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FW SwordArt: 'Against SKT, we’re always playing with a lack of pressure'

Flash Wolves support Hu “SwordArt” Shuojie yells during their match against SK Telecom T1 (Riot Games/lolesports)

Taiwan’s Flash Wolves are one of four squads vying for one of the two remaining spots in the 2017 Mid-Season Invitational knockout stage. Their group stage has been a series of highs and lows, exemplified by MSI Day 4 where Flash Wolves handed SK Telecom T1 their first loss of the tournament before falling to Team WE later that day. After their match against Team WE, Yahoo Esports sat down with veteran support Hu “SwordArt” Shuojie to talk about their performances and slight shift in playstyle.

You have had a historically strong matchup against SK Telcom T1. When we asked your coach about it, Chou “Steak” Luhsi he said that he wasn’t sure why that is. Why do you think Flash Wolves have had more success against SKT than most other teams that have played them?

With our games against SKT, we’re always playing with a lack of pressure. SKT has more pressure if they lose, and we always have less pressure playing in that state. It gives [us] more freedom to do what we want to do and everyone is more relaxed. That’s one of the reasons.

Speaking of being more relaxed, top laner Yu “MMD” Lihung had a rough start to the group stage, but today he looked more in sync with the team, even in the game you lost to Team WE. Was getting MMD more involved with the team part of your goal today?

Our goal right now is to be more stable in the laning phase and work better as a team as a whole.

It’s interesting you mention the laning phase, since you’ve been drafting more scaling champions at times, especially for Huang “Maple” Yitang in the mid lane with Ryze and Vladimir. Today, he was back on the Syndra and later Ahri, which gave him more lane pressure. Did this make a difference today? It seemed to work really well.

I think it always depends on our draft as a whole. If we give Maple more scaling champions, we can always put pressure in other lanes instead.

The last time you were at MSI, there was a noticeable shift in the support meta going from melee/tank supports to ranged mages. Now at this MSI, we’re seeing Tahm Kench rise in priority. Why has Tahm Kench become more popular?

Since everyone is focusing on Karma and Lulu during picks and bans, afterwards you have champions like Tahm Kench who doesn’t lose lane as much after those two supports are gone.

You’ve been with the Flash Wolves for a really long time, and before this split there were a lot of rumors that your team was going to break up. Why did you decide to stay together?

I think it’s a nice place to stay at. Everyone gets along and is really strong. I honestly think we have what it takes to be one of the top teams in the world.

Steak had also talked about the difficulty of dominating domestically and then performing internationally. Do you think that being strong domestically helps you or hurts you and in what ways?

I actually think it’s the same for other regions as well because everyone finds their perfect meta in their region. You come to an international competition and all of these top teams are now playing against each other. Maybe the playstyle in the LMS is hard for other regions to play against, which could help us. But then, it’s the same for us against other teams as well.

Emily Rand’s love of the 2013 KT Rolster Bullets will never die. You can follow her on Twitter.