Slingshot’s Vince Nairn had the chance to talk to Phoenix1’s Austin “Gate” Yu during Week 2 of the League Championship Series summer split. They talked about what went wrong with Team Impulse, putting this team together and how they hope to improve throughout the split.
Vince Nairn: I know it’s been a tough start to the summer split. I know you guys haven’t had a ton of time to work together to get ready, but what are the things you’re trying to do improve going forward?
Austin “Gate” Yu: I think the most important thing we’ve been trying to improve, for a new team, at least. This might sound basic, but we have to work on our fundamentals. Just working as a team, playing as a team, understanding how to win and just all those things. For me, I feel like now I’m a veteran. I wouldn’t have said that at any time in the last year, but I feel like since I’m maybe the oldest person or the longest playing one on the team I have to lead by example and just show people how to basically get a win on stage. We’ve been working hard. Most of the players, even though they’re rookies, their fundamentals and communication, they’re all getting pretty good at it.
VN: How did you handle the offseason and the craziness with TiP? It seemed like you guys knew some stuff was kinda not going right, but how did you handle that time period and trying to figure everything out?
AY: Before relegations, we knew that there were some issues with our owner. We basically had to resolve those. We contacted Riot as soon as we could. Personally, I had plans to travel for practice in the offseason, but I didn’t get to because of all the things that happened with our team. Overall, I think most of us expected some sort of punishment or something to happen with the new org, so we just tried to keep in contact with all the people affiliated with it, and over time, it just turned to be the team sale. In the end, I think for most of us on Tip last split, we just tried to stay in the loop with everything about the new team.
VN: Yeah, was that difficult? How much were you hearing? The other sale of Renegades to EnVyUs broke pretty quickly, but this one went on. How did you stay in the loop?
AY: I think the main difference for our team and for Renegades, who were also selling, was our owner was in China, so the ways to communicate with him were kind of limited and the hours were different, honestly. In the end, it just worked out to be a straight team sale. I’m sure there were other buyers interested, but I think what came down, how Phoenix1 actually purchased the team, was one of our owners actually has direct contact with the previous owner, so it ended up being a quick sale.
VN: Likewise, going into a new team with a new owner, is it tough for you to be trusting, or are your more skeptical having just gone through an incident of not being paid like you were with TiP?
AY: I think all of those things can easily be resolved just by understanding why an owner wants to own a team in the first place and their goals. I spent a fairly long amount of time talking with our new owners, and it seems that they only want the best for their players and best for their team, compared to last split when the owner was pretty one sided. He was pretty greedy, and he just happened to have an LCS spot, so he had to put players in the slot. For me, at least, Phoenix1 has been the best org I’ve been with so far. They really care about the players and they really try to improve the team, even though they know this is kind of a last minute team. Their goal is just trying to do the best for the players, and hopefully we’ll be able to give some back in return.
VN: Was there any resolution to the payments you’re still owed from TiP?
AY: For all the starter players, I can’t say too much about the subs. But the money they’re owed will probably given to them by Riot. For the starters, all the starters are missing two months salary from last split. But based on our contractual agreement with the last owner, it might get too crazy with legal laws because it’s international as well. Basically, all the players will end up with at least the minimum payment from Riot. But the extra money our previous owner did not pay might not end up in our hands.
VN: I’m sure that was a difficult spot for you mentally when all that was going on, but when did you first hear from the new owner about bringing you back?
AY: As soon as the team was sold, or confirmed sold, I just contacted the new owner and asked them what he wanted with the new team and if they had any interest in me. They just gave me a list of players they were also interested in, and they told me that they would be happy to negotiate with me for the next split. It turns out, they helped me cover some of the costs that I was missing from the old organization, so I was really grateful for that. I just knew that there was probably a spot for me on the new team because it was such a short term and maybe not too many players available. And I felt like from last split, I’ve shown growth as a player, so maybe some orgs would be interested in me.
VN: Is there any news about the visa issues with the starters?
AY: The only player we’re actually missing visas for is Inori, and I think that should be solved by (next week). I think it was supposed to be solved by this week, but there are just additional issues I guess.
VN: Is Slooshi the starter?
AY: Slooshi and Pirean are just cycling time in mid, but yeah. We’re just cycling there, and then Inori is the starting jungler.
Photos courtesy of Riot Games.