Seeing Double: Stixxay's Bright Future
The greatest homegrown North American ADC to ever play the game is almost unequivocally Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, formerly of Counter Logic Gaming and now of Team Solomid. Since Doublelift's rocky departure from Counter Logic Gaming, rookie ad carry Trevor "Stixxay" Hayes was forced to step up and it seems he has.
In Doublelift’s early days on CLG, he continually dazzled fans and competitors with great early game performances and spectacular highlight plays. The lane-minded hard carry was often able to pick up early kills and large CS leads through his phenomenal mechanical skill and incredibly aggressive mindset. Turning in great showings time after time, Doublelift gained respect as one of the best in his role not just in North America, but in the whole world.
However, Doublelift’s signature explosive nature came with its downsides. The fiery AD would find himself caught out of position and throwing away gold leads he had accrued almost as often as he was making those great highlight plays. Many criticized him for not being a great cerebral player, relying much more on his mechanical skill to bail him out of a bad spot he routinely would put himself in. Despite his growth, many still liken solo splitpushing as an ADC and getting caught out as a result as being quintessentially Doublelift.
Over time, that explosive nature has been tempered with many years of experience. Doublelift’s play is just as aggressive, but has over time become much more intelligent and responsible; one of the hallmarks of a true veteran of competitive LoL. Many credit former support player Steve “Chauster” Chau with helping Doublelift with this growth, helping him learn how to play certain lane matchups, where to position in fights, and generally helped him grow into the well rounded player he’s become today. Even throughout TSM’s poor last split, he was consistently on top of the league in Creep Score Difference at 10 minutes (+8.6), Damage Percentage (31.7%), and was only behind Immortal's Jason "WildTurtle" Tran in damage per minute (657). Doublelift also boasted the largest regular season champion pool for ADs in NA, at nine unique champions played. He still has the stats to back up his claim to the throne, but has shored up many of his previous faults as a player.
While Doublelift has continued to grow as a player and dominate at his position, he was also unable to move past his tumultuous relationship with Counter Logic Gaming. Enter Stixxay. Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes had massive shoes to fill after Doublelift’s departure, and after a shaky first individual performance at IEM San Jose, fans were critical of CLG’s offseason roster decisions. At the very least, it was evident the rookie would need time to get more comfortable on his team and on the stage before he would begin to compare to Doublelift.
Throughout the last split of NALCS, Stixxay began to do just that. He built up synergy with star veteran support Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black, and started to turn in some respectable performances. But although he was improving, his statistics still left much to be desired, having a middle-of-the-pack CSD@10 (1.8), and trending toward the bottom of the table in both Damage Percentage (24.1%) and Damage Per Minute (460). Coming into the playoffs and later the Mid Season Invitational after this split, CLG was always perceived to be clear underdogs given the roster’s lack of individual talent, specifically rookies Stixxay and Choi “Huhi” Jae-hyun.
Stixxay, however, silenced many of those critics from his performance so far at MSI. Stixxay’s performance has been explosive, aggressive, and incredibly impressive. Lagging only behind World Champion Bae “Bang” Jun-sik in Damage Per Minute, and similarly impressive Top 3 statlines in Damage Percentage, CSD@10, KDA, and Kill Participation, it has been a phenomenal tournament for CLG’s AD. With great synergy and coordination with the rest of his team, Stixxay has been able to put up world class performances with exciting flair.
However, even with his highlight plays, Stixxay still has shown a tendency to position too aggressively and be caught out in fights, dying early in a few of the teamfights this tournament. In fact, his play so far has been incredibly reminiscent of none other than his predecessor Doublelift’s early performances. Dazzling the world with spectacular highlight plays, punctuated by lapses of judgements and devastating blunders. And although the magnitudes are different, one finds a lot of similarities between their play.
Where Stixxay has the head start over the Doublelift-of-the-past is in teamplay. CLG so far this tournament has been the most well coordinated and synergistic team in attendance. Heavily relying on one another to make plays and cover up each other’s weaknesses, Stixxay has been able to thrive as a member of this well oiled machine, putting out large amounts of damage and being set up to play aggressively in fights.
Stixxay has shown much of the same early promise as Doublelift did when people first started lauding him as being a world class AD. And while I still think it’s too early to make such claims of Stixxay, it’s clear that he has the potential and raw talent to go toe to toe with the Season 2 version of his predecessor. Much like Chauster to Doublelift, Aphromoo will continue to help Stixxay grow as a player, already having a massive advantage in the realm of teamplay. And while only time will tell whether Stixxay’s evolution as a player will follow or even surpass that of Doublelift’s, the future looks bright for the young AD.
Statistics from http://oracleselixir.com/