The jungle position is one of the most criticized positions in pro play, and especially on TSM. So when Mingyi “Spica” Lu was promoted from Academy to start in the League of Legends Championship Series 2020 Summer Split, all eyes were on him as a possible liability. To many peoples’ surprise, Spica’s play has been a big reason why TSM currently sits near the top of the LCS standings.
We sat down with the rookie jungler after TSM’s win against Team Dignitas on Saturday to speak with him about keeping a positive attitude, how he got his start in League of Legends, and his anime hobby.
Hotspawn: That game was much better than the team’s showing last week. Does it feel like you’re getting back on track?
Spica: It feels pretty good after we had a bad week last week, so it just feels good to get a win.
Hotspawn: Yeah you were pretty open on Twitter saying something about inting for the past two weeks.
Spica: [Laughs] Yeah, it’s true. It is what it is.
just been inting these past 2 weeks sorry
— spica (@Spicalol) July 18, 2020
Hotspawn: Why do you believe you weren’t playing well?
Spica: I think it was just some bad habits that showed up on scrims and not being focused that caused a lot of mistakes. So that’s something that I really wanted to focus on this week. Just playing smart and trying to understand every situation.
Hotspawn: Well it looks like you’re well on your way there after looking at the Dragon control you guys had that game. I think that was one of the fastest Dragon Soul’s we’ve seen from a team this split.
Spica: Oh really? Yeah, I think we took every drake on spawn. That’s what it felt like.
Hotspawn: Well one thing I wanted to talk to you about is your outlook. A lot of players that leave TSM talk about how stressful it is, but from what we can tell on the outside you’ve been super positive and don’t let mistakes get to you as much. A good example is how you laughed off that Kayn game you had at the beginning of the split.
Spica: [Laughs] Yeah that was not the best game for the first game of the split.
Hotspawn: [Laughs] How do you stay positive even through games like that?
Spica: Well I think people make mistakes all the time so I think you’ve just gotta look past that and try to get better. It really doesn’t matter what happens in the past as long as you learn from it and just keep improving. I think that’s a really important mentality.
Hotspawn: That thought process must come in handy with all of the flack the jungle role catches on TSM.
Spica: I think there’s definitely a lot of pressure because TSM’s the most popular team and everyone’s talking about them. So I always think about having a good mentality and playing to improve rather than what the fans think because the biggest thing that the fans care about is success. As long as I show that everything else doesn’t matter.
Hotspawn: So shifting gears, what was your journey to becoming pro like? We don’t often hear from you about that.
Spica: Honestly I just started playing the game back in Season Four casually. Then I just kept playing the game, like every day after school. Then I reached high enough elo for Scouting Grounds and that’s pretty much how my pro career began. I really wasn’t thinking about going pro at all until Riot sent me an email saying “you’re invited.”
I actually was collaborating with TSM for that Scouting Grounds. I think [head coach Parth Naidu] was coaching me. I was like “hey this is actually pretty nice and pretty fun,” and that’s how I decided it’s what I wanted to do.
Hotspawn: Was there any pushback from your parents at all?
Spica: Oh definitely [laughs]. My parents weren’t very happy in the beginning. They were very skeptical about this random company just inviting me to LA across the whole country. They were like “yeah you shouldn’t go,” but then I finally convinced them. Over time they came to accept it, I guess, and they’re more supportive now.
Hotspawn: What’s been your favorite part about being with TSM so far?
Spica: I really like the players and the org in general. They’re really supportive and always there for me if I need something.
Spica: [Laughs] Yeah I guess you can say it that way.
Hotspawn: How’s your relationship with him and the rest of your teammates?
Spica: We all get along pretty well. I would say that outside of game it’s like a brotherhood and inside of game we just all support each other.
— TSM (@TSM) July 15, 2020
Hotspawn: So obviously Erik “Treatz” Wessén was promoted to the LCS lineup last week. How’s it been having on the team? What’s the biggest difference between him and Vincent “Biofrost” Wang?
Spica: I remember talking about this slightly on TSM: Legends. I think Treatz is a much more vocal player. Obviously when we scrim with him we kind of had to start from scratch because I think me and Biofrost had really good support/jungle synergy. I think the main difference is that Treatz is more willing to call for stuff and he’s more of a shotcaller in-game. Overall I think we have decent synergy though since I played with him last split in academy as well.
Hotspawn: Speaking of jungle, have you gotten a chance to try Lillia at all?
Spica: I’ve actually played her a bit in the jungle. I think she’s okay, I’m not really sure how strong she is.
Hotspawn: Now do you think that she’ll find her way into pro quickly? I think a lot of people are saying they’ren ot sure what she can offer.
Spica: Yeah personally I played three games. I just feel like her as a champion doesn’t really offer that much. At least in the jungle she has really no CC and doesn’t have really great ganks. So I’m just not sure I think I’m still experimenting. We’ll have to see what other people come up with.
Hotspawn: Right now what do you think is the best setup on her in terms of runes and item builds?
Spica: I’ve tried both Electrocute and Conqueror. At least in the jungle I think Conqueror is probably better. [Laughs] I know my top laner Brokenblade has also played Phase Rush Lillia top so maybe that’s viable as well.
Hotspawn: Yeah we spoke with [Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell] last week and he said he thinks she’d be a pretty good top.
Spica: Yeah I personally think that she’s just better top lane than jungle.
Hotspawn: Alright well the last thing I’ve got for you has to do with your Discord icon. I noticed it’s from Toradora. You a big anime fan?
Spica: [Laughs] Yes! It’s one of my favorite anime. It’s one of the shows that really got me into anime.
Hotspawn: Watching anything right now from the summer season?
Spica: Not really since I’ve been focusing on playing solo queue. But in the offseason I for sure just look back and see what was really popular and what other people are watching.
Spica and TSM’s next match will be against 5th ranked Evil Geniuses at 7:00 p.m. PDT.