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League of Legends

4 May 24


Bosstones, contributors


DIG eXyu Discusses Spring Split and Lessons Learned

As the MSI season settles on us, we look back. Grabbing DIG’s Jungler eXyu, we talked about last split, playoffs, and all the ins and outs of what’s been going on in the scene and his life through it all!

After some time away from the disappointing loss to Team Liquid in the Spring Playoffs, we sat with DIG’s Jungler Lawrence Lin “eXyu” Xu to review the season and more. We cover topics all the way from last Summer during the brief time between the Academy and LCS scenes, to now, where after fielding his first full LCS split, eXyu feels there’s more yet to come for himself, the team, and League of Legends going forward.

Before we get into questions that cover the split and playoffs, I wanted to wind back the clock and talk about the changes prior to the start of the Spring Split. The entirety of esports went through the ‘esports winter’ as outlets like to call it, and the LCS reflected that period of change with new leadership under MarkZ, the dissolution of some teams' Academy rosters, and a lot of restructuring overall at the LCS level. Can you talk to me a bit about working through that period of uncertainty having been a primary performer on the DIG Academy team at the time?

eXyu: Yeah, going back to the Summer of 2023, right before the decision to remove the Academy teams started, during that time there was a lot of turmoil within the scene, obviously. Our team was particularly affected too, so the stress of that time compounded on everything. Especially for me as I was in Korea boot camping to prepare for the Summer Split, and like two days before Summer Split started it just got entirely canceled. Which, I could only call ‘kinda crazy’ looking back.

In terms of an ‘esports winter’ the scene is definitely not in the same place that it used to be a few years ago. But I think it kinda does weed out some people, and I think generally it’s going in the right direction. I think Mark is doing a great job in terms of leading the LCS, and I think he’s the best for the job.

I’d say the term paycheck stealing is loosely thrown around when talking about everything. And in some ways that was the case with some veterans who weren’t really giving it their all and were just existing in the League. But, with all that’s happened, those folks that are here, are here. And this split showed that. All the teams were pretty competitive with each other, all had good and entertaining games, and with people enjoying the content and production, I think it speaks to those that are still around. Though a lot of folks left with a lot of the vets leaving the scene, this last split I think could speak to a resurgence of the LCS.

One of the biggest changes to the Spring Split and playoffs was to have NA be on the forefront of each patch. Being the first region that played on the live patch any given update, what has it been like for you to play in that new atmosphere?

eXyu: It’s honestly fun! It’s definitely interesting because a lot of what NA has always done is copy what the Asian teams are doing. Which is pretty commonly known at this point. A lot of teams just played what the Korean teams were playing and that was that. But we kinda had to be the innovators for at least one or two weeks, until those leagues started up. Afterwards, a lot of teams would still try and trend towards whatever LCK and LPL were playing, but I think there was a lot of innovation at least from our side in those early weeks.

Considering some DIG related roster updates at the time, you were elevated to the LCS stage fully at the end of the year changes, but with it came some new additions in Dove and Isles. Can you talk to me a bit about what it was like to work with and establish rapport with those guys as you prepared for your first run together?

eXyu: Working with Isles has been incredible, honestly. I was a little concerned at first since he had somewhat of a reputation that I think now is a bit undeserved. But yeah, I’m excited about what we have going and going forward with each other.

As far as Dove, of course there’s that language barrier that doesn’t make working with him the easiest. But, we’re still working at things trying to overcome that and we’ll keep at it and see how it goes!

Thinking now about the Spring Split itself, reflecting on yours and the team’s performance, what do you think about this roster’s first run together?

eXyu: I’m grateful that we did make the playoffs, but ultimately we were expecting it from the beginning in some ways. We felt confident about our ability in that regard. I think our exit from the playoffs was a bit disheartening though, and I think it kinda showed our overall ‘youth’ and ‘rookiness’. And I think because of that lack of experience, through the split, we kept really close to a default style of play because we were scared of losing regular season games and only aiming to make that playoff spot.

