Hai “Hai” Du Lam is one of the greatest
leaders in League of Legends history.


As a shot-caller, he has time and time again proven himself to be one of the very best in the world. Playing his unique "Support carry" style of Mid lane, he led Cloud9 to two dominant NA LCS titles runs in which they lost only 7 games out of 66, an 89.39% win-rate.

In total, his teams played in four straight LCS split finals and reached five LCS playoff semi-finals. Cloud9 were briefly the best Western team with their victory at IEM San Jose in late 2014, and played in three straight World Championships during their time under Hai's leadership.

Hai accomplished the vast majority of the above playing with only five different team-mates over two and a half years. Since moving on from Cloud9, he led two of those team-mates, as part of FlyQuest, to his fifth LCS playoff semi-final, shocking all of the critics who had concluded that his time had passed.

THE LOST SEASON

Modern fans may be surprised to learn that Hai originally appeared on the competitive landscape as a jungler, not a mid laner. His first team of note was Team Orbit, where he played alongside Zach “Nientonsoh” Malhas and Daerek “LemonNation” Hart. The open circuit was brutal in terms of its strength. The first few offline competitions saw Hai’s teams failing to crack the top six due to strong competition in Counter Logic Gaming Prime, CLG.EU, Curse and Team SoloMid. Still, they showed promise, taking games off both CLG squads and upsetting bigger names online.

At the MLG Summer Championship, Orbit was able to finish in fourth place, defeating Curse in a best of three but losing one also. They recruited Jason “WildTurtle” Tran as their ADC and moved Nientonsoh to the mid lane. Late in the year, they again took a game off CLG.EU at the Lone Star Clash 2. Despite finishing the year with fourth at MLG as their best result, the team displayed impressive parity in online competition against a number of North America’s elite.

BUILDING UP FROM NOTHING

Season 3 should have seen Hai's team qualifying for the first LCS split, but their confidence and Hai’s meetings with sponsors led to a lack of practice and a heartbreaking elimination. Two members immediately quit the team and their manager lobbied for a full disband, but rather than comply, the rest stuck together and searched for replacements at the top and jungle positions, with Hai switching roles to become the new mid laner.

William “Meteos” Hartman was acquired through a chance meeting with WildTurtle in solo queue. An “Balls” Van Le came in as the top laner, having shown his skills in mMe Ferus the previous year. WildTurtle was called up to be a substitute for TSM, and due to Shan “Chaox” Huang’s benching, he quickly won a permanent spot, leaving Cloud9 without an AD carry. A recommendation saw them landing present star Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi after the aforementioned Chaox turned down their invitation. With the roster set, Cloud9 demolished the amateur scene and soon boasted a positive scrim record against the elite LCS squads. The team qualified for LCS with ease, destroying compLexity Gaming to the extent that Meteos notched zero deaths during the series. Their first split of LCS was near flawless as the team went 25-3 in league play and subsequently swept the playoffs without a loss, finishing 30-3.

International results were disappointing, both for Hai and Cloud9. At Worlds they managed only three wins, losing to Fnatic in the quarterfinal. In the offseason, they competed at IEM Cologne and experienced a devastating loss to Gambit in the semifinals. Dominant performances from opposing mid laners Alexey “Alex Ich” Ichetovkin and Enrique “xPeke” Cedeño Martínez, two world-class names, saw Hai exposed in a manner not seen domestically. Revenge on xPeke at the Battle of the Atlantic could not fully cover the extent to which he had been laid bare.

As a shot caller, he has time and again proven himself to be one of the best.

A STRONG SEASON

Season 4 looked dangerous for Hai as the arrival of Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg saw a new class of individual talent in the mid lane. Nevertheless, Cloud9 finished the split in first place, going 24-4 in league play and again sweeping the playoffs, including a 3-0 win over Bjergsen's TSM in the grand finals. Hai was touted as the MVP for his playoff performance, a satisfying if temporary answer to his critics.

At the IEM VIII World Championship, Cloud9 finished top four, falling yet again to xPeke and Fnatic. International success remained elusive for Hai and his men. What’s interesting to note is Cloud9's top four finish at the All-Stars event in May of 2014. With Hai absent due to a collapsed lung, the team upset the top Chinese squad of OMG. As this occurred with CLG mid laner Austin “LiNk” Shin filling in for Hai and Meteos taking a more active shot-calling role, a cloud of speculation loomed over Hai’s role within the team.

