Hellions Esports Club are the newest team to join the Oceanic Pro League, formed as a result of players leaving Team Immunity earlier this year. In the wake of their announcement of both the new organisation and gaming house, we chatted to players Tae-Hyung ‘Ryoo’ Ryoo, Bradley ‘Tgun’ Seymour and Leon ‘Frae’ Lee about how they got to where they are now, the gaming house and their hopes for the 2016 OPL season.

Jayden: In the wake of the Immunity ban, what drove yourself and Tgun to start your own esports organisation?

Ryoo: The decision might seem abrupt to everyone but we had already agreed amongst ourselves to the idea of establishing a gaming house months ago, even before the Immunity ban. After the ban we approached other organisations with our plan and calculated budget, many were in fact eager to subsidise the house but wanted securities taking a large portion of the prize pool which reduced players’ incentives. We knew either way this would be a learning experience for both the organisations and the players but it seemed there would be a lot more work to be put in on the players’ side.

After comparing the effort we would have to put in against potential gain we decided to take the whole matter into our own hands even if it was slightly less financially beneficial at first. Everyone liked the idea that we get to own and take credit for what we build.

Tgun: The offers we got from established teams were pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things – the only real things we would’ve gained is a bit of easing of the workload.tgun_interview_grabJayden: How does a gaming house help further the goals of the new organisation? Do you expect it to aid in establishing the legitimacy of this new team quickly?

Tgun: The gaming house is actually somewhat incidental — I was already looking to move houses (as were our new players) and Frae was extremely keen on the idea, so we ended up going for the idea. I think it’ll help strengthen our team extremely quickly and remove a lot of the barriers for practice — e.g., people being late, unable to play due to reasons beyond their control (internet issues, etc) and simply make everything more consistent.

Frae: A gaming house definitely helps aid with establishing the legitimacy of our new team. It shows that we’re serious and committed to strive to be the best in the region.

Jayden: It’s definitely a big step to have a League of Legends gaming house in Australia, what effect do you see the move having on Hellions Esports as a competitive team?

Ryoo: It is definitely a leap of faith however when you have five passionate players willing to make that commitment together you know you’re going in the right direction. When you look towards other regions that have more developed eSports infrastructure everyone agrees that a gaming house is not a luxury but a necessity to be competitive at the highest level.

Tgun: This isn’t the first LoL house in Australia – Avant tried to have one in 2013. However, it was run and used poorly. We have a huge advantage over the people that were in the Avant house as both Ryoo and I have lived, visited, been in gaming houses and understand the benefits of a gaming house. You improve faster and are able to get much more specific, direct feedback as a result of having a gaming house.

Frae: There’ll be a lot of expectations for us to show results with all the roster swaps and the gaming house and we intend to deliver.

Jayden: Even though you and Tgun have played together for a while, do you have any concerns about the move to the new living arrangements and full time gaming?

Ryoo: I think our players are relatively more mature, older and responsible than the players on other teams which made it easier to arrange things on our own. Frae is the youngest member at 18years old, everyone else is 23 and above. I am going to use my previous experience living in a gaming house in Korea to help everyone adjust.

Tgun: No real concerns, I think we both understand what is necessary and expected of us. If anything, I’m excited for the gaming house as it will give us a much defined schedule.

Jayden: If this move works well for the team, do you think other teams may begin to follow in your footsteps? What could this mean for Australian Pro League of Legends as a whole?

Ryoo: Having a gaming facility is every pro players’ dream. I think when other players, organizations and investors see that this is a viable and rewarding option they will all swiftly establish their own houses. I hope our move will have a very positive influence in our scene.

Tgun: It will work well and I think for teams to stay competitive with us, they will have to follow our standard of being in a gaming house. Hopefully, this will draw more teams into Sydney and lead to our league being played completely live.

Frae: The Oceanic scene will always fall behind every other region if no one takes to leap to try and make a gaming house work. I think if we are successful many more teams will follow in the following split.

Jayden: With a committed team and the full time gaming house scenario, how are you preparing for the 2016 season and what would you like to achieve in your first year as a team?

Ryoo: We are planning extensively to make sure everyone can settle in as quickly as possible and to structure practice schedules. The first half of the year we will aim to be a top contender and will focus on team bonding, communication and work ethic, and we will look to be able to compete internationally by the second half of the year.

Tgun: We’ve scouted out a new mid and jungler and moved Frae to ADC, so the majority of our prep has been spent acclimatising him to his new role; by that, I mean, how he needs to approach the game. ADC and Mid – especially Assassin mids have extremely different playstyles. Although Frae is extremely mechanically talented, completely changing his playstyle will take a bit of time; however, we’re still aiming for (and expecting to achieve) first place.

Frae: With so many changes and the whole team being completely committed to improving we’re aiming for first place and a chance to qualify for Wildcards.

For more on Hellions ESC & the OPL you can visit the Riot OCE hub, or follow them up on twitter at @HellionsEsports

Photos via Riot Games.