Choi “Huhi” Jae-hyun, support for 100 Thieves, continued his team’s wondrous start in the 2021 LCS Summer Split by defeating Golden Guardians on the second day in the second week of its regular season. Manoeuvring an unexpected Gragas pick alongside bottom lane partner Ian “FBI” Huang’s signature Kai’Sa, 100T thwarted GG’s Jinx-Thresh combination to trample over them after 30 minutes and reach a tie for second place with a 15-8 overall record in the league standings.
Fresh off 100T’s victory over GG, Huhi talked with us for an exclusive one-on-one interview to discuss various topics such as his team’s performance in Week 2, their mid-lane-oriented compositions which have taken the LCS by storm, the difference in coaching styles between Reapered and Zikz, and taking part in the latest episode of the Replay Files special.
About Week 2 So Far
I’d like to know your overall thoughts regarding your games against TSM and GG seeing as you dominated the bottom lane with FBI so far.
Huhi: First versus TSM, we did play the Level 1 pretty good, but I think could’ve played a little better. After that, I think since we didn’t really know where their jungler started, we couldn’t really punish farther ahead, but we were pretty confident going into that 2v2 bot lane as well. As for today, it was kind of like a revenge [game] because after yesterday, we wanted to pressure the bottom more but we couldn’t.
But in today’s game, we went in and–[GG] had that Thresh-Jinx into our Kai’Sa lane and banned two supports, so we knew that the laning phase was going to be hard, but we knew that versus GG we could take them out with whatever matchup we played. I think we just played the lane better than them went on go top over that.
Indeed you mentioned that Jinx-Thresh composition that GG selected. You chose Gragas for the first time since Lock-In, and with that champion, you helped overcome those opposing champions from the early game onwards. Can you explain how you and FBI overcome Jinx and Thresh to then take over the game?
Huhi: Honestly, I felt like FBI wanted me to play different support but I just really wanted to play Gragas there. After that, we were talking about how I would go with AP Gragas instead of the normal tank Gragas like what other people have [opted for]. They usually go for Targon’s [Buckler] with Aftershock, but we knew that we could kill them in lane, so I decided to go with [Arcane] Comet with Spellthief’s [Edge].
Basically, with that Gragas setup, if you land your Q, you’re going to win most matchups and if you don’t, you’re going to lose. We were basically landing every Q and FBI was also having better trades. We knew after the first wave, with the way we played it out, that we won the game and we were really confident going forward. Me and FBI were consistently talking about when we can kill them. *laughs* We said ‘Let’s kill them here’ or ‘Let’s kill them there’ and, yeah, I would say it was pretty fun in the bottom lane.
Had you not selected that Gragas, what champion were you going to select, if I may ask?
Huhi: It would’ve been the typical Kai’Sa where people use her a lot with Nautilus, Leona, Gragas, Rell, and Sett. All of those champions are viable options. There are some pocket picks in there too that I can’t really reveal, but I felt that they knew Nautilus or Leona were the best [options] but they banned them which was the smart choice.
With these two recent victories, you’re now 14-8 overall and 4-1 in the summer. You’ve beaten C9, DIG, and TSM to climb near the top of the LCS standings. Do you think that at this point now, 100T’s competitive respectability has grown from this early stretch? Do you thinking people should give more attention to the team as a viable contender?
Huhi: I feel like we’re still in the process of getting where we want to be. We are definitely improving and there are teams that we think are worse than us, but that doesn’t mean that I feel like in the future that’s going to be the case. I think it’s really important to ourselves that we’re not complacent.
For us, it doesn’t really matter what other teams think. If they think we’re stronger than them or we’re lucky, what we want to focus on is improving what we need to work on, being good teammates to each other in general moving forward, and having a good showing in playoffs.
Within the drafting so far in this split, you guys started off with Karma for your mid-laner Abbedagge, and once teams started banning her, you guys opted for Akali. Akali has exponentially grown in popularity for the second half of the season How has she translated to the current meta?
Huhi: I think it’s pretty good that these kind of Akali picks are getting popular since I have a lot of faith in Abbedagge on playing literally any champion. You’ve seen three Karma picks in the first week and now you’ve seen two Akali picks in the second week. That just means that we can play either style and it doesn’t really limit us, but the teams are scared of it where, for example in this week’s two games, they had to ban Karma in the first phase because they didn’t want to deal with her and we were completely fine with that since Karma is a good comp. We don’t necessarily think that we always have to give Abbedagge Karma to win the game. It’s just one way to win for us [to choose].
Reapered’s Contribution to 100 Thieves
Of course, that sort of strategy regarding compositions has been enacted by your coach Reapered who debuted for the team in this split. How has he changed the team’s general atmosphere for this summer?
Huhi: I think he affected a lot of the mindset and philosophy of what players were [originally] having. Before we were thinking it was a team game so if this guy is playing bad, that would’ve been sort of my fault and I could step in by calling for extra communication or stuff like that. But under Reapered, the mistakes are individualized and that just gives each player more room to grow. It’s not done in a toxic way but rather in a direct way if that makes sense. I think as long as the players are willing to accept that feedback, it would help us a lot and gain a new perspective on what our weaknesses and strengths are and keep moving forward with those.
How has Reapered’s coaching style differed from your old coach Zikz?
Huhi: What I just talked about, I think the biggest difference where he’s more direct on criticism. I think a lot of things are a lot more shorter-time compared to before. Back then, we all cared about our own emotions too much, but now, it’s about dealing with the pressure and criticism which has become part of our jobs. We just have to work with those and by doing that, I think we’ll be saving lots of time and improve.
I remembered back when Reapered was introduced as the newest head coach for 100 Thieves, he said that his goals were to push the team forward and contend for a spot at Worlds. Can you remember your thoughts about that time when you first heard what Reapered said?
Huhi: Even without him, our goal was to make Worlds and win this split. But I think with him, that goal became a little more intense. He had the same goal [as us]. He wanted to go to Worlds, succeed, and he wants us to succeed as well. We obviously want to succeed [too], so I think we were already on the same page in the goals [aspect] and I think that’s why we could understand each other, work together, accept criticism, and whatnot.
Participating in Replay Files
As LeTigress mentioned in that post-game interview, you appeared in that newest special called ‘Replay Files’ and you already shared what it meant for you to participate in that show, but what was it like for you to reunite with your old teammate Darshan and discussing the contents of that Game 5 from 2016?
Huhi: It honestly felt pretty good and refreshing. Going into the filming [of that episode], in my head I was thinking that there wasn’t much that happened, but as I was talking about that situation, more and more [memories] were coming into my head. I’m like ‘Oh, I remembered that this happened and that was funny’ and it just gave me a lot [pleasant] memories. I hope I can do other pieces with other teammates as well and it was really fun and I enjoyed that time.
To end this interview, I’d like to talk a short bit about a tweet that you posted earlier today on Kog’Maw’s build. What went through your head when you posted that?
Huhi: We were watching LEC since we were the first game of the LCS today and I just saw Kog’Maw getting picked versus the Nocturne-Rumble-Varus comp and he was building a really tanky item set like the second item Randuin’s [Omen] with a vamp mythic item and stopwatch. I saw that and thought ‘He will do zero damage, and yes, he won’t die’ but I didn’t see the point of picking Kog’Maw then. I just thought it was funny to see that.