Whereas teams like TL were kinda prepping for the playoffs themselves, and we were prepping to -make playoffs-, if that makes sense? Once we got there we realized, ‘Hey these guys are practicing other styles and stuff and we really only have the one fully prepared.’ And I think that’s what hurt us the most in the Bo5 format.

You guys, of course, fell short to TL who would go on to win against an, at the time, highly touted Flyquest roster. Is there any solace found in losing to the eventual Champs and what would be your biggest takeaway from the playoffs overall?

eXyu: No, honestly. (laughs) There’s no joy in being knocked out by the eventual Champions. At least on my end, though others might feel differently. I’d say the biggest takeaway is that ‘Scrims are really, really, important and not just confidence boosters.’ Sometimes we’d scrim and try something new and we’d lose on it before going back to what we were winning at. And I think that’s a bad mindset. If you wanna be a Championship team, you need to have that diversity. If you just wanna make the playoffs, getting really good at that one style will do that, but all of our goals are to make it past the playoffs and into Championship contention and beyond. That and just focusing on how to improve rather than just walking away from a day like, ‘That was a good day of scrims’, ya know?

Twisting a bit to think about how the Jungle Meta evolved between January and now, a lot has happened in four short months. We started out with a meta that was heavily dictated by the existence of Rell, Vi, and Sejuani before we changed into a playoff that featured more Lee Sin and Xin Zhao who were less present during the full split. Is that sort of change drastic to experience and what do you think was the cause of all that change in such a short time?

eXyu: So, it’s definitely a bit different. Especially for me. I think this is where players with experience end up having an edge because they can be like, ‘Oh I played through this meta or I played through that meta’ whereas someone like me, I’ve definitely had more experience in the Tank Meta since last year there were a lot of Sejuani and Maokai games. So, as we got to the playoffs, especially as a rookie, I was a bit unconfident on those picks like Lee or Xin Zhao as far as demanding what I need for the game to be good for me. I’d be playing that carry style but adapting them in that low resource mindset and that’s not what you need on those Champions.

As far as what caused that shift, the Jungle meta changes more off of what changes in the lane metas, so with certain carries becoming more viable it’d bring picks up and down. Senna-TK being viable enables Carry Junglers for example since your Bot Lane is so low resource focused. Whereas lanes like Ashe or Varus who are wanting to fight a lot and have pressure need their Jungler and need them to be there 24/7, so that means lower resource Junglers are more of a thing.

For some fun questions to send us off, the content team got the better of you and had you judge your girlfriend’s play unknowingly. Did she give you a hard time on your initial takes of her play?

eXyu: Luckily, no! (laughs) I don’t think I was that harsh with what I said. And she agreed with that thankfully. Obviously, nothing was personal either so with that and my spidey-sense telling me something was up, I was able to hold back a little bit which was good. I actually saved myself! But it’s been fun to do content overall. I’m always happy to be a part of the content and do more of it.

With some time for MSI between you and your next game on stage, what have you been keeping your hands busy with in the meantime?

eXyu: I definitely took some time to myself. But, League is kind of a hard game to stay away from. I was like, “Yeah I’m gonna stay away from this game for a week.” But ended up playing the day after. That’s just how it is. (laughs) You can’t really stay away from League when you’re as addicted as Pro players are. But, otherwise, I’ve been trying to do more content in general. My girlfriend’s been helping me stream, do TikToks, and all that stuff.

I had this idea for a bit that because I was a ‘Pro’, I didn’t have to provide content. And I’m trying to step away from that mindset because that’s what fans want and what they wanna see. Stuff like that helps them relate to us and to the LCS overall, and it just makes everything more enjoyable for everyone. And I’ve honestly been having a great time doing that, and I look forward to doing more of it!

Closing Out

That’s all there is to say from eXyu! Thanks to him for taking the time to sit with us. If you want to see more of eXyu off Summoner’s Rift, you can check him at the following social media links!


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