Counter Logic Gaming just picked up their first best-of-five playoff win in over three years; in fact, they just ended the longest post-season series drought in the LCS. The last time they won a playoff series, Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes was their starting bot laner. Unfortunately for Stixxay, his playoff series win drought is still going. Stixxay did not expect his first season back in the LCS to end the way it did — especially because he was hopeful for GG’s future.
“I did not expect the series to go to Game 5; I thought we would win 3-0 or 3-1,” Stixxay said. “Despite what the public perception was of us, a lot changed in the two weeks we had off.”
The road to Chicago has closed for @GoldenGuardians with their loss today in the #LCS Playoffs. pic.twitter.com/lPsKmn0qun
— LCS (@LCSOfficial) August 27, 2022
After barely squeaking into the playoffs as the eighth and final team with a poor 5-13 record, many thought it was actually going to be a 3-0 sweep in CLG’s favor. Obviously, that’s not what happened; GG showed up to play and pushed CLG to the brink. Stixxay noted that solving GG’s identity crisis was a big reason why GG looked competitive.
“For most of the split, we were drilling in an agenda of how we wanted to play, which was objective focused,” Stixxay said. “It wasn’t working well with the way our players wanted to play.”
From 1-8 in the second round robin, to Silver Scrapes in the #LCS Playoffs!#GGWIN pic.twitter.com/VTZZevr9JK
— LCS (@LCSOfficial) August 26, 2022
Over the past couple of weeks, the team started to focus on playing off of each player’s instincts. Stixxay said that shifting towards that playstyle opened up a lot of player agency that has been missing all split, which is important for a team with a lot of experience like GG. After all, the team has a lot of veteran talent, with the likes of Eric “Licorice” Ritchie and Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung having played in the LCS for many years. Although it was a small sample size, the changes looked great; they were just way too late.
GG also looked relaxed throughout the series. Although the team’s record heading into the playoff series didn’t paint that picture, the team acted as if they have been here before. That’s because they have been here before, just not as a unit; four of the five starters have already been to Worlds. Stixxay said that playoff experience helped them keep composure.
“I definitely could see throughout the series that CLG was a lot more stressed than we were, but even in the games we were losing we were kind of like ‘that’s fine guys we can always go next’,” Stixxay said. “Even in the last game where the score was like 18 to one we’re like ‘it’s all good, we can still win this actually.'”
Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough; GG’s season ended after the loss, and the off-season will be a long one for every player on the GG organization in more ways than one. Stixxay said his first split back in the LCS after being in Academy during this year’s spring split came with good and bad.
“Overall I thought I had an okay split, considering the circumstances; I mean we had a lot of stuff going on internally with Golden Guardians,” Stixxay said. “That definitely made it hard to focus and stay motivated — I had a lot of good performances, but also had a lot of critical errors.”
Stixxay said he doesn’t have any off-season plans as of yet, but said he will probably go back home to Arizona and think about the next steps of his career. Stixxay felt the current roster could of done something if they hit their stride earlier and said this group of guys were a blast to play with. Only time will tell if this group of five will play together in the future.
“Shout outs to all my teammates especially Olleh I really got along with him this split, the best way I can put it is that he is a competitor,” Stixxay said. “I learned a lot playing with him.”
“All my teammates, everyone went through the same struggles I did with the whole internal stuff going on, we tried to make the best of it; and even though we lost the series, I think everyone is still in good spirits.”