Slingshot’s Andrew Kim caught up with FlyQuest’s Hai “Hai’ Du Lam after Sunday’s thrilling 3-2 win against Counter Logic Gaming in the quarterfinals of the North American League of Legends Championship Series.
Andrew Kim: Congratulations on the reverse sweep, it was an exciting match. What are your thoughts on the victory?
Hai “Hai” Du Lam: Pretty damn good. It’s a good story, you know? It’s a nice script that Riot wrote. I appreciate them for letting us win this one. Hopefully they write us in for the next one too, so we can have the FlyQuest vs. Cloud9 final if that happens.
AK: There’s a lot of noise that half of the success of FlyQuest is attributed to your shot-calling specifically. It’s almost a meme in a sense where people keep mentioning Hai’s shot-calling on Twitter, Reddit, anywhere where you have fans. I want to ask your thoughts on that particular evaluation of people’s praise for your shot-calling.
HDL: I think it’s definitely overrated now. Since the split’s started, we’ve been switching to a different system. Back in the past we used to just mainly have me do most of the talking. It was 60, 70 percent me. Nowadays I’m down to like 30 percent talking because we’re just having everybody improve on communication and they’re making calls now too, because that makes a smarter and a better player. I think it’s a better system to move towards, so we’re moving towards a more democratic sort of system. Sure, I’m still really loud in the team fights and the games and stuff like that, but I’m definitely talking a lot less than I used to in the past.
AK: There seems to be a trend not only in North America but in Korea as well with KT’s Mata (Cho Se-hyeong) saying that he’s moving away from his solo shot-calling, and Ryu (Yoo Sang-wook) said in a previous interview that Phoenix1 is trying to go for democratic shot-calling process. Why do you think it’s moving from the single control tower to more of a group effort?
HDL: Well it’s just when you have, say, five people working on a problem. You’ll probably do that problem a lot faster and better than a single person telling other people what to do, you know? As far as coming to an answer. It’s definitely a lot more chaotic or messy because it’s five people trying to say X, Y and Z, and we definitely have times in games where we have too many people talking. So one of us almost has to tell everyone else to shut up, but as time goes on, it just becomes a better system just because everyone just understands more of the game. You don’t have to tell a person to do X, Y and Z because they just know by now because they’ve been making those calls. It just makes everyone a smarter player and think more. When you’re thinking about the game, you make less mistakes, you make better plays, and you’re just generally a better player. That’s what we’re working toward.
AK: You’re a very experienced player in the NA LCS, doing reverse sweeps, and coming from behind to take a victory. Over the course of your career, do you find something that is helpful in anchoring you to constantly tell yourself that you can come back like you did today?
HDL: I don’t think it’s necessarily any specific thing or mantra I need to tell myself. I just understand each game is separate from the previous games, and we’re good enough to beat anybody. It doesn’t matter if we start off 0-2 or 2-0, take it a game at a time, and that’s what you gotta do to take the victory home.
AK: What was the biggest reason behind your successful reverse sweep? The first two games it was very one-sided in Counter Logic Gaming’s favor and a lot of people were saying on social media that it would have been very demoralizing for FlyQuest, not only because they lost but more because of the manner that they did.
HDL: I think we do a lot of dumb things when it comes to drafting. We put ourselves in bad positions to win. You can win with almost any composition, but sometimes you just play it once better than others and/or they’re just strictly better than others, and we didn’t have a very good grasp of what we needed to do to beat CLG, and it took us two games to try and figure out what to do. Once we figured it out, we executed it better and better and better. Even Game 3 was a little bit of a bloodbath kind of, but we knew how to beat them and we figured out what to do.
AK: When you’re a professional gamer for this long for a single game, is it any fun anymore? Do you find the game still enjoyable?
HDL: I was pretty damn happy when we beat them in Game 3, so it’s still pretty fun. It’s like, obviously it’s not the same amount of allure as in the beginning. New world, new game, new characters, whatever. But the sense of victory and accomplishment after your hard work has shown through. That still feels good. Your teammates are happy, you’re happy. It just feels nice to win no matter what.
AK: Let’s end with bragging about your team. What are you good at, why is your team is good, and why are you going to win?
HDL: So I think as a team we have the least resources available to us and we’re still pretty damn good. A lot of people say we suck, that we faltered off the split, but we’re trying to switch to a different style of playing the game and trying out new champions. So to everyone that says we suck, they can basically fuck themselves you know? Even if we do suck, whatever, fuck them you know? I don’t really care. We’re working at getting better as a team, and just everyone on the team understands we’re new to this together, we’re gonna get better, and we got this.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/illustration by Slingshot