FlyQuest Mid Laner Hai “Hai” Lam sits down with Nick “DiscoSheep” Geracie following a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Counter Logic Gaming.
This interview as conducted on June 17, 2017, during Week 3, Day 2 of the 2017 NALCS summer split.
DiscoSheep: I’m here with Hai after an tough loss to CLG, but a very hard fought series by you guys. The first thing I want to ask is, when you’re that late into a game and it’s so back and forth like that, how does the primary shotcaller of a team like yourself stay calm and still make the right calls in those situations?
Hai: Well, we don’t really have a primary shotcaller anymore. I’ve actually been switching off of that; we’ve been trying to do a system where everyone says X, Y, and Z. So even if it’s like super late game, I might say XYZ but someone else might say something as well, so we don’t have a sole shotcaller anymore. It’s something we’re trying to work at and something we’re trying to get better at.
DiscoSheep: Okay, so you guys are going for more of sort of a democratic style, where everybody is giving information instead of you just directing everybody around the map.
Hai: Yeah…no longer doing that.
DiscoSheep: So has that been a tough adjustment in terms of you guys finding this new way to play, or do you find that it’s kind of coming naturally and the results just haven’t completely translated?
Hai: I think it’s going to take some time to switch the way we’ve been playing. I’ve been playing the same way for three, four, five years now. And we’re trying to switch that up so we can reach greater heights and stuff like that, and obviously, we’re at the bottom of the standings. It’s going to take a long time and some growing pains to get there. Can we get there in time? I’m not sure, but I think it’s something we’re doing for the future, you know? We plan to be doing this for a while, run with it for a while…two, three, four years from now, whatever…that’s when it will really come in handy.
DiscoSheep: You mentioned you’ve been playing the game for three or four years. Some fans may not know this, but on one of the very first iterations of Cloud 9 way back in the day, you were Wildturtle’s teammate. This is not your first time playing with him; what has it been like having him in this lineup after all this time? How has he changed as a player from when you first played with him back in 2013?
Hai: I would say…and I don’t mean this in a mean way, but I think he’s the exact same now as back then. Obviously he’s a better player now, since he’s evolved as a player. But his personality and generally the way he likes to play and wants to play is more or less the same. That’s the same for me too. My playstyle is generally the same now as it was back then. Every player has a certain way they like playing the game, and it’s different to like, mold out of that. Most people just stick with it and that’s how they’re good.
DiscoSheep: You mentioned your playstyle; people know you, at least across your career, for your assassin play. But you’ve had a ton of success on Orianna this year and you pulled out the Lucian mid and, despite the loss, you had a good performance on it. What do you think of the mid lane meta right now and how open it seems to be in terms of playstyles?
Hai: I like it, I think there are a clear three-ish best APs right now. I think there could be more diversity among APs. I’m glad some of the other champions aren’t currently played, like Azir and stuff like that. It felt like those champions were very unrewarding to play against because there wasn’t really much you can do if the enemy player is just as good as you. You can’t punish him that hard, it’s up to him to make mistakes. I don’t like matchups like that, I’d rather have a matchup be 50/50 every single time, right? So right now there’s like Ori, Syndra, Taliyah, right? One of those doesn’t necessarily hard counter the other two, but depending on the player you’ll see them get different advantages on it, because they’re just better and they’ll be able to gain these little leads: 15, 20 CS, pressure, things like that. And I like the fact that there’s a lot of skill right now based on the mid lane champions, like if you can win the matchup or not. But I would like if there were more champions that you could play, and I think that will come as these new patches keep coming out.
DiscoSheep: We interviewed Aphromoo about 2 months ago for our launch content, and he mentioned – this was right before your quarterfinals series where you guys beat CLG 3-2 – how playing against you is so tough because you are able to make these…what he called a “50-50 coin flip call” but you’re able to make it with no hesitation and it basically makes the other team have to be really on their toes. Does that immediacy still exist in your current shotcalling infrastructure or is that more of a trademark solo shotcaller Hai type of style?
Hai: I think back in the day when we would do these calls, like a coin flip kind of thing…generally the coin flip would be in our favor. So it’s not a coin flip, I would say it’s 80-20, and in case we win that, we basically just win the game. In case we lost that, they don’t necessarily win, but it’s going to be a lot harder for us to win, you know? And since then, we’ve been veering to more of a safe playstyle. We don’t like to do 50/50’s anymore, we are looking to do 100% plays because if you take the game slow, that’s how you’ll be able to become one of the best teams, because when you’re playing versus one of the better teams in the world, you’re not going to have scenarios where it’s going to be 80-20s anymore, it’s almost always going to be 50-50 because any team is just as good as you. So you won’t be able to pull these big advantages against them. So now, moving forward, we have to make these calculated plays that have a 90-10 or 100-0 success rate that might involve not even killing anyone. It might just involve killing a turret and backing off and losing nothing, or even just getting wards and taking their jungle camps. It’s just those little things that let you accumulate those little advantages, and that’s what we’re looking to do.
DiscoSheep: Galen “Moon Holgate, your jungler, had a fantastic Baron steal on Ivern to keep you guys in the game going later into the game. He looks like a completely different player than he did on NRG, both in terms of his performance but also in his confidence, and the way he speaks in interviews. What has it been like playing with Moon as a player, and also, how have you seen him grow with FlyQuest?
Hai: Well, I had no idea who he was before he joined the team. Like, obviously I knew about him; I knew he played Eve in soloQ and things like that. But I didn’t know much about his personality; any of his qualms; his qualities…he’s a blank slate. So when he joined the team there’s nothing for me to base him off or judge him off of and he’s performed exceptionally well. People kept telling me beforehand that “this guy might choke,” “he might not be that good” etc., etc., but you know, he’s on our team for a reason, and I’m going to believe in him. And he’s definitely lived up to expectations, and he’s definitely gotten better and better and that’s great.
DiscoSheep: Hai, last question for you: the franchising conversation has been abuzz the last few months for the NALCS. FlyQuest is one of the most veteran player-by-player rosters out there. Do you guys plan on playing through this franchising for a long time or does this change your career plans since you’ve already had such a long and successful career in League of Legends?
Hai: Well, I can’t answer for my teammates obviously because it’s not my place to, but as far as I go, I think franchising is a cool thing. I think there will be a lot of great things that will come out of it as far as exposure, money, fun, structure…all of those kind of things, basically everything is going to be an improvement. I don’t foresee very many things going wrong after franchising, and it’d be cool to be a part of it all, you know? I was there before franchising and I’d like to be there when it becomes a thing. I think it has a lot of potential to be the next big thing, similar to sports.
DiscoSheep: Hai, thank you so much for the interview. Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans or the FlyQuest fans out there?
Hai: Well, I would say….bear with us, because we’re probably not happy either. You guys are probably sad and depressed and so are we, but we’ll try our best and hopefully we can bounce back. It’s only three weeks in, so we have some weeks to go. It’s looking rough, but we’ve been down in the dumps farther than this, so I think we’ll be okay.