Slingshot’s Andrew Kim caught up with Counter Logic Gaming’s Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes during Week 7 of the North American League of Legends Championship Series.
Andrew Kim: It seems your performances kind of go up and down depending on who you’re going up against. You do very well against TSM and C9, but then you fell behind against teams lower in the rankings like Dignitas or Echo Fox. Do you think that you guys change depending on who you face?
Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes: Yeah, I think we do kind of play to our opponent’s level, so when we play worse teams, we’ll sometimes just lose to them, and we can’t really figure out why. We had a talk when we lost to Dignitas and it was pretty much just like, we were all not recognizing at the same time as we normally do, so that’s really weird for us, and we’re not really sure how to fix that. Versus Cloud9, obviously, honestly League is a game all about pattern recognition, so you see something and you know what to do. It doesn’t take too much active thinking. It does (to an extent), but at the same time it’s all pattern recognition. So versus Dignitas we didn’t have any of that, and it’s like “OK, they’re just taking everything. We just rolled over.” It was like we didn’t play the game. When we played Cloud9, it kinda came back to us I guess because we were more focused.
AK: Right now Ezreal seems to be a very popular pick in the NA LCS, since we’ve seen it in other regions. What made you feel compelled to pick up Ezreal as well as opposed to earlier on in the season?
TH: Well Ezreal had a resurgence because they buffed Fervor of Battle so Fervor lasts longer now, and they also nerfed lethality champions, so Varus is still very strong in lane but Jhin got weaker, so people just pick Ezreal into Jhin now, and it’s a pretty good matchup for Ezreal. He can just farm and he gets to his items earlier on in the game without being punished. For me, I started picking Ezreal pretty much when SKT did. We just saw their draft and it made me realize, kinda, if Varus is banned, you can just pick Ezreal and there’s not really many counters to it. So you can pick Ezreal and take over the game if you get through lane.
AK: Speaking of SKT, do you personally also watch VODs from other regions for practice?
TH: Yeah we all watch LCK.
AK: Is there a particular player from the LCK that you pay a lot of attention to?
TH: For me in particular, I don’t, I guess I take a lot from Bang (Bae Jun-sik) and I try to watch every SKT and KT game because they both have the best players in the world and I always try to learn stuff from them. But mainly the player I always take stuff from is Bang.
AK: When you say the whole team has to watch the LCK, is it on an individual basis or do you guys get together as a team and watch the VODs to go over with the coaching staff?
TH: We don’t all have to, we just all want to, so we all do it. Usually it’s an individual thing because LCK is on really late at night, usually when we’re about to sleep, we turn it on and watch or wake up the next day early and watch. It’s usually an individual thing.
AK: With the spring split wrapping up, the playoff brackets are being solidified. Which teams do you think will make the playoffs by the end of the spring split?
TH: I think it’ll be TSM, C9, Phoenix1, us, Immortals, and probably Dignitas. I think Dignitas is looking pretty good right now. I don’t know. If they keep continuing on improving they’ll be top six.
AK: Do you have a player that you think is the most underrated in the NA LCS?
TH: I guess Cody Sun. He has improved like a ton from where he came from, and I think he’s one of the stronger laners in LCS right now. I think people overlook him all the time. People look at him and go like “How did people possibly lose to Cody Sun?” But he’s actually really good. People should look out for him more.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/illustration by Slingshot