It was a dream return for LCS journeyman Colin ‘Solo’ Earnest in Summer 2021. Now on Golden Guardians, the veteran top laner took down Spring Champions Cloud9. He has his sights set higher though, aiming to go on the biggest redemption arc NA League of Legends has ever seen.
It would be an anime storyline to rival even the most intense shounens.
But Solo wouldn’t mind a remarkable return to the top of the LCS — or even bigger than that, Worlds.
“I’m just here to win games. I know we’re kind of in the hole right now from the first split, but I really believe we can actually be one of the better teams and make a playoff run,” he said triumphantly after Golden Guardians beat Cloud9 on the first day of LCS Summer 2021.
That’s a very big statement for the new GGS top laner to make, but watching them play on Friday, there’s some merit behind that argument — a lot more than there was before the game, at least.
The last-place squad looked reinvigorated with the veteran in the top lane, who has taken up a leadership position alongside Trevor ‘Stixxay’ Hayes on the squad.
They took down NA’s MSI 2021 representative Cloud9 in a 38-minute back and forth affair that saw Golden Guardians claw back a 9,000 gold deficit to win.
While Nicholas ‘Ablazeolive’ Abbott led the squad with a scintillating 11/2/8 Zoe performance, it was the performance of rookies like first-gamer Jonathan ‘Chime’ Pomponio and stage debutant Ethan ‘Iconic’ Wilkinson that impressed Solo.
“I’ve played with a lot of players, a lot of vets, and when you have rookies you wonder how they’re going to react on stage with the pressure, and I thought both of them were really veteran in the way they approached it,” he said.
“They weren’t afraid to make game-winning calls and plays, and even the call to try and end the game after we killed Sett — that was them being aggressive and wanting to win.
“Any time when you play C9, especially since they [picked up] Blaber, you’ve just got to be ready to fight it out, and I’m glad we didn’t shy away from the skirmishes and the team fights.”
That comment about Golden Guardians’ potential ability to make a deep playoffs run raised some eyebrows, but the journeyman wants to continue proving himself as a reliable rock in the top lane.
He might not be as flashy, and his stat lines rarely shine, but he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience very few can hold a candle to.
“I’m no stranger to the adversity of fighting for opportunities. It’s kind of been my thing lately. I’ve never been worried about betting on myself and having the confidence in myself to come back in any situation. Time and time again I’ll prove that as it’s necessary.
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“I always want to compete and I always want to win for an org, so people who buy into me will always get rewarded.”
His time spent coaching across 2020 and 2021 has given him a new perspective that every other player in the LCS lacks.
“It’s an advantage, not just over top laners but in general,” Solo explained.
“When you take a step back from actually playing, you get a better idea of what’s important in the game and what actually decides which teams are going to win. Having a different perspective than just being in the thick of it has been beneficial for me.”
I leave for one split and yall let these dudes win
— Colin❄ (@SoloLCS) June 5, 2021
While he made his big call at the top that Golden Guardians can make it to the playoffs and impress, he’s not worried if they miss out. Solo is just happy to be back on the LCS stage full time, and rubbing shoulders with the next generation along the way.
“It’s been a really good experience, being more of a leader, teaching people the game a little bit more, and seeing new players grow is a lot more rewarding,” he said.
“There’s going to be a lot of games played this season, and I’m sure we’ll have bad weeks. That’s just the nature of the game, and as long as we’re improving day to day, then at the end of it we will be a good team, and hopefully that nets us playoffs.”
Golden Guardians take on Immortals next in LCS Summer 2021 on Saturday, June 5.