Lee “CuVee” Seong-jin, world champion top laner for Samsung Galaxy, dished out some high praise for TSM’s Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell yesterday in an interview with InvenGlobal.
CuVee was asked who he was excited to play against at All-Stars this weekend, and he only mentioned one player. He said he wanted to play against the NA superstar, because he’s “one of the best top laners outside of Korea.”
Coming from arguably the best top lane player in the world, that’s a very good thing to hear if you’re Hauntzer, but how does Hauntzer actually stack up when compared to the world champ?
For starters, and most obviously, CuVee has seen international success, and Hauntzer very much hasn’t. CuVee performs better under the pressure of an international stage. Not only that, but he excels at it. CuVee feels more at home in a tank meta though, as he’s picked up most of his LCK wins with the likes of Maokai, Nautilus, and Shen—but in the current meta, that works out very well. Thanks to the addition of Aftershock and a revamped Grasp of the Undying with the new rune system, tanks are in a very powerful state.
Hauntzer has dabbled in carry top laners like Jayce, Camille, and Rumble, but his three best champions are exactly the same as CuVee—Maokai, Nautilus, and Shen. He picked up most of his wins in the NA LCS this year with those three tanks, so we can expect both him and CuVee to play similar champions this weekend.
It’s difficult to predict anything on that front, though. With the new runes being live, it’s very possible these two pros will pull out some crazy picks to try out on the stage.
Along with their champ pools, they also have very similar playstyles. Both top laners try their hardest to grab the attention of the enemy team to distract them while their teammates secure objectives around the map. Whether they’re on a carry top laner or a tank, that always remains true, and on their best days, CuVee and Hauntzer can be very difficult to deal with for the enemy.
Unfortunately for Hauntzer, CuVee is objectively better at that strategy, and he’s able to win one-on-two and one-on-three fights more reliably when the enemy jungler comes knocking. If Hauntzer wants to compete with the champion this weekend at All-Stars, he’s going to need to play with much more confidence than he showed at Worlds—and then some.