SNG Maple: “SNG was able to offer me [the] opportunity to play with a team that had potential to grow.”

Huang “Maple” Yi-tang is the greatest mid laner to ever grace the LoL Masters Series, but enjoyed little international success with Flash Wolves over the years. Recently, it was announced that he would be joining Suning Gaming along with Flash Wolves teammate Hu “SwordArT” Shuo-Jie to elevate his game in China’s LoL Pro League. Before that though, he has one last All-Star appearance with the LMS in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Following his 1v1 victory against Liu “MLXG” Shi-yu, we had the chance to talk with Maple about his time on Flash Wolves and moving over to Suning Gaming.

This is your last All-Star game as a representative of the LMS. What does it mean for you to be here?

This year, the All-Star games are definitely more relaxed than previous years… more fun and there’s no region versus region. I just want to make sure that everyone who’s watching has a lot of fun and enjoys the games.

This year at Worlds, obviously Flash Wolves failed to make it out of groups for the third year in a row. How did it feel to have to deal with that again?

It was pretty devastating for us as a full team. Overall, I think we performed way better than before as a whole. So, not making it out of groups was even more sad for all of us.

Do you think that result influenced yours and SwordArT’s decision to go to the LPL?

It definitely contributed into some of the decision making about leaving LMS. There’s not enough competition in LMS and there’s definitely more in LPL, which is a bigger stage that they can offer me. Also, in another way, it is a good way to improve my skill in a more competitive environment.

You had the opportunity to go to the LPL multiple times. What was it that kept you with Flash Wolves for so long?

We’ve been playing together for a really long time. We’ve been longtime teammates and I think we performed really well at MSI and Rift Rivals, but the results for Worlds were definitely disappointing and that contributed to us breaking up as a team.

Even though Flash Wolves struggled at Worlds, there were a lot of good moments. Did you feel like there was anything special about that team? 

All of Flash Wolves just felt like my second home. I’ve been with the team for five years, my teammates and the support staff were great. I’ve know them all for a really long time so to me, it feels very warm and comfortable to be there. It’s like home.

There were reports that you were trialing for teams together with SwordArT. Did you always intend to be on the same team on SwordArT for the sake of familiarity? 

The rumors of us trialing with teams together… those were fake. They’re not true. It just happened to be that we picked the same team and landed in the same spot. I was looking for mid-tier teams in LPL and SNG was able to offer me that opportunity to play with a team that had potential to grow.

What else about Suning was attractive to you?

I think their top laner and jungler are pretty strong. Also, they don’t have a Korean player and that means the team will all be speaking Chinese. If there was a Korean player, I think he or she would have to be on the team for more than two years, but if their Chinese was really good, it would be okay long term.

Since you are moving over to a new region, what are you looking forward to the most in the 2019 Season of LPL?

Definitely for the stronger opponents in LPL. Also, I know that the arenas in LPL are much bigger so it’s kind of similar to the scale of international events. I’m looking forward to playing against really strong opponents, along with the venues.

Is there anything that you’re worried about in moving over to the LPL?

Definitely loneliness. It’s good that I’ll have SwordArT with me so I’ll feel less lonely. Apart from that, I’m not too worried about the food. I’ve been there a couple of times so I’m used to that.  So I think adapting to being alone in a new and strange place will be hard.

Lastly, do you have anything to say to the LMS fans that will be saying goodbye and hopefully root for you in the LPL?

I really want to thank all the fans that supported me through all those years, coming to live events and watching our games. I’m really thankful for their support and I hope that in the LPL, they can continue to support me.