Slingshot’s Andrew Kim caught up with Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes during Week 2 of the North American League Championship Series.
Andrew Kim: NA LCS has been tumultuous so far with a lot of unexpected things happening, and Week 2 seems to be even more of that. How is CLG discussing to deal with teams that are doing much better than anticipated?
Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes: Honestly, I want to say that we treat every team the same. As in preparation, we do the same preparation for every team. We don’t underrate or overrate people at all, usually. I feel like we have the same stuff for every single team and whether we choke on stage or not, that’s up to us. But I’d say so far for FlyQuest, I was actually pretty surprised, and I didn’t think they’d be as good as they are. So, one of the teams, that’s a good example of what you’re saying. And we just lost to them, so…
AK: Coming off of last season, when CLG had some good success, and going into 2017 after worlds, I’m sure there was a team atmosphere. What was it like leading up to 2017, and has that changed since the season started?
TH: I think the atmosphere leading up to the season was really good. Everyone was really confident in each other. I feel like now that we’ve played with each other for so long, we kinda know if someone’s having an off day in scrims or something. We kinda know “It’s this.” We know what to do to help him, so it’s not like we’re trying to figure out and resolve what’s going on. We know what’s going on, so we have to fix it. And I feel like everyone knows each other’s peaks. We all know that we’re super good when we’re all focused and playing well. I don’t think any of us second guess our abilities or anything. It’s just mainly adapting to things that we have struggled with. Atmosphere is really good. I’d say everyone’s a little trolly, while we’re really friendly with each other, usually, I didn’t really witness much negativity on this team at all.
AK: What are some of the things your team is having trouble adapting to?
TH: I think CLG kind of has problems adapting in general just to the actual game. I feel like we want to follow like a set plan. That’s not always the best way to do things. So sometimes we’ll try to brute force things that just actually aren’t possible, and it ends up getting us behind, or we just kinda lose track what to do on stage, and we’re like, “We actually don’t know what to do now.” So I feel like that kinda happens often lately, which kinda sucks, but yeah. I’d just say that adapting in general to in-game stuff and on the fly stuff that doesn’t normally happen, it kinda throws us for a spin.
AK: Who’s the voice of the leader in those moments of disarray?
TH: Depending on the day, it can either be Zaq (“Aphromoo” Black) or me, or probably Huhi? I feel like we all have five voices, we all communicate everything and we’re always trying to give options and stuff, and Zaq is the one who gives the final thing. Especially in like mid to late game, he’ll be the one telling us exactly where to go. But especially when we’re behind, it’s usually more Huhi, because we’re the champs with CC, or Darshan sometimes if he’s not behind. It’s usually me since I’m always playing utility AD Carries, so I’m always the one with CC that can go somewhere.
AK: When you talk about going into the game with a pre-plan, at what point is this strategy made?
TH: Usually depending on the enemy champions and our champions on what we want to do with the game, so it’s like, “Alright, these champs are strong. Before six, these champs are strong. After six, we want to go to this and to this lane at certain times.” But I think a lot of times when that plan doesn’t go perfectly, and something else happens, like “Oh, we didn’t factor this in,” we’re just like, brain boom, we just adapt very well to it.
AK: A lot of the players and the management of CLG say that they want to foster a family atmosphere. How important is having that kind of close familial relationship? Do you find that there is some kind of tradeoff?
TH: For me, I don’t really value the family atmosphere that much. I just want to play with good players that I know are always going to do well, and we’re gonna win. I think the only reason it’s like that is because me and the these other four players, including our coaching staff, have been together so long. We’re able to be really be friendly with each other and not be too harsh. Like I said, we kinda know everyone’s peaks, so if someone is having an off day or whatever, we know how to help them, get them back up. But just for me personally, having an atmosphere like super family oriented is super helpful. I just am better with direct criticism and what needs to improve as fast as possible.
AK: What are some things you personally need to work on in order for CLG to have better results?
TH: I think the best thing I can do right now is probably look for more options when I’m behind. I think if I get behind, it’s a little rough for me to try to get back into the game. Sometimes I realize it too late, on what I need to do, so if I realize things earlier, it would help us get back into the game.
AK: With being a pro gamer for a long time, many veterans are experiencing pain in various body parts. Have you had any pain as a result of gaming, and if you have, how do you deal with it? Or if you haven’t, is there anything you’re going to do to prevent pain from getting worse?
TH: I’ve had weird pains in my wrist before, and my wrist is always like constantly pretty tense. Luckily we have people that help us with that stuff. I haven’t had any game changing injuries where I’m like “Oh I have to stop playing here my wrist is hurting too badly.” I know Jake (“Xmithie” Puchero) had a problem. I knew some other players have had that, but me personally, I haven’t had that yet. I’m trying to do wrist exercises every once in awhile. Usually when I’m conscious of it, I’ll do it every day, but lately I haven’t been doing that. I also have a physical trainer to help us out with that stuff.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games