Ryoma stakes claim for 100 Thieves mid lane in LCS return: “I don’t belong in Academy”

Ryoma and Ssumday celebrate after 100 Thieves LCS win.Riot Games

Tommy ‘Ryoma’ Le knows he has a fight on his hands if he wants to reclaim the 100 Thieves mid lane — incumbent LCS star Damonte is no slouch ⁠— but the Aussie believes he has what it takes: “I don’t belong in Academy.”

The Australian has been playing in Academy in 2021, after he was frozen out of the LCS. Ryoma moved to 100 Thieves’ development squad as part of an offseason reshuffle that saw him make way for new signing Damonte.

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Ryoma was reinstated ⁠— as first reported by Dexerto last Thursday ⁠— for Week 4, however, as 100 Thieves hunted a lofty seeding heading for the Spring Showdown.

Results after the swap were “nothing special,” with the LoL squad falling to Evil Geniuses and TSM before rolling over Golden Guardians, but it’s given Ryoma the chance he’s been waiting for; the chance to “reclaim” his LCS spot.

Now he just has to prove he belongs in the top squad.

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“I don’t belong in Academy,” the Aussie star told Dexerto on Sunday.

“I’ve been chasing one goal, and that’s to get back to LCS. Now I’m here, I can prove I belong at the top. If I play my best, I’ll stay on, no matter what.”

Ryoma played 76 games for 100 Thieves in 2020 before being dropped to their Academy lineup.Riot Games
Ryoma played 76 games for 100 Thieves in 2020 before being dropped to their Academy lineup.

It wasn’t as easy as just dominating his Academy games to earn a return though, Ryoma admitted. The 2020 season was “really, really rough” for the 100 Thieves mid laner, with LCS fans piling on the struggling Aussie as he tried to find his feet.

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The online vitriol caused Ryoma to crack. He lost confidence in himself and “pushed a lot of friends away” as he tried to rush his development and growth.

“I had to find my confidence all over again,” he said.

“Honestly, I don’t think in 2020 I was ready to play LCS. The way fans treated me, I had a really hard time, and it affected a lot. Academy let me get over that.”

The cauldron of LCS fan hate, online forums, and constant Reddit threads did net one positive for Ryoma though; he’s learned to just block it all out. “I had a lot of trouble… but I did figure out the best thing I can do is focus on myself. I don’t really care what those people have to say now. It doesn’t mean much.

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“I have a better grasp on silencing it all out. I played like a million solo queue games and hoped I was learning, but that doesn’t work. I’m trusting people again, and working with them. I have a much healthier mindset now.”

100 Thieves' Aussie star struggled with an onslaught of LCS fan hate in his rookie year.Riot Games
100 Thieves’ Aussie star struggled with an onslaught of LCS fan hate in his rookie year.

Ryoma may have been thrown into the deep end in his rookie year, but the young star says that’s in the past. There are “no excuses” now if he fails to hold the 100 Thieves mid lane starting spot long-term.

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“I want to be the best I can be. I refuse to let anything get to me. I’m not at the top of my game yet, but I want to get to that level. I won’t have as much trouble as I did last year,” he promised. “I have a really good team… there’s no excuse.”

“My team has aggression, FBI thinks about the game just like me… Huhi, Closer, Ssumday, we’re really aggressive, which is what I’ve wanted. I want teammates who are down to 50/50 fight, play “finger diff” and apply pressure across the map. That’s how we want to play, so I’m really happy to be here with the guys doing that again.”

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Ryoma was unable to confirm if he’d be back in Week 5. If he does, however, he will face off against Insanity, Pobelter, and Jensen ahead of the Spring Showdown.

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