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KEITH on Echo Fox’s first win of the season and why Akaadian is so effective

Slingshot’s Andrew Kim caught up with Echo Fox’s Yuri “KEITH” Jew during Week 2 of the North American League of Legends Championship Series.

Andrew Kim: Congratulations on the victory. You guys really had Game 3 in the bag, compared to the first two. What changed that allowed you guys to have that dominating performance?

Yuri “KEITH” Jew: I think after the first two games, to honestly sum it up, I think we just got our shit together. A common problem we had is not communicating effectively. We would have a lot of clutter, and it’s really hard to have a game plan like that. We kinda just had a plan and we followed through with it. I think Team Dignitas just rolled over and died. I think they disrespected Anivia a lot. They kind of just, I think they gave up, it feels like. Froggen (Henrik Hansen) carried pretty hard on Anivia.

AK: Many people have been talking about the jungler on your team, Matthew “Akaadian” Higginbotham. He had a commanding performance as Lee Sin and has been really good. Why do you think he’s so effective?

YJ: There’s a lot of reasons why I think Akaadian is a great player. He has a really good mindset on improving, he always wants to get better, and he also talked about wanting to play as aggressive as possible. Most new players, they’re usually nervous. They play too scared, and Akaadian I think is the opposite of that, coming in as a rookie. Yeah, pretty much he has a really good attitude, he works really hard, and that’s what makes him good.

AK: There have been a lot of disappointed fans after the first week, and I’m sure you guys felt a lot of pressure to perform in Week 2. How did you deal with that pressure? And was it ever a factor?

YJ: For me specifically, after Week 1, I think I had one of the worst performances of all time from a professional player. I was very disappointed in myself. I could not explain in words how disappointed in myself I was. So, honestly, that’s what made me want to practice even harder in the upcoming week. I even avoided all social media because I knew it would just hinder me when I’m trying to get better, and I honestly just focused really hard in practice. I trusted my team to do well, and that’s what happened today.

AK: One of the questions I have to ask AD Carries in 2017 is the state of the role. What are your opinions on where the role is right now?

YJ: I think I have an unpopular opinion about AD Carry. From solo queue, it’s much different from competitive. I think in competitive games, AD Carry is much more impactful than solo queue because champions like Ashe, Jhin, and Varus have a lot of abilities to control the game, in my opinion. Not so much in the fact that you can outplay people and kill everyone — you kind of just, how you play, you can control the game, how it’s played. So, actually, I used to be just a hard carry player. I played Vayne and Lucian a lot. I played a lot of Ezreal, but swapping to this kind of style has been not too bad. I think I’m getting the hang of it, actually. I’m learning how to control the game as a utility AD Carry.

AK: Echo Fox has been expanding a lot in terms of other esports, not just League. As a member of the team, have you been following those kinds of moves as well? Or have you been mostly focused on what you do?

YJ: Honestly it’s just both. I’m aware of Echo Fox making a lot of moves, like in the FGC, they made huge moves on that. I don’t follow whatever that scene is, like Street Fighter and whatnot. I’m aware that they definitely want to make a name for themselves, and they wanna be the best so I can respect them for that. All I can do is focus on LCS.

AK: What are some of your personal goals going into the further weeks of the LCS after your difficult first week?

YJ: I think I have maybe one or two goals. I haven’t really won anything when it comes to League. I want to be able to get top three in NA. I want to go to worlds. I want to be considered a very good AD Carry player. I subbed for TL and TSM a couple of games, but it doesn’t mean anything to me. We placed like 10th for our last year Echo Fox team, so more than ever I just want to win.

AK: Coming back from a season like the previous one in terms of performance, how did you recover from the less than optimal split going into 2017?

YJ: After that split, it was very harsh on me. I was maybe almost depressed. But I think almost anyone would be pretty sad about it. The offseason was very long. It was about four to five months, and that was more than enough to recover. I just recovered and I became optimistic, and I only want focused on the future. I didn’t want to dwell on the past.

AK: A lot of veteran pros have been noticing the impact of injury with their life style. Have you had any pain while being a pro? And if not, what are you doing to prevent injury?

YJ: Personally I have never been injured on my wrist. I think it’s because I’m relatively more active than other LCS players. I don’t like sitting around all day. I think going to the gym is helpful in that. I think I like to eat properly as well. I don’t want it to get to the point where you have to go to a doctor and do stretches all the time for your wrist. I recommend all players do as I do and become more healthy overall.

Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/Slingshot illustration