Few would have expected a mid-laner like David “Yusui” Bloomquist to find his way back onto the LCS Studio when the 2021 LCS Summer Split began. Most believed that his days on the North American main stage, which was highlighted during his brief time with Echo Fox in 2019, were long behind him. But following a surprising substitution made by the Dignitas coaching staff which saw incumbent starter Max “Soligo” Soong move to the bench, that was exactly what transpired for the 23-year-old player. Against all the odds, he’s back to stand among the high brass of the region.
Through Yusui’s Week 2 performance with Lulu against Immortals, which augmented the scaling of teammates including Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett’s Xin Zhao, Toan “Neo” Tran’s Samira, and Aaron “FakeGod” Lee’s Gnar, he contributed to Dignitas’ fourth victory of the split which now put them at fifth in the overall league standings with a 14-10 record.
Soon after Dignitas locked their victory, Yusui caught up with Gamezo for a one-on-one interview to talk about his return to the LCS, how he meshed with the rest of the team during the week of preparation, how he hopes to continue fighting for that starting spot, and much more.
View on Week 2
How do you grade your performance so far in your LCS return in your two games against Team Liquid and IMT?
Yusui: Against TL yesterday, I had a decent game but there were a couple of key moments that could’ve [happened] better and that might’ve made the difference for my team. I was somewhat satisfied just because I hadn’t played on stage for a long time and it felt fairly comfortable, but I definitely could’ve played better. Today, I was on Lulu duty and it’s relatively simple. I think I did my job and we were able to roll [IMT] over. I’m pretty satisfied with how today went overall.
You’ve talked with Dash on your post-game about how the team’s plan with you was to be flexible in the draft and we’ve seen that with you playing Lulu. With that said, will fans expect to see more of those kinds of picks in the future or will we see more of you being given individual agency like during the match against Liquid where you picked Akali?
Yusui: If you followed me, you would know that I really like melee champions [in] mid lane similar to Adam “LIDER” Ilyasov in LEC. I think it’s only a matter of time before I can pull out a new melee champ.
Returning to the LCS
Of course, since you are the talk of the town in the LCS, you debuted with Dignitas after a two-year gap. Can you tell me how the team gave the news to you about your ascension to the starting lineup?
Yusui: I had a meeting with the coaching staff and they basically just told me they were going to give me a shot and they explained why they thought it would be beneficial for the team. It was pretty straightforward, honestly.
In doing so while they were explaining that, did they give you a sort of plan they were going to put you in?
Yusui: I don’t really know what’s going on behind the scenes or what the coaching staff is aiming to do completely, but my goal is to show what I got while I’m playing in the LCS and I hope that the [starting] spot would be permanent, but that will remain to be seen.
What was the preparation like for you with the team? Did you guys have enough time to come up with a quick game plan for Week 2?
Yusui: I think we’re a pretty flexible team. We’ve been talking about our draft priorities and how we want to play the game just generally every single day. We had to change it for each opponent based on perceived strengths and that sort of thing. I think the meta right now allows for a lot of different styles. It’s nice to be able to play a lot of different styles as a team and at the of the day, it’s just about picking five champions that do well together and out-team fighting the enemy most of the time.
You just mentioned the meta right now and so many people have given their thoughts on that within their own respective positions. I want to ask you about the meta regarding the mid-lane position.
Yusui: I think it’s great. I think everything is strong except for Mages. *laughs* Generally, when Mages are strong, they’re oppressive. What seems to have happened was with them being weaker, mostly due to itemization but also some individual nerfs, it has opened the meta to Bruisers, Assasins, Support champions [in] mid and AD Carries. You can play pretty much anything. You can still play Mages, but they’re just not as dominant. It has really opened the mid-lane meta to pretty much anything.
About the Amateur Scene
Besides you playing for Echo Fox back in 2019, you were also a member of Cloud9 within their Tempest team in which you even joined the main team as a substitute. What is it like to return to the main stage as an actual player?
Yusui: It’s good to be back on stage. Cloud9 Tempest was a long time ago and I did take a pretty extended break from playing as a professional. Since then, I’ve been grinding back up and it feels good to return.
And in describing that return to the LCS, can you kind of say what it was like to improve your gameplay and open up your own flexibility with various champions. What was that struggle like to actually improve and then get noticed by those big LCS teams?
Yusui: It’s basically just a lot of playing in Academy. I’ve had to stand out among the rest by playing a wide variety of champions and show that I can take control of games with veterans that were sent down from LCS to Academy–that sort of thing. That has happened numerous times. It’s just about improving my game skills, my leadership skills to the point where I can contribute enough to an LCS team. That combined with playing well in the game added up and that’s about it.
Beginning this year, we’ve seen a change with the LCS and other Academy circuits which have given players more opportunities to get noticed within both the Amateur and Academy scenes. From that department, what do you make of the current iteration of the NA amateur scene?
Yusui: I think it’s fine. I think the format, at least [with] this summer split for the academy, is a lot better. I also think, with the addition of Proving Grounds, amateur teams have a legitimate chance [in] playing these academy teams and show that they’re good. If they do that, they’ll inevitably move up the chain, so I think the foundation is there. The groundwork is there for players that put in the effort and have the skill [to succeed], so I think the changes have been on the right track. Last split, the academy format was bad but Riot fixed it pretty fast and I’m not going to hold that against them. With this split, everything looks good so far.
Can you give a comparison between the academy scene of now the one from before?
Yusui: The amateur scene was pretty much a free for all. The pay was almost nonexistent on most of the teams. I was lucky enough to be on C9 with Tempest which, at the time, was one of the better-funded teams. But yeah, there were a lot of teams that had next to no resources. They were trying to compete and fight for a spot in the LCS. Since then, the landscape has changed quite a bit and there are more resources for players that are up and coming.