Domestically, Cloud9 would experience their first difficulties in the Summer Split. Cloud9 managed only a single winning week across the first eight of the split, seeing themselves at third to fourth and even fifth at one point. There was a positive sign, however, as they maintained strong performances against the league's best teams. As the split came to a close, Hai and company rallied to finish in first place going into the playoffs. After sweeping their way to the final, Cloud9 would lose their first ever playoff game against TSM. The stage fell prey to a bloodbath, and the final fight of the fifth game decided the champion in the most literal sense.

At the Season 4 World Championship, Cloud9 climbed out of their group with wins against top Western contender Alliance and Korean gauntlet winner NaJin White Shield. Facing Samsung Blue in the quarterfinal was a death sentence, however, as the Koreans had been the best team in the world for most of the year. Cloud9 took a game and some clever decision-making from Hai had them within reach to push the series to a fifth, but they stopped short to see Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu and company move on to the semifinals.

The offseason brought the IEM San Jose tournament which would mark Cloud9's first big moment of international success. Defeating Alliance was the key en route to the trophy as Hai's squad overcame critical deficits to reach the final. At this moment, with Fnatic falling apart behind the scenes, TSM eliminated in a shocking upset by Unicorns of Love, and Alliance bested by Cloud9, Hai had a legitimate case to be hailed as the leader of the best Western team.

At this moment, with FNATIC falling apart behind-the-scenes, TSM eliminated in a shocking upset by UoL and Alliance bested by C9, Hai could legitimately be said to be the leader of the best Western team.

FALLING APART

Rumors in the offseason spoke of Cloud9’s consideration of mid lane agents, but no changes manifested. The new split began terribly with Hai and co. winning only one of their first four games to be tied for last place. As the split commenced, Cloud9 grew in strength and managed to finish second overall with a 12-6 record, concluding 11-3 after the tumultuous first two weeks. Before the end of the regular season, Cloud9, then third overall, headed to the IEM IX World Championship. The tournament was the first true international disaster of their careers, bottoming out in last place and losing to LMS team yoe Flash Wolves.

In the playoffs of the LCS they would find resistance earlier than the finals this time around. A semifinal against Team Liquid brought back memories as they’d defeated the Curse core in the previous two semifinals without a loss. This time, TL boasted stronger individual players and won the first two games of the series. Cloud9 thrilled fans and showed their veteran mettle by bringing back the series to a tie before winning the key Game 5. Despite winning the opening game of the playoffs, Cloud9 still faced an uphill challenge against TSM, the team who finished first in the regular season and won the aforementioned IEM IX World Championship.

Prior to the Summer Split, Hai announced his retirement from professional play as he was prepared to step into the role of Chief Gaming Officer for Cloud9 and advise them on player acquisitions and other matters. Having supposedly played a role in helping Cloud9 sign their Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team, Hai seemed suited for the part. Replacing him in the mid lane was Nicolaj “Incarnati0n” Jensen, infamous for his long Riot ban due to his negative behavior in solo queue, but the Danish mid laner was also known for dismantling his opponents and routinely showing an incredible level of play. Fans were understandably hyped, riled by their imagination of a Cloud9 equipped with a world-class mid lane presence.

Such expectations proved far from the reality fans were faced with as Cloud9 went a dire 3-7 over their first ten games. Everything had fallen apart. Their shot calling was notably weaker, Incarnati0n struggled to carry and Balls seemingly checked out entirely. Jack Etienne, Cloud9's owner, decided to bring Hai back in place of Meteos as an emergency fix to the shot calling. This did not entirely repair matters, however, as Cloud9 went 3-5 to finish the split. They would miss the playoffs for the first time in history.

Hold on. Hai’s HTC is ringing.

A change in the qualification structure of the World Championship for Season 6 meant Cloud9 could still play in the final qualifier for North America. They started at the bottom of the gauntlet where they were required to win three consecutive best of fives to qualify. Incredibly and much against expectations, Cloud9 would do just that. First up was Gravity Gaming, who had led the LCS standings for three of the last four weeks. Hai attempted to play Amumu, long removed from being a meta pick, in the first two games and lost both. Cloud9 would rally to reverse sweep Gravity and move on.

Their next opponent, Team Impulse, did not seem as dangerous a prospect without their skilled mid laner, but the squad still managed to win the first two games against Cloud9. Astonishingly, Hai and his men again climbed out of a two-game hole and won the following three to survive the series. In the finals of the qualifier, predictions saw Cloud9 with a sure loss. Team Liquid flaunted some of the strongest individual players over the split and finished the regular season in first place. This time, there would be no five-game series: Cloud9 produced a third miracle win, taking the series 3-1.

