Hai: “Doublelift called our team trash and every time he does that he loses to that team, so hopefully other teams call us trash too and they lose.”

After what might have been the biggest upset of the entire season, Golden Guardians took down Team Liquid in a surprising upheaval of the standings in Week 5 on Sunday. Izento got a chance to speak with the veteran of the squad, Hai “Hai” Du Lam about his victory, his new coach and the necessity of a large champion pool.

How does it feel winning against one of the strongest teams in the League?

It feels good! Apparently Doublelift called our team trash and every time he does that he loses to that team, so hopefully other teams call us trash too and they lose. It’s so vindictive when teams do that and we win.

Being the underdog certainly has its advantages and disadvantages. After this win, your team could have more pressure. Do you think your team is ready to handle this spotlight?

I would say that people still don’t expect anything out of us, so I don’t know if the pressure has necessarily changed. We did pick up a win so that’s nice, but I bet that the majority of the community will assume that we’re not going to do well, so I don’t think there’s any pressure from the community. For ourselves, we’ve always had the same drive to perform and play the way we’ve been practicing, so I don’t think much will change.

The team looks more cohesive than it once was. Before, Loco had said he wanted the entire team to shotcall. Is this still the case that the team has a “democratic style”?

Everyone on the team communicates what they need to as far as where they want to go in lane, when they can take fights, their flash timers, things like that. People have dedicated roles though, for example, our support keeps track of everyone’s summoner spells. We’ll all write it in chat but he keeps it refreshed and reminds everyone. As far as macro-oriented calls, generally later in the game we’ll make a game plan. Usually I’m the one setting up what the plan is, but as far as engaging goes, Contractz will be calling out that he’s looking to engage. So, if people are looking for plays, they can be communicative about it and tell us that’s what they’re doing, but as far as what we’re trying to do as a team, there’s generally one singular voice, but it just depends on what’s going on at the moment. Though it’s usually me.

Speaking of the direction that your team wants to head towards, how is your new coach fitting in to the team?

I would say most people don’t expect anything out of coach Tyler or even know anything about him at all. I was working with him before, he was mine and Contractz’s positional coach, and I really like working with him. He’s smart about the game and very easy to work with. He listens to your input and he thinks before he speaks which allows for good decisions. I’m happy that he’s our head coach and things are going well.

What’s the difference in being in a team environment full of newer players? Previously you had been with your crew for the longest time in FlyQuest, so how different is it meshing with these other personalities?

As far as personalities go, we don’t have any issue with bonding with one another, we’re all pretty good friends.

Playing the game has become a bit different, as maybe Balls was a bit better teleporting than Lourlo is. Or maybe Matt is better than Lemon at timing summoners. It’s all these intricate and small things that differ from player to player, but as far as working with these guys, it’s a pleasure and it’s a very good environment. As things go on, it will only get better and better.

Your champion pool has been criticized in the past. What’s your opinion on a player’s champion pool and the importance of a large pool?

Well, obviously there’s not really any downside to having a large champion pool if you can play all those champions at a high level. As far as needing a massive or deep one, it’s not necessarily that important. You need a certain amount, depending on what the meta is. With the current meta, people are banning four to five mid laners, so you need to be able to play the ones that are left to pick too. So at the moment, it’s pretty important but it largely just depends on the meta. There were the days of the assassins and AD mids being viable and that’s when my champion pool was very vast and I could play a lot of different things, but when they remove a huge portion of champions that I could play then it does affect me.

I’ve been working on my champion pool. I busted out Azir this year and I’m working on some others as well. With that considered, your champion pool isn’t as important as people say but you need to be able to play the meta champions to an extent and a bit of your own pool as well.

What meta are you most looking forward to?

Well, we don’t know any meta changes until they come out. It’s not like I’m going to know the Worlds patch is going to just be AD mids. If that’s the case, that’s f*cking cool, but I don’t really know what meta is going to appear and we’ll just have to do our best to adapt.

Today against Team Liquid we played pretty standard. We just had Gnar, Skarner, Orianna, Varus and Braum, standard champions. We had no cheese, no counter matchups and we played well.

Best of luck next week in continuing on the uptrend.

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Izento is a journalist present at the NA LCS, armchair analyst and car enthusiast. As an avid Season 1 League of Legends player, he's since pursued his passion for esports through the power of writing.

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