After a series of losses by 100 Thieves, Aaron “FakeGod” Lee was tasked with replacing one of League of Legends longest-standing veterans, Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho. Although his original plan was to spend his rookie year in Academy, he’s determined to make his time in the spotlight worthwhile.
FakeGod’s professional League career began at the start of the year right after attending the 2018 Scouting Grounds event where he was recruited by 100 Thieves to play on its Academy roster. When the Summer Split began, however, 100 Thieves’ main roster struggled and went 0-4 in two weeks. To avoid completely tanking their season, the team swapped out Ssumday and Max “Soligo” Soong for FakeGod and Ryu Sang-wook.
FakeGod didn’t spend much time playing on the original roster, but he thinks a reason for their early downfall was due to communication issues within the starting roster—or, to be more specific, a lack of communication.
“I wasn’t there, so I [couldn’t] hear the scrims,” FakeGod told Dot Esports. “But I know Soligo’s not very talkative sometimes. I think [Ssumday] can talk, but I don’t think he forms gameplans.”
In comparison, FakeGod said with Ryu in the mid lane, the updated roster has more direction and can form gameplans more easily.
“Maybe the synergy between mid and jungle makes this new roster work,” FakeGod said. “So you can see it in how the team plays bot and mid usually. Maybe that’s the direction or maybe that’s the direction the old roster lacked.”
The swap provided an immediate boost. Their record jumped to 7-9 and they’re now fighting for a playoff spot. And it’s hardly been easy. FakeGod has had big shoes to fill since stepping in for Ssumday, and that’s created a lot of pressure for this rookie. Ssumday played for years for KT Rolster in the LCK and has consistently remained a top performer in the LCS despite how his teams play.
“I usually feel pressure closest to game day,” FakeGod said. “When I see Academy games, I usually just see how [Ssumday’s] doing. He’s always doing well, he’s winning literally every match and it’s like wow, he’s good.”
Although FakeGod has been performing well, his experience pales in comparison to Ssumday. FakeGod made it a point to mention the swap from Ssumday to him is purely circumstantial. And because of this, he’s determined to try harder and not let his team down.
“I have to try to keep playing better because I know they [would] probably take Ssumday if they could,” FakeGod said. “But the import rule [exists] so I just want to make sure that management doesn’t regret it or think ‘if only we had Ssumday.’ That’s the main pressure I feel because I’m a rookie but it’s not like Viper where he’s the main player. It’s just like out of circumstances.”
Luckily for FakeGod, he has an entire team behind him to help him improve. Ryu, he says, has helped him develop his skills more than any other player on the team—mainly due to Ryu’s side lane prowess and the similarities between mid and top lane.
“Ryu gave me a lot of tips, like Ryu’s words of advice,” FakeGod said. “Like if you’re not sure you can ask your team, and then a lot of side lane stuff. Ryu’s a good sidelaner, so I actually learned a lot about sidelaning just from playing with him.”
In addition to stepping into Ssumday’s position and pushing his individual skill, FakeGod has had to adjust to a completely different setting: playing on stage. Before this year, he’d been playing in his bedroom away from all the lights, cameras, and audience members. Even when he played in Academy, the games were remote and came with less interference.
“When I was first [on stage], it took me off a little bit,” FakeGod said. “Like I wasn’t focusing completely on the game. It’s more distracting than a normal experience. We have to focus and deal with other distractions in a different environment. It’s a lot more stressful than what it looks like.”
As FakeGod continues adjusting to his life on stage, the team has two games remaining before playoffs. All of 100 Thieves’ early struggles and FakeGod’s efforts to improve for the team will come down to their final matches this weekend against Clutch Gaming and CLG.