Over the course of the qualifier, fans could see Hai still searching for a viable champion pool. Across the fourteen gauntlet games, he played seven different champions. His biggest successes came in the form of Gragas and Elise, but his struggles on Shyvana and Amumu forced critics to wonder how badly he would fare at the World Championship. Such concerns around Cloud9, who would be playing at a third straight World Championship, were only intensified by their group stage draw. They drew Fnatic, the reigning European champions who went 18-0 in league play; ahq e-Sports Club, the best LMS team and a top four finisher at the Mid-Season Invitational; and Invictus Gaming, who defeated the mighty Edward Gaming in the LPL playoffs.

All expectations had Cloud9 finishing in last place and potentially losing all six games. Little did anyone know that Hai and company had one final miracle in them. The opener against ahq bore witness to Cloud9 pulling off an upset with Hai showing proficiency on Lee Sin—considered one of the most mechanically intensive jungle champions—and not dying a single time. Against iG, many anticipated Hai’s destruction at the hands of KaKAO, one of the greatest junglers of all time. Instead, it would be another victory for Cloud9 in which Incarnati0n and Sneaky shined bright. In the last match of Week 1, the team faced the best Western team in Fnatic. Yet, in truly stupefying fashion, Cloud9 notched a third straight win with Balls, the most notably underperforming player coming into the tournament, securing a pentakill on Darius.

Even with a miraculous Week 1, Cloud9 fell short of the playoffs as they awoke from their dream and lost the following three and the eventual decider to ahq. To come as far as they had was impressive enough, even without a quarterfinal berth.

ANOTHER CHANGE, ANOTHER RETURN

Hai's attempts to retire in peace would see him half-way out of the door at the beginning of Season 6, with Cloud9 recruiting Jungle star Lee “Rush” Yoonjae but choosing to role-swap Hai to Support, to retain his shot-calling, and rotate him with Michael “BunnyFuFu” Kurylo, one of the rising talents of the region and prospective all-star level talent. The thinking went that Hai could initially guide the team with his leadership, while also showing BunnyFuFu the ropes of shot-calling, and in time the transition would see the latter take over entirely from the former.

The theory was soon abandoned in practice, as losses with Bunny and wins under Hai led C9 to abandon the rotation and simply stick with Hai, now playing his third role in the LCS era. Hai was by no means an elite Support, though he did not suffer as much as he had initially in the Jungle in S5, but his shot-calling remained effective and noticeably impactful. Winning the majority of their remaining games, C9 finished the split with a 67% win-rate and a third seed for the playoffs.

Being paired with TSM, who were coming off an off-season of heavy rehauling and having finished with a franchise worst sixth place seed, C9 were heavily favoured to reach yet another semi-final. Fortunes would reverse as C9 floundered and were eliminated by a TSM team which would finish one game short of the championship and the core of which would be the dominant force for seasons to come.

Having suffered a playoff elimination prior to the final for the first time in his career, Hai finally removed himself entirely from the main C9 roster. Changing positions back to Mid lane and going down to play with the Challenger team, he was joined by former team-mates Balls and LemonNation. They would successfully secure an LCS spot for Season 6, being sold off to a new organisation by the name of FlyQuest.

As a team of players considered long removed from their time near the top of their positions domestically, many expected them to be relegation fodder, especially with Hai again in the Mid lane, in an NA LCS dominated by strong Mid laners such as Bjergsen and Jensen. What's more, the format of LCS had changed to see Bo3 (Best-of-three) series replacing Bo1s, theoretically making it harder for weaker teams to earn points, contrasting to simply summoning a single good game.

FlyQuest shattered all expectations of their mediocrity early, as they won six of their first seven playoff series and sat at second in the league, above TSM. While Hai was frequently named 'Player of the Game', it was not as if his team housed numerous all-star players, but rather that his famed shot-calling saw them acting in unison and edging out wins with decisive actions.

The rest of the split would see the dream turn sour, as losses piled up and the end result was a 9:9 series record, winning only 3 of their last 11 series, leaving them with a fifth place playoff seed. Despite the late drop-off, FlyQuest had only finished with losing records against TSM and C9, the two best teams in the league.

