Phoenix1's split got off to a surprising 0-6 start, but they have won three of their four matches over the last two weeks. While it's tempting to attribute the rally to the team's new branded fidget spinners, a more likely source could be the continued development of their new jungler, MikeYeung.
A solo queue veteran who reached Challenger at the age of 13, the LCS rookie has been a big contributor in P1's wins, and is 5-0 on Nidalee. He also, intriguingly, could represent a kind of player that will increasingly make their way to the highest levels of LoL competition: one who grew up with the LCS system since their early teens and could aspire to one day make it there.
Phoenix1 will have a new set of challenges when they take the stage to play against Europe's top teams at Rift Rivals. But before that happens, theScore esports asked MikeYeung about skipping his graduation ceremony, advice for aspiring pros, and where he stacks up against other junglers.
I heard that you skipped your graduation ceremony to practice more. Do you still stand by that decision?
Yes, it was worth the decision to skip my graduation ceremony because I thought it was much more worthwhile to get more practice days with the team before our games against CLG and DIG.
What advice do you have for prospective players who are looking to make it to the LCS?
The key formula that not a lot of upcoming pros have figured out is just a good work ethic and that comes from your mentality as a player (i.e. you should be the type of player that takes a solo q game seriously and looks for areas of improvement). What I did when I was a solo queue player was I would watch countless amounts of VODs to see where I could improve on my weak areas.
How did you end up joining Phoenix1?
After coming off of a seven month break from the game, I had just reached Challenger again with over a 70 percent win rate and one of the solo queue players I met online introduced me to P1.
How are you fitting into the team?
My goal as part of the P1 team is to be the hardest-working player and I believe that even if you’re the rookie coming into the team, everybody expects you to be spending the most hours in solo queue and spending the most hours preparing for your opponents, because all these veterans really respect hard workers.
What has been the hardest adaptation for you playing as part of an LCS team?
The key thing I had to learn was to trust in my teammates and I was lucky because I was able to do that very easily.
What are your expectations for this team in terms of final placement?
I like to think that short-term goals are more important and my next focus is Rift Rivals and our match with IMT on Sunday.
How do you view yourself as stacking up against other NA junglers?
I believe that I have the most potential to improve as one of the only rookie players coming into the summer split.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
I want to say thank you to all my fans that have supported me and I will continue to try my best even if it means spending late nights working on my weaknesses.
Josh "Gauntlet" Bury is a news editor for theScore esports. You can find him on Twitter.