Slingshot’s Andrew Kim caught up with Echo Fox’s Austin “Gate” Yu during Week 6 of the North American League of Legends Championship Series.
Andrew Kim: It definitely feels like Echo Fox has been getting steadily better compared to the earlier points of the LCS. What’s the overall atmosphere been like for Echo Fox?
Austin “Gate” Yu: I would say all five players are really working their ass off to try and be the best. We’re all hungry for the highest placing we can get. Each week we work harder and we try our best. I don’t think there’s really anything else to it. We just can trust each other to do the same for each other.
AK: In the current support meta and laning phase being so important, do you find that it’s becoming more difficult to have the spotlight in the bottom lane as opposed to the top middle or jungle right now?
AY: I think it really varies game to game and team to team. Every game it depends on where you’re going to focus the most of your team’s attention based on draft. Certain teams have certain play styles. For example, I think most people would say that we’re very mid-focused. Really, I think it’s not about bot, mid or top. It’s just what you end up after champion select.
AK: So do you think it’s not so much “the meta is this and therefore we’re going to work around it,” but it’s more “this is our composition and we’re going to work in a certain direction?”
AY: Yeah I would say it’s more so like that because you can play whatever you want. The matter of fact is that you just have to execute on your game plan and then have a good idea on how to finish the game.
AK: Froggen is the Anivia king of the world, and she just got a new skin. Did Froggen say anything about the new skin?
AY: Yeah he loves the new skin. New skin, new video for Froggen. You gotta play it in LCS. Nothing else to it.
AK: Do you also watch VODs from other regions for studying or preparation?
AY: I try to watch as many VODs as possible within my time. I think it’s unreasonable to say that I’ve watched every VOD, but I would say I watched like 70 percent of all the VODs that are available. I watch every region, but primarily I learn the most from LCK because there’s a lot more intricacy in the things they do. Even in champion interactions, and people tend to play more aggressive so you can learn from how they play compared to some other regions, they just sit on their hands and they don’t do too much.
AK: Is there a certain player that you pay more attention to in those VODs?
AY: I like Mithy (Alfonso Aguirre Rodríguez) from G2. I think I learn a lot (from) how he plays. I like his Tahm Kench play too. I personally like playing that champion a lot, and I don’t know any other Tahm Kench players that are at that level, so he’s one to go to. In LCK I like to watch KT Rolster, SK Telecom T1. I think most people would say that too because their team play is the cleanest out of all the teams.
AK: The League of Legends international tournaments are in an awkward spots as teams decline invitations but with some voices saying that we need more. Do you have a particular opinion on the status of what that looks like?
AY: It’s definitely hard for teams to compete internationally because we’re all bound to the league system. Every region has their own league system, and they all play at the same time, so there really isn’t a compromise. I would say if the leagues are the same as they are now, there’s really no way to get more international competition just purely based on time. Moving into the future, if each league had weeks that they took off to fit in international competition, it would be good. But I think that’s really down the road and most teams definitely value their spot in the league more than just experience in an international competition as we’ve seen so in NA. No teams decided to participate in IEM. I think overall there’s no great solution, but it would be nice to get some more international competition.
AK: With the way the NA LCS is looking as right now, who is the most underrated player in the NA LCS right now?
AY: I personally think Hakuho (Nickolas Surgent) from EnVyUs is very underrated. Just from playing against him, he has a good understanding of the laning phase and he’s like a core of his team. Even though EnVy is in last place right now, I think he’s really performing and if they were to go up in the ranks, it would be mostly because of him.
AK: What is your prediction for the end of the spring split playoffs, how well do you think you guys will do?
AY: I guess if we’re looking at it step by step, I will say we’ll make playoffs, and then we’re going to go as far as we can in the season which I think is, we are all on the same page, we can make finals.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games