Appearing as an underdog in the playoffs, Hai was facing CLG in the first round, a team which had accomplished great things with the same roster a year prior, winning the LCS and placing second at the MSI - the best result for an NA team at a Riot international event in the LCS era. With CLG boasting Aphromoo, considered one of the great NA shot-callers, and known for their team-play, Hai's natural advantages seemed as if they would be offset.

This time around it was Hai playing the role of spoiler, stealing a five game series to move into the semi-finals for the fifth time in Hai's career. His perfect record of winning semi-finals could not remain as a dominant TSM swept the series to move past en route to the title. FlyQuest lost the fourth place decider in five games, balancing out their CLG win.

The Summer split saw FlyQuest much more in line with the team from the end of the last regular split than the one which had started so hot. Failing to earn a playoff berth, for only the second split in his career, Hai's last chance to reach a fourth straight World Championship berth would come again in the gauntlet.

Starting at the bottom, again, FlyQuest would score an upset. The first victim was Team Dignitas, one of the strongest teams at the end of the split, who had upset fourth seed C9 before falling apart and losing out in the semi-final and third place decider. The series was far from beautiful, but Hai navigated his team to a shocking sweep. This time it would be revenge for the opponent, as CLG handled FLY to end Hai's Worlds dreams for the first season in his career.

A DIFFERENT KIND OF LEADER

There are many ways in which a player can lead his team, yet all components of leadership are often mistakenly bundled up into the single role of “shot caller” within professional League of Legends. While it’s understandable that the shot caller should be assigned a degree of authority surrounding his calls as he makes the tactical decisions for the team, sometimes within a split second, this is only one aspect of leadership. As such, many teams lack effective leadership, mistakenly expecting tactical players to also be capable of leading in the other ways.

Firstly, there is the tactical component of leadership, whereby a player leads his team in terms of the specifics of what they will do and when. Another crucial area is the emotional state of the team. Maintaining a good level of morale amongst the team and ensuring they are motivated to play with purpose in big games can sow the seeds of success before the game has begun. During a match, players look to such emotional leaders for strength in enduring difficult moments or keeping their focus when in the lead. As such, many sports teams have famously had their “emotional leader” be a different player from the tactician and shot caller of the team, often assigning the role to someone more naturally suited through charisma or sensitivity to others’ feelings.

The individual who plays the primary role in the design of the team’s strategy, their general approach to the game and their style, is again often expected to be the shot caller, but sometimes a player who has a skill for reading the game and making decisions in the moment is not as adept when it comes to the less time reliant and more longform approach of creating an overall style and approach. Naturally, the same can be said in reverse, as the case of Steve “Chauster” Chau in CLG infamously showed. As one of the game’s best thinkers, Chauster was put into the shot-calling role and struggled to make quick decisions based on imperfect information.

Finally, there is the kind of leadership which comes through leading by example. Most typically, this stems directly from either a veteran player who is serious at the right times and thus imbues the locker room with the right atmosphere, or a star player who can literally lead the way through the strength of his individual play and his unrelenting attitude in the face of difficult tests. Leadership is a multifaceted subject, with so many respects in which one can have a meaningful impact upon their teammates.

Hai’s leadership can be characterised as taking on the roles of shot caller and emotional leader. Part of what has made Cloud9 so successful throughout their history is the team’s ability to balance out the responsibilities of the other aspects of leadership across the team. Particularly early on, LemonNation played a direct role in studying the Korean metagame and helping set the course of what picks and bans the team would use, directly helping to define their style in respect to which team compositions they would utilize. As the original star of Cloud9 when the team broke out to dominate North America, he delivered big performances over the first two splits in resounding fashion.

THE TACTICIAN

When most people discuss shot calling, they converse purely about the tactical aspect of leadership whereby one player makes the call to perform a specific action, whether that be engaging the opponent, backing off or who to focus. In this respect, Hai is one of the finest examples we have in League of Legends history. Even without the ability to understand other languages and what the best Asian shot callers say, Cloud9’s performances highlight how special Hai has been for his team. Under Cloud9, Hai’s squads have always been most famous for their ability to come back into games in which others would collapse.

A large component of these comebacks found a reliance upon Hai’s ability to formulate a basic plan, whether that be through an upcoming window of attack, a split-second decision to trade for a specific objective, or knowing which fights not to take. As a result, Cloud9 teams led by Hai have often been excellent at whittling down opponents’ leads by finding small gains before decisive battles. Over the first few splits, teams lead in kills and gold against Cloud9, but it was almost by definition that Hai and co. would get ahead in towers and find ways to secure uncontested dragons. There has never been a better Western team at taking dragons for free than the Cloud9 of late 2013 and early 2014.

