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GG Licorice: “It just felt like nothing was working on FlyQuest”

Dan Smyth-Temple

FlyQuest trading Eric “Licorice” Ritchie to the Golden Guardians left many scratching their heads, but all three have looked better in the wake of the miraculously successful roster swap. Golden Guardians upset both Team Liquid and 100 Thieves in week 6 of the LCS Summer Split, only losing to TSM. Licorice looked dominant in all three games, echoing the performances of past splits that cemented him as the undisputed best toplaner in NA. 

GG Licorice

Licorice is back with a vengeance. (Photo by Riot Games via ESPAT.)

We sat down with Licorice after the win against Team Liquid to talk about the upset victory and reflect on the recent roster swap. 

Hotspawn: Thanks for joining me, Licorice! Congrats on that win against Team Liquid. Golden Guardians was the underdog going into that game, but that win looked pretty effortless. How’re you feeling after that game?

Licorice: Feeling really good. Going into this week in general, I knew that none of the teams were invincible. No one looks unbeatable right now. Practice actually felt really good, even though I was jumping right in with the Golden Guardians guys. I felt like if we had a good draft on stage then we could win. I think we definitely won the draft today. The threat of the Trundle actually helped us win the draft, so that feels good [laughs]. Even though I didn’t get the win with the Trundle yesterday it helped out today. Yeah, it was a good game. 

Hotspawn: We don’t often see such sudden midseason roster swaps. How has the transition been for you, now that you’ve finished out your first weekend with the Golden Guardians? 

Licorice: At first it was a lot. FlyQuest talked to me about the trade on Monday. They said “hey, Golden Guardians is interested, do you think you might wanna join? Think about it, because you need to decide before tomorrow [laughs].” So that was my timeline. I made the big change in one day, and it was a scrim day as well. It was busy all day. That was definitely a lot, but everyone has been super nice and welcoming. It’s been really easy to get it and gel with the guys. The staff and positional coach setup is amazing, I’ve talked about that a lot. It’s really good for me. It just feels like they’ve got a good thing going. 

Hotspawn: From an outside perspective, it seems like you’ve turned over a new leaf. Was it just the change of atmosphere that you needed? 

Licorice: While I was on FlyQuest I was actually improving a lot the whole time, but a lot of it was really hidden, I’d say. There’s a lot of team plays that we would make on FlyQuest that would just fall apart because everyone would make an error at the same time. It was the weirdest thing. For example, the last FlyQuest game against Dignitas, I was playing Viego. I was pushing top, I had a TP ward behind them and they walked into river on our vision. It was the perfect setup to kill them all. I teleported bot, and man. Rumble overheated on the crab and the ult was not ideal, Nautilus engaged too early, me and Nocturne wasted our ults, and then we all died [laughs].

Man, if you look at that situation and put [any] LCS versus another, that should be a triple kill every time. But instead, we get aced, and it’s like “oh, well, I guess the game is over.” Shit like that was happening, with literally everyone messing up. That’s why it’s so confusing when you’re on a team that’s not doing well because it feels like everything can go wrong.

Hotspawn: Golden Guardians, like FlyQuest, is mostly comprised of newer players. Have you been assuming a leadership role on the team, or have you taken more of a backseat while you acclimate? 

Licorice: I don’t know if I’d call it a leadership role, but I am trying to talk a lot. I think that I’m actually talking the most that I have ever in-game on any team. I don’t know if I’m the de facto leader. We were just backstage talking about our comms from today’s match, and there’s a million ideas being thrown out. Since I haven’t played with the other guys for a full year I don’t quite see eye-to-eye on all the macro decisions. There’s definitely a lot going on in comms, and we’re figuring it out together. So far it’s been working pretty well, so I think as get more and more on the same page it’ll just get better and better. 

GG Licorice

Licorice made a powerful statement when he went 2-1 against three of the top LCS teams in his first weekend on GG. (Photo by Riot Games via ESPAT.)

Hotspawn: Have there been any difficulties in transitioning to a whole new team environment? It can’t be easy. 

Licorice: Not really. I don’t know— I think it’s just because I came from a team where things weren’t working. I’m not trying to point fingers and say everyone else was the problem, because that’s never how it works. Everyone has their own share of responsibility for what’s happening. It just felt like nothing was working on FlyQuest, and now I joined a new team with a new roster and things are working all of a sudden, so it feels really good [laughs]. I’m just feeling good about it so far. 

Hotspawn: The honeymoon phase! Have your goals for the split shifted at all now that you’re playing for a new team?

Licorice: Not really. I don’t actually like super specific goals. I think focusing too much on the future is actually a pretty big mistake. Like last year when I was on Cloud 9, we talked a lot about worlds in Spring Split [laughs]. That kind of thing— I don’t know, it makes it hard to focus on what’s in front of you. I’m more of the approach of showing up every day, see what’s there in practice, fix the problems in front of you, and move on. If you do that every day then you’re gonna get somewhere good eventually. 

Hotspawn: I think that’s all about I have time for. Do you have any parting words for the Licorice fans out there, as well as the Golden Guardians fans you’ve picked up in the last week?

Licorice: Just a huge thank you to all the fans that supported me during my time on FlyQuest this year, and have continued to support me now that I’m on Golden Guardians. I know it was rough. It was rough for me and the fans [laughs]. Some shared roughness there. I never stopped getting kind messages from fans and DM’s and responses to my tweets. It really meant a lot, and hopefully, we can have more positivity going around now heading forward [laughs]. Just a huge thank you.

Hotspawn: Thanks for joining me, Licorice! And good luck in the coming weeks.