A player like Hai "Hai" Du Lam knows his way around League of Legends’ Summoner’s Rift. He’s been kicking around in the pro scene of League of Legends for nearly a decade. In that time he’s gone with Cloud9 to a number of North American LCS tournament and season playoff wins. He also currently owns League of Legends team Radiance since his retirement from active play. Likely, it’s all good reasons as to why Red Bull brought Hai in to drop some knowledge that will help players compete in its ongoing Solo Q 1v1 tournament series.
The Red Bull Solo Q 1v1 amateur tournament series has been going on since it first event in August was announced, and it continues on September 20, 2020 at 12p.m. PT / 3p.m. ET with Qualifier #2. The whole Red Bull Solo Q series is chock full of prizes and opportunities to compete and win on the way to a final 8-player tournament that will decide the best solo player of all from the mountain of hopefuls competing. They’ll also win cash prizes and a private coaching session from the Cloud9 team.
With so much on the line through this tournament series, we got to speak with Hai about his thoughts on the tournament itself, his insights into strategy and mindset for the Solo Q event’s specialized rules, and even his personal thoughts on strategy. Hai hasn’t been shy about sharing tips and tricks to help players out before, but if you’re trying to get past your nerves and figure out the best approach to the Red Bull Solo Q tournament, then there’s plenty to learn from our interview with Hai. Check out the full interview below.
Shacknews: Red Bull Solo Q is such an interesting concept. You often get these brash players in League of Legends that will demand you 1v1 them to see who's best. What's it been like to see and be involved with a tournament that actually gives people the arena to do that for once?
Hai "Hai" Du Lam: It's super cool to see people challenge themselves against others. You don't get to see it often in competitive matches or tournaments. It's always 5v5 and players don't have an opportunity to show off as much. I'm excited to see if there are going to be any upsets or hidden talent that will emerge from Red Bull Solo Q.
Shacknews: As a former pro player yourself with high-level wins to your name, you know how important teamwork can be. But it doesn't keep some players in LoL from really popping off and absolutely tipping the balance of the game on their own. What kind of mindset do you feel it takes to be that player that can consistently have that kind of effect on the Summoner's Rift?
Hai: You need the drive to want to be the best. If you aren't confident to beat whoever you think is the best, then you don't have the mentality to climb to the top. At the same time, confidence can be a poison. It's important to keep a balance of confidence and humility with a strong drive.
Shacknews: Red Bull Solo Q obviously has some very interesting rules that set it apart from the typical League of Legends competitive experience even beyond the 1v1 angle. First to creep score, player kills, tower kills, or running out the clock play a factor. Do you feel this drastically changes how players should think about their approach to a match?
Hai: Yeah definitely, the rules are really cool due to the change where it allows a player to die once before 7 minutes. Usually it was just FB but this allows players to make a comeback and makes it exciting since by 7 minutes you'll be level 6. Keeping in mind your win conditions along with the time is going to be the most important.
Shacknews: When it comes to solo match-ups is there any particular champion in League of Legends who stands out to you as an overall safe or advantageous pick? Who would be your go-to or back-ups in this type of competition?
Hai: I think you should really focus on your strengths, play whatever champion you’re best at and it'll provide the best results. Don't "conform" to the meta just to try and win, focus on what you feel most comfortable playing.
Shacknews: With the rules in place for Red Bull Solo Q, do you feel there are summoner spells or rune combinations that might otherwise be unviable in the normal matches of the game? Is there a load-out you feel people are sleeping on for Red Bull Solo Q?
Hai: Due to the nature of it being 1v1, you'll focus purely on early game centric runes and forego safety when it comes to summoner spells. I would be surprised if people run flash, but instead opt for double offensive/defensive spells.
Shacknews: What would you recommend to the player who is coming into this Red Bull Solo Q looking to get a taste of competitive play? The players that might not have competed before and might have the jitters going into a real match?
Hai: It's tough to control your nerves, because usually you're playing for fun. However, in Red Bull Solo Q with prizes and prestige on the line, it'll be hard for players to not have that in the back of their heads. For them, they should find a way to control their nerves, maybe with a walk or exercise before the game. Perhaps pretending to get ready for work could help as well, pretend the matches are work and dress appropriately/clean up so that way you create a semblance of focus.
Shacknews: If there was a player either now or from your active years in the professional scene that you could go up against in this format of competition, who would it be? No need to pick just one if you don't want to.
Hai: When I was still active, I would have loved to play vs Faker as I never got an opportunity to play against him. Nowadays, I think it'd be really fun to see myself matchup against other old pros like xPeke or Reginald.
Want more tips from Hai? Check out his recent offering of tips and strategies on League of Legends champion Syndra via the Red Bull Gaming Twitter.
Need some help getting ready for the Red Bull Solo Q qualifiers this weekend? @Hai is here to level up your 1v1 strats and help you dominate in the next Red Bull Solo Q.— Red Bull Gaming (@redbullgaming) September 14, 2020
Kicking things off with the mage archetype and focusing on Syndra!
Register now: https://t.co/REUZ6Gmtef pic.twitter.com/JycaxX6EUy
It won’t be long before Red Bull Solo Q Qualifier #2 is set to kick off, but there’s still time to sign up on Battlefy for this and future Solo Q events. Be sure to check it out soon and get locked in if you want to compete for your shot at League of Legends greatness.