It may not be until early next year, but be ready LCS fans, because you will be seeing Bill “Eyla” Nguyen in North America’s top League of Legends competition, and sooner rather than later too—after his first taste of the league in Lock In and Spring, the Aussie is counting down the days until he returns.
The Liquid star is more than happy to bide his time though, he tells Dot Esports after returning to Academy, especially as he keeps learning as CoreJJ’s deputy.
For Eyla, competitive League of Legends is simply a long ladder he has to keep climbing. Every rung is a new level to aim for and eventually surpass. Every year has seen him take a step too. First, in 2018, he announced himself in Oceania on Chiefs Academy. By 2019, he was starting for the org in the OPL and was crowned Australia’s most valuable player a year later playing for Order in 2020.
This year saw him take another—unfortunately impermanent—step up to the LCS with Liquid, winning Lock In in preseason and playing seven games in Spring.
CoreJJ’s green card eventually got the green light, however, and Eyla returned to TL Academy. That’s far from a negative, the support says, especially when he gets to play with fellow expatriate Harry “Haeri” Kang and continue his League lessons under Aussie coach Jake “Spawn” Tiberi.
But, either way, Eyla is itching for a chance at the “big fish” again.
“There’s always a bigger fish, a bigger pool, a bigger lesson,” the Australian told Dot Esports. “In OPL, I thought I was the best support [when playing for] Order, so I was really confident in myself. I had a big ego.”
He laughs while remembering. “Then I came to Academy and it was like this big, “Holy crap!” moment for me. There’s so much more that I have to learn. When I was at Order I’d watch LCS and be like, “Yeah, I’d gap them,” so coming here, seeing all these players above me [in the LCS] and learning, that was great for me. [Starting from the bottom again] is really motivating. It kills complacency.
“I have one goal: push myself to become better. LCS gives me that.
“Look, Academy supports aren’t much better [than OCE residents]. But LCS supports, they are. For me, that’s fun. I don’t want to be at the top, I want the challenge.”
His short-burst stint with the Team Liquid starting roster definitely handed Eyla the League challenge he’d been craving. He stepped up alongside Bwipo, Santorin, Bjergsen, and Hans Sama, and simply aimed to “not fuck up.”
Instead, Eyla quickly proved that he is more than LCS ready.
“That was a weird feeling for me,” he admitted. “Walking away from those LCS games, it certainly left me with a mixed reaction. I know I played pretty damn well. I’m especially proud of my Thresh. And beating Evil Geniuses 3–0 [in the Lock In finals]. But then the feedback, that hurt my confidence.” Then Eyla laughed, adding, “That’s really a good thing though! Like I said, my ego could take the hit.
“Mainly, I felt bad holding Hans [Sama] back on-stage. He is really good, but when he was playing with me we didn’t have the strongest lane ever. But I know I did really well. I will have so much more confidence next time. So it’s a bit of both.
“But I have so much to learn, and playing with the LCS team really hit that home. It was a bit of both, playing, in that it made me more confident and gave me a path.”
The biggest question for Eyla’s future is actually quite simple—where will the Australian support star actually go next year in his pursuit for top-league playtime?
Of the ten LCS lineups, only two have supports off-contract this year. Eyla’s support mentor, CoreJJ, is one of them. The other is fellow Oceanic import Mitchell “Destiny” Shaw, who has played 102 games for Immortals and carved out a major place for himself in the League team’s inner circle.
Beyond that, every support has deals running to either 2023 or 2024.
Current contracts for LCS supports
|Huhi||100 Thieves||November 2023|
|Winsome / Isles||Cloud9||Both November 2024|
|Vulcan||Evil Geniuses||November 2024|
|Olleh (import)||Golden Guardians||November 2024|
|CoreJJ||Team Liquid||November 2022|
|Shenyi (import)||TSM||November 2024|
However, League contracts are notoriously flexible and LCS teams reshuffle rosters after Worlds most years. Eyla could easily pinch a spot come late November. But you won’t catch him thinking about any of that just yet.
“Where I go next is in the back of my mind,” he said.
“I want to keep moving up, yes, and I don’t want to be trapped on an Academy level like players across the league have been in the past. But, looking at next year isn’t what I’m doing right now. I always try to perform in the moment. I can’t be like, oh, will I play for Liquid, hey, there’s a spot on TSM, any of that.
“Doing that, you get too caught up in it,” he explained. “That’s not how I do it. I just think to myself: I’m going to shit on everyone in Academy, and see where that leads.”
And so, for now, the young Aussie is happy to continue his LCS Academy journey. His League development team is playing LCS Proving Grounds 2022 Spring right now, with the TL squad through to Round two via a victory over Winthrop University. And then, later in the year, he’ll start tossing up his top-league options.
There is one thing he’s already imagining though: facing CoreJJ.
“CoreJJ has been so amazing, he’s such an insane influence on me,” he said. “If he keeps playing, next year, I cannot wait to play against him. That will be so crazy.”