“We were starting to lose lanes, so we basically said, ‘Alright, let’s stop the laning phase. Let’s go HAM.’ So that’s what we did.”
Hai on C9’s first semi-final game against Dignitas (Gamespot, 2013)

What’s interesting to note is that this was not always an obvious strength of Hai’s. When Hai and LemonNation attempted to qualify for the first ever LCS split in early 2013 with Hai as a jungler, their team lost a crucial game against Team MRN as the result of a disastrous base race call by Hai. In Cloud9, it was very rare to see Hai cost his team the game as the result of a single call. Rather, history has scripted the measures of his phenomenal tactical shot calling. The team’s dominance over their first two LCS splits, losing just a combined seven games, saw many implicating the star power of Meteos and the carry play of Balls as the primary forces driving the team to success.

It was only during the Summer Split of 2014, Cloud9’s third LCS split, that the team was forced to rely upon Hai’s shot calling on a near weekly basis. Cloud9’s struggles throughout the split saw a number of their players—Meteos included—bearing individual issues, but Hai steered his team with great calls that led to a number of comebacks. As a result, even during the difficult first half of the split, Cloud9 held the best record against other top five teams out of anyone in the league.

When Hai departed from the lineup and Meteos took over shot calling responsibilities, many wondered just how much Cloud9 would miss their old mid laner. The team’s incredible individual talent assumed a lack of need for such great decision-making—hardly an unreasonable hypothesis at the time. However, Cloud9’s huge struggles put them in positions where the lack of Hai was more than apparent. His return to the team, their eventual qualification for the World Championship, and their 3-0 during the first week of Worlds are all a testament to how important Hai’s leadership has been from a shot calling perspective.

It is when Cloud9 have been weak, in any respect, that the world has seen what Hai is capable of as a shot caller. The team which limped into Worlds and somehow swept the first week was not comparable on an individual basis to the teams they beat along the way, but Cloud9 maintained a special advantage in respects to shot calling. After honing his instincts, Hai knew he could trust his teammates when it mattered the most.

The C9 of the 2016 Spring split fielded a number of all-star level talents, but games with BunnyFuFu, expected to be the future of the Support position in NA, saw them lacking the cohesion and reactive killer instinct they knew was only a substitution away. Even in his second off-role, Hai was too valuable to be left on the shelf.

"I just kept telling my team to chill out and farm up if you can, we'll win the team fight and end game!" -Hai on C9's comeback win over Curse in week 1 (Team Dignitas, 2013)

“I just kept telling my team to ‘chill out and farm up if you can, we’ll win the team fight and end the game!’” Hai on Cloud9’s comeback win over Curse in Week 1 (Team Dignitas, 2013)

THE EMOTIONAL LEADER

An underrated aspect of Hai’s leadership has been his role as the emotional leader of Cloud9. LemonNation once noted that Hai had a tendency to be hotheaded and argumentative online, initially leading to friction with Meteos, but that in person he was a lot more level-headed and collected. Thanks in part to his failed attempt to qualify for LCS the first time around when his team was thoroughly confident of success, Hai learned to restrain his emotions, instead taking games one at a time and understanding that losing is always a possible outcome.

Hai has been the first line of defense for his team in respect to their mental fortitude. He is the support network for his players and ensures they do not spiral into a negative mental space as the result of misplays or being outplayed by an opponent. Beyond the right words, Hai has accomplished much by getting his teammates to buy into his shot calling and ensuring they are comfortable. Hai understands that when his teammates are comfortable, even in minor respects to the game, they will be more likely to play with confidence and trust in the team concept.

As a result, Hai actively sacrificed part of his own game to achieve such a state of comfort—where possible—for his teammates, and it can be seen in much of the team’s success in hindsight. Meteos was not a player suited for a heavy ganking style in the early days and thus Hai did not make such demands. Instead, he learned how to play a self-sufficient mid lane style and let Meteos farm the jungle. Roaming, and in doing so giving up valuable farm, has always been a hallmark of Hai’s style, so much so that he even described himself as a “support carry” mid laner.

