Hu "xiyang" Bin has played three roles for Team OMG, including top lane, mid lane, and support. At the moment, he is the starting top laner for the team. As OMG fight for playoffs seeding, he took a moment to talk to theScore esports about his role swaps, takeaways for Chinese teams from Intel Extreme Masters and dealing with criticism.
Before you began to play for OMG, you climbed the solo queue ladder playing only a few champions. Since then, you have been criticized for a small champion pool at any given time. Do you think it takes you longer than some other players to learn new champions?
I was new to pro League of Legends in 2014 and I wasn’t very familiar with new champions and team strategy. In general, I want to find a place where I’m stable in the meta and then enhance my champion pool.
Following cool’s return to the mid lane, what made you decide to remain with OMG and learn to play support instead?
At that time, all of the other positions were very stable. I wanted to stay, but there was only the support position open so I decided to learn it. This decision was reached by both my coach and myself.
Some believe that different personality types are better suited to different roles in the game. Of the three roles you’ve played professionally, which role have you felt most comfortable playing?
It has to be based on my own circumstances at a given time. Top is my most comfortable role.
What appeals to you about playing top?
When I used to play mid, it was a more carry-oriented role. Since I’ve transferred, to top, I think it requires more. I need to know how to start a team fight and also how to be a front line and protect the ADC and other roles.
You’ve played mostly tanks in top. Do you think that tanks are best suited to you personally, or is it just what the team needs you to play right now?
First, I like tank champions. But right now, the champions I play are good on the patch. Winning is most important, so there’s some personal preference, but it’s really what we need to win the game.
Do you like top lane more because of the increased challenge you mentioned or because you feel more comfortable stepping back and allowing someone else to carry?
It was purely based on the coach’s advice that I tried the top lane role. Since then, I’ve just been more satisfied with my performance in top. It just worked out this way, so I don’t like it for a particular reason.
Now that you’ve played top lane for a while, what are your personal goals for this year?
My personal goal is to fight to do my best. But of course I want to try to get into the 2016 World Championship.
Speaking of the World Championship, many western commentators have been critical of Chinese strategy at international events, specifically around lane swaps. What do you think of LPL lane swap play in the current meta?
Based on the recent IEM, I believe that it was a reminder for us to look at Rift Herald more. Taking it helps us push the turrets and the lane more efficiently.
More generally, English speaking commentators have said Chinese teams are showing a trend that they’re slow to adapt strategically to patch changes overall. Do you have thoughts on this criticism?
I think there is a lag in receiving patches on our servers. Sometimes we are a couple patches behind. Because Chinese servers aren’t updated, the only way to adapt is sometimes to watch LCK games.
During your career, you’ve subbed in for players like cool and Gogoing who have very large fanbases. You’ve probably faced a lot of pressure from fans. How do you deal with this kind of situation?
I do see these kinds of comments, but I get past it very quickly. I don’t take it personally as a result of my own personality.
OMG at the moment are in something of a rebuilding period. What is your outlook for this year?
My outlook for this year is “Of course I want to play more.” I want to do my best this year, that’s my outlook.
To conclude, do you have any message for your English-speaking fans?
I’m happy, so I hope they are happy as well. If they play League of Legends, I hope they have a super good game!
Kelsey Moser is a staff writer for theScore esports. You can follow her on Twitter.