Since his days dominating the Challenger scene with eUnited, Matthew “Deftly” Chen has bounced around the League of Legends Championship Series as one of the region’s most promising young ADCs. Deftly will start for Evil Geniuses in the 2021 season for a chance to show that he can step up to the plate when given the chance.
After a long offseason, we caught up with Deftly to talk about how he spent his time off, improving himself as a player, and how it feels to have a second shot in the LCS.
Hotspawn: You’ve had a pretty long offseason; did you do anything interesting during your time off?
Deftly: I think this offseason has definitely been a rollercoaster and longer than usual for me. Last offseason, I got to go to Worlds with Cloud9, and I felt like I didn’t have much of a break before the next season started. This year I felt like I’ve had a lot of time to reevaluate myself and recreate myself as a player. I think I’m happy I got more time this time around. I’ve been watching a lot of VODs of players at Worlds, thinking about what my flaws are as a player, and trying to work on them intensely during the offseason.
Hotspawn: Anything besides League?
Defty: I got to go back home to Texas and spend more time with friends and family. It’s been a wholesome offseason, I’d say.
Hotspawn: That’s great to hear! Now this season we’ll get to see you back on a starting lineup in the LCS…
Deftly: I’m really grateful for the opportunity to start in the LCS especially with the roster that EG has. I think this is a really good shot to show what I have and the growth I’ve had in the past year and half that I haven’t been in the LCS.
Academy ➡️ LCS
— Evil Geniuses (@EvilGeniuses) December 1, 2020
Hotspawn: Earlier in the offseason it seemed possible that EG was going to go with a different player. Were you looking into other options or considering a backup plan at any point?
Deftly: At the start of the season I had a couple LCS offers, and with the way the offseason played out, things didn’t really work out. I wasn’t worried about Academy offers because at the time there were plenty of teams that wanted me, but I really wanted to play in LCS so I was just hoping things would work out and waiting for that.
Hotspawn: Well with a lot of older players stepping down and being replaced by younger talent this season, it’s the perfect time to slot back in for someone who says they’re looking to reinvent themselves. What are your thoughts on having a clean slate?
Deftly: I think this is probably one of the best chances to slot in. Not only with this team, but also with the general environment of the LCS right now.
Hotspawn: Speaking of which, how do you feel about the new format that includes a low-stakes exhibition-like tournament to open the season?
Deftly: It’s great that teams get to actually have a chance at competing before things count. I feel like a lot of teams don’t really gel together until later in the weeks; I felt like that on Golden Guardians in 2019 Spring. We did pretty poorly the first couple weeks, but then we started picking things up. It’s pretty nice to have this tournament that doesn’t have much on the line so we can perform our best when the season starts.
Hotspawn: Have you gotten involved with inhouses at all?
Deftly: Inhouses are something I’m going to be playing in soon. I’ve had a lot on my plate recently, so I’ve just been doing my own thing [laughs].
I have a lot of motivation to prove the doubters wrong
Hotspawn: [Laughs] A lot of people in the scene are giving off the impression that this years’ inhouses have been more successful than past ones. Do you think inhouses are actually really important and helpful in elevating the scene or what are your thoughts from your experience?
Deftly: It’s early to say if there’s any improvement or not on how inhouses in general are, but I definitely think it elevates the level of play that everyone in the region is playing at as long as you’re able to play in them. I feel like solo queue quality in North America is pretty low, and not only that, but being able to be in comms with teammates and playing against strong opponents has to be beneficial for the players participating.
Hotspawn: I’m gonna switch gears here. You’ve been playing for a while, but at the same time, it feels like you’re just getting started. Where would you say you’re at in your career right now ?
Deftly: I feel like I’m still very early in my career and I still have a lot to show to my fans and everyone. I have a lot of motivation to prove the doubters wrong and sort of redeem myself for the poor performance I had in 2019. I’m still really dedicated to playing and really driven to be the best still. I don’t just want to play for a paycheck; I want to be one of the best.
Hotspawn: With that in mind, what’s your personal goal for this year? And I’m not talking “going to Worlds”, or “winning the split.”
Deftly: For me, I just don’t want to let my teammates down. If I can perform at a high level, I’m very confident that my team will do well, and I’m gonna do my absolute best to fulfill that for my team.
The newly formatted LCS 2021 season kicks off on January 15th with the LCS Lock In.