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Galen “Moon” Holgate has hovered around the LCS scene since 2016, but spent 2018 playing in Academy under the Clutch Gaming organization. In 2019, he is back in the LCS with old time North American org, Counter Logic Gaming, serving as one of two junglers and ten overall position players. Moon wasn’t able to draw first blood with CLG in his first game, dropping the match to OpTic Gaming, but he still has plenty of confidence going into the year.

We had the chance to talk with Moon about his return to the LCS, CLG’s current roster formula, and his goal for the 2019 season as a whole.

You’ve had a tumultuous last few years in the North American scene, playing in Academy last year as well. What was it like to be part of opening day when all the fans were here and all this hype is going on?

It feels super good to be back. In academy, it’s really hard to feel extremely hyped for the games because you played on the same computer and the same setup as you do all the time for solo queue, scrims, everything. And honestly just playing and debuting on CLG, I had that feeling again for the first time in over a year and it feels amazing. It feels so nice to be back. Obviously, it would have felt better to have won, but I’m excited to see how CLG progresses throughout the year with the whole ten-man situation we’re going along with. I think we’ll see a lot of growth going forward.

What do you think about the current CLG roster situation? You have a jungler behind yourself as well… What is the relationship between all ten players?

Everyone on CLG is super close. Instantly, as soon as I joined, I’m already closer with pretty much everybody on the team than I had been with anyone of my past teams. It’s really like a family. The academy people, the LCS people, everyone while we’re at the facility, we’re all talking and discussing jungle and team comp picks. It’s really easy to get along with everybody.

I think that’s a huge strength that CLG has over other teams because every other team I’ve been on, there is always one or two people that you’re not necessarily super close with and it’s always hard to feel really close with them. But because everyone on the team has been together for so long, it’s really easy.

Moon played his first LCS game since 2017 with Counter Logic Gaming against Optic Gaming. Courtesy of Riot Games

Your team got off to a slow start in your first game of the season, what do you think the main problem was?

I think the main problem for me personally was a lack of engage. My biggest flaw for that game was not planning for more engages. I’ve gotten really good at making plans as a jungler and I think it’s really crucial that a jungler does that, but sometimes on stage, it can be much different from practice, so for me, I struggled making plans around mid lane when they had no flashes. As a team, we struggled to identify what we needed to do early enough. Those are really easy things to fix though. As a team we played really well early game, had really good plans and executed them well. I was really proud to see how well everybody played on stage. From here on, it’s really going up.

You guys were ahead early on, but their team had a lot of engage that was hard for the Xerath to deal with. In draft, some people questioned the pick… Can you explain the rationale behind it?

Xerath is very strong in lane and if we were able to play around that slightly better and if we were a better team, I think we could work around it, but it takes a lot of patience… If you make a mistake with our side of the draft, it’s much more punishing than theirs. They have much easier turns. It just comes down to respecting their turn and using our turns to the fullest potential and I think we messed up both sides of that.

There seems to be a trend across the world where teams will either focus on going super early game or super late game. In your opinion, what’s the way to go?

It depends on your team and how draft goes. Right now there’s just a certain amount of OP champions… some of them are late game champions and some of them are early game champions. For example, if one team gets Lucian and one team gets Xayah/Rakan, both drafts are kind of telegraphed in how they’re going to play out.

The Lucian team is going to win early and the Xayah/Rakan team is going to wait for three items. It depends on how the draft plays out and how the players stylistically play out. Dardoch played Camille and I played Sejuani so realistically he should have a huge advantage early game and after maybe level seven or eight, I can get it back.

Sejuani is an interesting champion nowadays. She got a few changes and she’s pretty popular now. How much did that really help her?

I do think that it was a buff. It’s weird because Sejuani was already a top jungler before that, but it was mainly a change. I didn’t really notice it as a huge buff where she’s stronger than she was before, but it really helps with how she plays out. I think Sejuani is a really good jungler, but the problem with Sejuani is that she’s very weak early and needs strong melee laners to back her up in the jungle, otherwise she just gets punished by the enemy jungler easily.

In your return to the LCS, are there any junglers that you’re looking forward to playing against?

I was super surprised that [OpTic] put in Dardoch. I was not expecting that, I had played him in Academy the week prior. Playing against him again today on stage was really exciting. I think Dardoch is historically, really the only jungler that I’ve respected. Because we both kind of came up at the same time, I do consider him a friendly rival. You know, we hugged and talked after the game… It’s been a long time since I played versus him in real LCS games so it was really exciting for me.

Other than that, there’s obviously Svenskeren and Xmithie, the old guard classic people… Akaadian is playing on TSM so if I had the opportunity to play against him, it would be super exciting. I’d say those are the main four: Dardoch, Svenskeren, Xmithie, and Akaadian.

Lastly, if you had one goal for this whole LCS split, big or small, what would that be?

My goal is for the year. I don’t necessarily think I have a goal for this split, but my goal for the year is to improve with Wiggily together. I want us to be a really good jungle duo and I want us to be able to swap in and out. Throughout the year, I think we’ll play with each other and learn a lot with the teams, but right now swapping in and out is making us have a slow start. It’s hard to practice with all the rosters, but throughout the year, I think it will be much easier. [Wiggily] and I will be experienced and be able to lead CLG. That’s my goal for the year.

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