Golden Guardians came into the 2022 League of Legends Championship Series Spring split following a disappointing 8th place performance in 2021, and were looking to improve their roster. One player on the chopping block was Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes. After an up and down year for him, GG decided they needed to move on from Stixxay, but didn’t hang him out to dry. Instead, they offered him something different; a coaching job.
“I just thought, like, it’d be maybe nice to take a break from the grind of being a player all the time and the stress of it,” Stixxay said. “It was a different role in something that I was actually interested in which was coaching and teaching other people things I’ve learned.”
Stixxay was once a top tier bot laner in the LCS, standing tall back in Counter Logic Gaming’s glory days. Back then, Stixxay was touted as the next big thing in North America after capturing an LCS title in his first professional split — he also made it all the way to the finals of the 2016 Mid-Season Invitational in the process. As one of the oldest players still playing in the LCS, Stixxay needed to rethink where his career is headed. After taking a split off from the LCS stage, Stixxay worked on finding his passion for the game again. Now, just a couple of months away from the big stage, Stixxay is back and ready to show the League that he can regain former glory.
Back to square one
GG did not want to commit to Stixxay as their starting bot laner for the 2022 LCS Spring split. This year is Stixxay’s 7th as a professional League player, and with him not playing like the star player he used to be, Stixxay welcomed the step back to see the game in a different light. On top of being a coach, Stixxay also spent the first half of 2022 as the starting bot laner on GG’s Academy team. It was then that Stixxay knew that he still had it — while with GG’s Academy team, Stixxay led all bot laners in multiple categories including damage per minute and K/D/A on the way to leading the team to a first-place record during the seven weeks he played.
Played my last game of academy today, Violet will be here for next week's games, just wanted to say it was a pleasure to play with everyone and glad we could end the season in 1st place. 😁
— Trevor Hayes (@Stixxay) March 4, 2022
“I think the main takeaway was that I’m pretty good,” Stixxay said. “I still have the drive and the passion to improve every day.”
Stixxay said the decision to play in Academy was unexpected but it wasn’t a bad one. He made the most of his opportunity.
“I was able to lead a pretty young group of people who didn’t have a clear way of playing the game where I did.” Stixxay said. “They listened to what I had to say and I think that’s why it was really successful.”
We were lucky to have him as a coach…
But we're even luckier to have him as a player once again! Join us in welcoming the legend, @Stixxay, back to the Rift as our LCS ADC! #GGWIN pic.twitter.com/7LKCiXp2JK
— Golden Guardians (@GoldenGuardians) May 17, 2022
Stixxay’s performance earned him a spot back on the starting roster. And while GG is filled with more veteran talent than in Academy, Stixxay said that he’s trying to implement the lessons he learned to help make this team better.
“It’s a work in progress,” Stixxay said. “The players on an LCS team have their own established opinions so sometimes you have to fight through them to get what you need its kind of like a mix to make sure everyone’s needs get met.”
GG was a playoff team in the 2022 LCS spring season, but bowed out in the first round. With Stixxay’s return to the LCS team, the organization is reaching for greater heights.
“I think playoffs should be a given for us, to be honest,” Stixxay said. “I’m not really sure where we will place, but I would say it should be expected.”
Stixxay and GG did have a rough outing in their fourth match of the 2022 LCS summer split as they took a bad loss to 100 Thieves. With Stixxay’s former teammate, Choi “huhi” Jae-hyun on the other team, Stixxay said it’s always fun to play against him; especially since Huhi is in the support role instead of the mid lane.
From duo to opponents, @huhi says hello to @Stixxay! #LCS pic.twitter.com/MBurXKXmMZ
— LCS (@LCSOfficial) June 25, 2022
Huhi is the poster child for a player reviving his career — much like Stixxay, Huhi was forced back down into the Academy scene, where he needed to work on being the best player he could be. His time in Academy has helped Huhi blossom into one of the best supports in the league. Stixxay is hoping he can do the same, but said that every veteran player looking to revive their careers has to want it themselves.
“You see a lot of people fade out of the scene, and I think they just lose the passion to grind and improve,” Stixxay said. “It’s really hard for me to just say ‘Oh, this guy is a veteran; he should or shouldn’t get a second chance,’ because it really just depends on a case-by-case basis of how that person is as an individual and what his goals are.”
About the Author
ASU alum with a B.A in Sports Journalism, Warren is one of the premier TFT Journalists in the scene and is a decent TFT player as well who has peaked Challenger and has had multiple accounts in Master+ over all sets. Warren also specializes in other esports content including League of Legends, Valorant, Smash Bros, and more.