really good draft strategies that played pretty well into our team, and we didn't have a lot of answers. A lot of the time, we were left with losing lanes, and it felt like we weren't able to do much from the onset of the game.
In all honesty, I think C9 should have been 3-0. We should have lost pretty hard, but we ended up coming back in game 3. Game 4 was the first time in the series that we had a draft that allowed us to be the aggressors, and we actually got a pretty significant lead. Unfortunately, we weren't able to close it out and take it to game 5.
I think we are a team that does well when we have strong lanes and get advantages through them, we always do pretty well. However, if we don't have the strong lanes, we can fall behind. It's hard to pinpoint it exactly, but I will say that I think Cloud9 is a really good team.
Was there anything in defeat that you were able to learn?
There's always a lot of stuff to work on, regardless of result. I think there were a pretty significant amount of points we took from the Cloud9 set that we can implement into our own gameplay, as well as things we can improve on in general. I think we've been doing a pretty good job of that during our practices, and hopefully it will continue to work out.
Looking back at your Summer Split top 3 finish, does it feel like CLG is 'back'? Last time the team made playoffs, you were the only member that is still on the team now. Is this a new era, and how does this compare to your previous playoff runs?
It definitely feels nice to be 'back.' You get that feeling again when you enter a stadium and realize how big it is, and it really hits you when you see all the people in the crowd. You realize, 'Wow, this is pretty incredible.'
Just like this time around, the last time I was in playoffs was also a 3rd/4th place match, which is pretty unfortunate. I would like to play in the Finals again, but it is what it is for now. I'm just trying to make the best of it.
You were voted 2nd in the rankings of 2019 LCS Summer Split All-Pro AD Carries. Do you think that is an accurate representation of your play this split?
Yeah, I definitely think I had a pretty good split and started playing a lot better both individually and with my team. I'm pretty happy, but I guess because I won in the past and have been 1st place before, it always feels like a never-ending reach to try and climb back there. If I don't make it to the Finals, it just feels like a failure. Still, I would say I'm pretty happy with our drastic improvement this split.
You set the bar very high at the beginning of your career, so it's hard to appreciate your achievements when they don't match up.
Yeah, pretty much. Like I said, the first split I ever played, I got 1st place and then did really well at an international event. After that, my whole career has been me chasing those same heights and trying to reach back up there.
Every split that I'm not in the Finals feels like failure, but like I said, at a certain point, I'm just grateful to be in 3rd. I was in 7th place the previous three splits in a row, and it's nice to be in playoffs and not have a six month off-season again. I actually get to be relevant past the split.
If you were to qualify for Worlds through the 2019 LCS Regional Final, would you feel like you've matched your previous peak at the start of your career?
For me personally, I don't care what seed — if you make it to Worlds, you are a world-class team who made it there for a reason. If we qualify for Worlds, that remedies our Semfinals loss to Cloud9. Even with that loss, if we can still make it to Worlds, we have another chance to prove ourselves. That would definitely be really nice.
What are your thoughts on the other teams in the gauntlet and your chances to qualify for Worlds?
I'm not really sure what to think about TSM. I know they are the final raid boss of the gauntlet, but I honestly have zero idea of what to think about their current form. They have a lot of internal things going on, and it seems like it's affecting their players pretty heavily, and I don't think FlyQuest is a contender.
I think Clutch Gaming is the toughest competitor, and it's very likely that we end up playing them in the gauntlet. It's been really impressive for me to watch Clutch from the outside. They were a team struggling to do well in the regular split, and were in a three or four team race for the two final playoff spots right down to the last day of the split. When they made it, you could tell that they had the most drive of any of those teams by far.
It really seems that like Clutch Gaming rallied together at the right time, and there's a reason they did well against Team Liquid in the Semifinals. They're a good team.
Only one member swap in the AD Carry position from Chae "Piglet" Gwang-jin to Sun "Cody Sun" Li-Yu has transformed this team. What do you think of Cody Sun as an AD Carry, and what are your thoughts on playing against him?
Cody's a really good player. He's one of those players where he'll pick Sivir or something, and I think he should be punishable, and then he somehow gets out of lane completely even. I'm just like, 'Damn, he does it again.' Then he'll randomly get really fed in teamfights.
That's Cody Sun's identity; he has four champions of similar style he's really comfortable on, and past those champions, he's a different type of player. He's not as comfortable on the other champions. I definitely think I have a wider champion pool and a wider variety of things I can do for my team, whereas Cody Sun is always the Clutch Gaming hypercarry who is going to play well in teamfights later on.
Thanks for the interview, Stixxay. Is there anything you want to say to the CLG fans?
Thank you guys for supporting us. We're going to continue trying our best.