AD carry Trevor "Stixxay" Hayes is more than happy to be back in the LCS. An acceptance of an AD carry positional coach role for Golden Guardians was how Stixxay started off 2022, but due to many variables, the League veteran is back playing again. The man who made his major league debut on Counter Logic Gaming way back in the 2016 NA LCS Spring Split has returned to competition following Lawrence "Lost" Hui's transfer to Immortals ahead of the start of the 2022 LCS Summer Split.
After his first game as Golden Guardians' LCS AD carry in 2022, Stixxay spoke to Inven Global about his season as a positional coach and how he decided to return to competitive play.
You started 2022 in a positional coaching role for AD carries on Golden Guardians, but because of visa issues for Vincent "Violet" Wong, you ended up starting at the AD carry position for Golden Guardians Academy for a good amount of spring.
How did your off-season progress to get to the point you started the season at?
After I played most of the Academy split the last split, I was pretty much like, 'You know what? I really want to play.' I think it fits me a lot more than being a coach and I expressed that to Golden Guardians. I told them that I'd like to look at my options and see what's out there for me, and things ended up with me coming back to their LCS roster. Being a player fits my style more than being a coach. It's just what I'm used to.
When you first took a coaching job, were you definitively looking to transition fully into coaching, or were you just weighing your options going forward?
I had no intention of stopping competition as a player because I still think I am a good player who has a lot to show and prove. It was more so that I had the opportunity and that it wasn't the worst to take a split off from playing and see how I feel in terms of how I like coaching and if I want to continue playing.
Obviously, I'm here now, so I decided I liked playing more, but when the opportunity came up initially, I just thought I'd take it and try something different because I had been playing for six years straight.
How much did you get to sink your teeth into coaching, or was it limited due to Violet's visa issues?
I did end up coaching for a couple of months so I had some time to feel it out. Essentially, I still felt more like a player than a coach, even as a coach, since I had literally just come off of playing in Academy where we had our own meta. I was just sharing my thoughts with Lost on AD carry and what I thought was good to the tee, including runes and stuff like that. I tried to share my knowledge on pretty much everything I did in the game with him.
Matthew "Akaadian" Higginbotham, who coached GG Academy this past spring, also returned to his original role of jungling in competitive play on GGA for this summer. Did the two of you talk about your desires to return to competitive play this season, or did you have entirely separate journeys?
I would say our journeys were a little different. I mean, we did both talk about how things were pretty similar for both of us, but I think the main part of it was that we both didn't want to be those players that got stuck in Academy after playing in LCS for years. That wasn't really our thing.
It may sound a bit egocentric — it's not like I wouldn't play in Academy — but if teams don't value me enough to be in LCS, I'm going to move on because I don't want to get stuck in Academy for years. That's just not what I'm interested in doing.
Has being a positional coach for AD carries improved your own play as an AD carry in any way?
I would say my experiences as a coach and a player are separate, although I did learn a bit about giving and receiving feedback in terms of how it is from the coaching side in comparison to feedback from the players' side. I learned that a lot of things come off sounding like excuses even though I think players don't mean it to be, and I think every player does this.
That was the main thing — sometimes when you're giving or receiving feedback, it can be interpreted differently than how it was intended.
When you signed with Golden Guardians ahead of the 2022 season as a positional coach for the AD carry position, GG had a coach for every role. Now that you've returned to the LCS roster as a starter, has someone taken your place in that previous position?
I don't know if they have a plan to get someone else, but as far as I know, there isn't a positional coach for the AD carry role right now.
How would you say the dynamic of the Golden Guardians LCS roster has changed since you were last a part of it?
It's very different. Last year, I felt like I had to do a lot of the leadership things to direct the game, but this roster is a bit more self-sufficient in that aspect. We have people who make their own plans and stuff like that, so it's a bit easier on me. I can focus more on playing.
Were you deadset on returning to an LCS roster this summer or were you more open in coaching and playing opportunities?
What I told Golden Guardians was pretty much that my top priority was to play in LCS. That's not to say that I wouldn't have still been a coach if I had no offers, but I'd really have liked to play if I could. I kind of realized that that was what I was trying to get back to so even if I had to play a split in Academy to build myself up and make other LCS teams want me, I would have done it. However, in terms of what I said earlier, I would not try to do that for years.
Is there anything you want to say to the longtime Stixxay fans who I'm sure are happy to see you compete in the LCS once again?
I actually have a very surprising amount of support. I think a lot of people recognize me because I've been around for a while and so it must be nice to see a familiar face. Thanks to everyone who supports me; cheer on the Golden Guardians.