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Hakuho: “I think that all of the teams that went to Rift Rivals were cursed, except TSM…When I saw SKT lose both of their games after coming back I was like, ‘Ehh, they’re cursed.'”

Hakuho thinks all the teams that went to Rift Rivals are cursed.
Hakuho (Nickolas Surgent) explained EnVyUs' defeat of Cloud9 by saying all the Rift Rivals teams were cursed. Photo courtesy of Riot Games/Slingshot illustration.

Team EnVyUs kicked off its 2-0 Week 6 of the North American League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS) with a surprising sweep of Cloud9 and finished it with a win against Echo Fox. Slingshot’s Emily Rand caught up with EnVyUs support Nickolas “Hakuho” Surgent to discuss his team’s improvements over the split and goals for the rest of the season.

Emily Rand: Congratulations on your victory over Cloud9. How are you feeling?

Nickolas “Hakuho” Surgent: I’m feeling good! I think winning against C9 was really important for us, to show that we improved over the two weeks we had to practice.

ER: How did you spend your two weeks while Rift Rivals was going on?

NS: We just practiced for the two weeks. It was normal for us. We just got to see the teams that were playing. It kind of helped us to scout out what they might do.

ER: Did you see anything surprising out of the Rift Rivals teams?

NS: Not really. Well, P1 kind of showed up at Rift Rivals, so they looked a lot better.

ER: I was going to say, maybe you were the P1 prophet if you weren’t surprised.

NS: (laughs) I actually really like P1, but we don’t play them anymore so I don’t have to follow their play as much. Them beating all the top teams when they were supposed to be losing every game was pretty interesting.

ER: A few weeks ago, I talked to Apollo, and he was talking about how he felt that this was really his chance, and your chance as a bot lane, to step up. You two have been playing together for a little while now, describe how you have improved this split.

NS: I think I’m pretty close with Apollo. We’re good friends. As far as playing goes, we know that we each expect a lot out of each other. I know that he basically wants to make no mistakes, so I focus on trying to help him make sure that we get through lane with an advantage. As a duo, we’re really strong. We usually get leads in lane and then we can move around the map and see what we can do with that.

ER: I noticed that you’ve been roaming a bit more, though you did roam a bit on Karma previously. Is that more of a meta shift from mage supports to melee/crowd control supports? Or a shift in team play style/comfort?

NS: It’s a bit of both. We really want to focus on mid priority, so a lot of it is ensuring that we have vision around mid and make sure that mid can push. Outside of that, the champions always have to roam. In older seasons you see Alistar, Thresh, have been roaming since Season 3. These playmaking supports pretty much have to roam. If the enemy support disappears, you have to start roaming in case they go mid, so bot lane is a lot more strategic now. If you lose sight of somebody, you have to expect what they’re going to do.

ER: How has this worked with both of your mid laners? You started with Nisqy (Yasin Dinçer) today but have previously swapped between him and Pirean (Choi Jun-sik). Does this change anything for you?

NS: Both of our mid laners are pretty similar, so it doesn’t change too much. Usually mid lane and bot lane don’t really communicate back and forth too much unless you’re roaming, and even then, a lot of that is just mechanics. You don’t have to say too much.

ER: What did you think of C9 today in comparison to how they performed at Rift Rivals?

NS: I thought they were OK at Rift Rivals. I heard they were kind of sick, so their play wasn’t super good. I didn’t think we would 2-0 them. I thought that they would be really hard matches, and I guess they were kind of close, but 2-0 was better than I expected. Personally, I think that all of the teams that went to Rift Rivals were cursed, except TSM. In LCK, SKT lost both of their games when they came back and P1 lost their game. When I saw SKT lose both of their games after coming back I was like, “Ehh, they’re cursed.”

ER: You guys have been visibly playing a lot better and improving. What makes this iteration of Team EnVyUs different?

NS: Now we’re just focused more on team play. Before it was just five players and we didn’t really have a team. Now, we always had good mechanical players we just didn’t have the macro or team play to make use of it. I think we focus more on that and that’s why we’re winning a lot more.

ER: Where do you hope to be as a team by the end of the split?

NS: I definitely want to make playoffs. I’d like to have a shot at worlds, but I think we still have to improve a lot for that. We might have a chance, but we have to improve a lot against top teams.

Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/Slingshot illustration