Hai exhibited a tendency to roam from the mid lane while his enemy counterpart farmed the wave to place a key ward in the opponent’s jungle, thus ensuring a lesser likelihood of his bot lane succumbing to a gank. This was a necessary endeavor as Cloud9 executed a strategy—at least early on—that revolved around surviving without much jungle pressure, something opponents were aware of. Hai would also roam to the top of the map to help Balls secure a kill or finish off an opponent who went all-in on the top laner and was left with low health.

When Hai rejoined the lineup as a jungler, he faced a team in complete disarray with the most notable problem being the mid laner, Incarnati0n. Incarnati0n’s issue was not that he was the worst-performing member of the team, but rather reality did not meet expectations and he struggled to execute even his own style of play in LCS games. With Meteos as his jungler, Incarnati0n lacked confidence to play aggressively in lane and pressure the opponent due to fear of ganks. This manifested in an insecurity over the number of wards placed for him. The Incarnati0n playing in those early games was hesitant, overly risk averse and managed a barely satisfactory level of damage output.

Along with Incarnati0n’s development over the split, Hai’s arrival provided him with a much more attentive jungler who seeked to make him comfortable. With Balls out of form, it was necessary to have a carry in the mid lane. Hai famously told Incarnati0n, “I will do my best to bring you to Worlds if you carry me there.” As simple and dramatic a line as that may seem, it was more than just words and reflective of the approach Hai took throughout his career. The Incarnati0n during the gauntlet qualifier run and the first week of Worlds had entirely evolved from the nervous young man that first joined Cloud9. Suddenly, the team had someone playing at a world-class level that consistently had impact in team fights.

In Moon, once a rising talent but someone who had suffered from inconsistent performances at the LCS level, the impact of playing with Hai was clear, seeing him again praised at his position, knowing he could rely upon the decision-making of his veteran Mid laner.

It’s also worth noting that Hai expressed a reluctance to return to active play, but did so due to the team’s struggles and Cloud9’s owner requesting it of him. Ever the leader, Hai accepted the challenge of turning around one of the worst starts to a split anyone could inherit. Hai was not going to leave his former teammates in trouble.

THE SUPPORT CARRY

There were times when Hai’s individual play as a mid laner was notably good, such as during much of the Summer Split of 2013—Cloud9’s LCS debut—and the playoffs of the Spring Split of 2014, when Hai was awarded MVP. Still, upon the arrival of Bjergsen in Spring 2014, it was clear that Hai would not carry in the traditional sense of the mid lane. Embracing this concept from early on as a mid laner, Hai was able to have an impact on games beyond just his shot calling.

Hai often played champions which were either capable of great mobility or utility. An example of the latter would be his Kennen play, where he’d engage opponents out in the open with his ultimate, signalling the rest of his team to join in and successfully win key team fights. The former is best exemplified by his Zed, one of his signature champions. Hai’s Zed play was characterized by split pushing, pressuring the map and the opponents’ decision-making, while his team grouped up for objectives.

Cloud9 was one of the most adept team fighting squads in the West, yet Hai would often play the role of distraction, darting around the fight and drawing crowd control towards him to give the team’s main carries space to focus down key targets. As such, when one thinks of a Cloud9 team fight, we remember a fully-farmed Zac (Meteos) bouncing around and soaking up seemingly infinite damage, Balls landing a Rumble ultimate and racking up kills, or Sneaky auto-attacking opponents to oblivion.

Upon returning as the jungler, albeit over two years later, Hai initially struggled as he was limited to farming and shot calling his team towards team fights, but they were able to win out important games over opponents whose strengths lay elsewhere. By Worlds, Hai adapted to show some proficiency on meta champions, but Cloud9’s strength during his time in the jungle rested in their ability to reach mid-to-late game team fights where they would find success.

Hai, both as a player and a leader, has shown us that there are other paths—beyond the traditional—to success.

WESTERN GEM

Peeling away at the Cloud9 onion took many years, as each layer revealed a new perspective on the team, their composition of styles and overall approach, but the world can now see and appreciate the impact of Hai as a leader in professional League of Legends. When his teams peaked, he led them to unparalleled levels of domestic dominance in the West. When his teams displayed weaknesses, he covered the individual issues by sacrificing his own play and elevated them through his patient approach and his phenomenal shot calling.

His teams listened to him and were able to overcome seemingly any odds thanks to his instincts. He listened to his teammates and provided them with comfort of which propelled him to numerous domestic successes and appearances in World Championships. The maestro of playing from behind has created a legacy of greatness as unexpected as his long and successful career as a professional.

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