One week, Eric ‘Licorice’ Ritchie was pondering his losses on FlyQuest. The next? He broke his LCS Summer losing streak on Golden Guardians as their new top laner. With a new lease on life, the NA veteran is ready to cause a ruckus heading into playoffs.
It was a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ kind of trade. FlyQuest benched their entire LCS roster for their Academy roster heading into Week 6 after falling to ninth, outside of playoffs contention, with the worst record in Summer.
In the roster shuffle madness though, FlyQuest’s star veteran was out the door. He was traded to Golden Guardians practically overnight, replacing his FlyQuest predecessor Colin ‘Solo’ Earnest at the last-placed organization.
Licorice didn’t really get much of a say in the matter — after all, it was a done deal in just one day.
“I played our Sunday match with FlyQuest, we lost, and we were like ‘okay, tomorrow, we’re going to come in and do some in-house scrims’ in preparation for the roster swaps just to see how everyone was doing and see if they wanted to shake things up,” he said after GGS’ win against 100 Thieves on Friday.
“I came in Monday morning for those and they informed me that Golden Guardians were interested in a trade and they wanted to acquire me. I did the day of scrims, thought about it, and at the end I decided I wanted to join Golden Guardians.
“All the contract stuff [was] finalized Monday night and Tuesday morning, and at 12 on Tuesday I was scrimming at the Golden Guardians office with the team.”
Join us in welcoming the newest addition to Golden Guardians, @Licorice.
We’ve not only acquired Licorice, we’ve extended his contract through 2023, as we believe he will be a player worth building around in the coming years. pic.twitter.com/v498an4QWx
— Golden Guardians (@GoldenGuardians) July 6, 2021
It’s a new beginning for Licorice, who has gotten accustomed to them across the last couple of years. First, he was out of a job in Cloud9, with Ibrahim ‘Fudge’ Allori being promoted from Academy to take his place.
Then, he was trying to make things work on FlyQuest, but the veteran couldn’t get anything to stick. It was a far cry from his winning ways, and it took somewhat of a toll not being able to rally the troops.
“There was just something missing,” he admitted.
“I don’t want to point fingers or blame people, but with the setup we had — coaches, players, management, all of it — something wasn’t clicking and it just didn’t feel like an easy environment to do well in.”
“It’s been a huge mindset shift for me [coming from Cloud9], and it’s something I actually started when I was on Cloud9 and moving into this year it became something that was much more necessary, which was taking the focus off of winning as much as possible.”
“Obviously esports at the end of the day is all about winning, and even if it’s development, it’s about winning later. For me it’s just [about] focusing on what I can do better and how I can always improve and less about the results. I think I did a really good job of it on FlyQuest during the losing streaks, and I think it’s something that’ll serve me really well no matter where I go.”
There were no teething issues in his first game with Golden Guardians. Against the first place 100 Thieves, the underdogs handed down yet another upset, with huge thanks in part to Ritchie’s 6/1/3 Gwen performance.
If the name plates were off, you could have sworn the sides were flipped. And while there’s not a massive difference between FlyQuest and Golden Guardians’ rosters, something about those 29 minutes on the Rift felt good, and Licorice soaked it in.
“It feels good to start off on a win for sure. I said to my team, ‘It’s been a while since I was taking it out on stage’,” he said, laughing.
“Gwen has been really weird for me. I always thought it was broken, and then obviously in Week 1, I played it, had a lot of success, and then it was banned against me for a while.
“I stopped practicing it, so when teams opened it later, I wasn’t as comfortable on it, but I was still taking it anyways and doing okay, but I wasn’t satisfied with my performance on it. I swear it’s just a broken champ, though. If you get good enough at it, it’s really, really strong.”
While playoffs are still a way’s off for Golden Guardians, “spirits are high” according to Licorice, and the team believes they can go “really far.”
It’s similar to what Solo told Dexerto back when he joined at the start of Summer — and now they’re proving it.
“None of the top teams have looked invincible so far. It’s hard to even say that League of Legends right now has a style that you can play that just beats everyone all the time. It’s so much about team fighting and map movement and team play that it feels like anybody can beat anybody.”