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In 2021, Frank “Tomo” Lam was on a set path to becoming a mainstay in the LCS. After a strong LCS 2021 Academy Summer Split, FlyQuest made the decision to promote its entire Academy team to the LCS stage. While they were unable to make a run to playoffs, it was a strong young team that many felt FlyQuest would ultimately build their 2022 team around. Unfortunately, that was not the case as Tomo spent the following year in Academy where his and FlyQuest’s overall level dropped.

After spending time reflecting, Tomo returned in 2023 with a new level of confidence and motivation with Dignitas Challenger in the NACL as the team stands near the top of the leaderboards. Now, he has a second shot at the LCS, where he is hoping that this stint could be the one that finally sticks.

In this interview, we speak to Dignitas botlaner Tomo to talk about his 2023 LCS debut with Dignitas, his rough 2022 season, and Dignitas’ first win of the 2023 season.

Dignitas LCS first win of 2023

Dignitas after their first win of the LCS 2023 Spring Split.

I want to ask how you found out that you would be starting for the LCS this week. Could you talk to me about how this whole week played out for you?

DIG Tomo: So after their super week, they didn't do too well and the team was winless at 0-9. So pretty much, they told me this week that I’m gonna be trialing in LCS scrims and then I'll get the stage games and see how I play. From there, they will decide if they want to keep Spawn or keep playing with me. So I got to scrim LCS for four days starting on Sunday and then I played our match today.

What was everything like for you to be back on the LCS stage and be ahead in those first 10 minutes of the game? What was going through your mind?

I mean, honestly, the team around was really bright. So when I played with them, we were actually playing well together and we had a good week of scrims. Nobody is scared of their opponent or their counterpart rather. So I don't know. We just did our best and we ended up winning.

Something that the casters were talking about in the game was that there was chatter in the pre-game lobby. What happened there?

I mean, we were just doing a huddle and then I saw that Jojo typed, “Oh, nice huddle guys.” So, then I asked, “where’s your huddle?” Then Vulcan started saying we only huddle when we play against good teams and we haven’t played against a good one yet. So I guess they just don’t do huddles.

LCS 2023 Spring Evil Geniuses Vulcan and Dignitas Santorin

Dignitas pulled off a major upset against Evil Geniuses in week 5 of the LCS.

Around 30 minutes, there was a moment where Dignitas nearly closed out the game, but Evil Geniuses defended their base and nearly won. What happened after that moment?

Yeah, I mean, we made a mistake. Still, I felt like we had control of the game, you know. It was just one misplay, but we're still really far ahead at that point. As long as we kept playing well, it should still be a free win. I also made a mistake at the enemy blue buff. I think I cleansed early and then I got locked up so that was a blunder on my part, but I’m glad my team brought it back. So kind of a big blunder by me. But I'm glad my team brought it back with a fight in botlane and we ended up winning.

What was different about this time around in the LCS versus your stint back in 2021 Summer?

For me, the nerves kind of got to me the last time around when I was on stage with FlyQuest in 2021. On FlyQuest, I didn’t really play the way I would have liked. So this time around, I don’t want to have any regrets. I’m pretty confident with the way I play and so I think this time around, I plan on showing my aggression more and playing how I actually want to play.

Why do you feel like your confidence wasn't as high or that you feel didn't feel as confident with your performance back then?

I think it was mostly just the nerves playing in the LCS. I was kind of afraid to make mistakes back then. I didn't want to be the reason why we lost the game. In 2021, we started off 3-0 in the LCS and then we won one game afterward and started to lose a bunch. I think we did really well that week and then the patch happened and a lot of champs that we played fell out of the meta. Then, we really didn't adjust well to the new patch. A lot of teams figured out how we played.

Dignitas Tomo LCS 2023 Spring

Dignitas Tomo in his first LCS game of 2023.

What are some takeaways that you have from just that 2022 season overall? Do you feel like your confidence was still fine then?

Yeah, 2022 was pretty rough for me performance-wise. I think I wasn't playing at my best. I had a lot of really bad habits that I just kind of fixed after the season, but I also had a really bad mentality at the time and I also wasn't doing too well. Like, individually, I'd say that every player was kind of playing badly and that kind of brought me down too after becoming the starter for FlyQuest at the end of 2021. And then I thought I would still have the spot, but unfortunately, it didn’t happen. Then in 2022, we got three rookies on the topside and I felt like they weren’t progressing as fast as I liked them to. That is totally not their fault, but I think for me, I was kind of stressed out because Academy is not where I wanted to be. We weren’t showing results in Academy either so that really messed me up a bit.

I think my mental was bad because of what happened in the offseason. After the summer of 2021, I kind of lost a bit of passion because of everything that went down. It’s not a big deal, but I didn’t want to play in Academy again. I would still play and I knew that if I played well, I would get my spot in the LCS back. That’s what they told me too, but not being where I feel like I should have been kind of bringing me down.

What are some of those things that you felt that you cleaned up after the 2022 season? What were some of the biggest things you fixed?

I think honestly, it's just always just like, my mentality on the game. I think I always felt like I had the potential to become really good in the LCS, but I was too scared of making mistakes. This year, I only got an offer from Dignitas to play for their academy team and I knew that this is probably my last year if I don't perform. Like, if I have another bad year, then I am just gone so my goal was to really try hard in challengers and prove that I am capable of being an LCS-level player.

I'm curious, did you receive offers or LCS tryouts after the 2021 season? In other words, was your offseason after 2021 a complete shift from the year after?

I had some talks with some other LCS teams, but ultimately, they chose someone else. As for Academy, I trusted FlyQuest to build a good team around me so I decided that I wanted to stay with the organization because I had enjoyed my time there.

Finally, what is your mentality moving forward with the rest of the season? Is it just to treat it one step at a time? How is your second stint different now?

Yeah, I think everyone here is just to get one step at a time. I think the coaches told me before, like, I played scrims with them this week that like, you know, they're just trying stuff in spring now, because, you know, obviously, they're like, 0-9. So if you lose a couple of games, it's kind of just GG, no playoffs. So, like, we're just playing to improve so we can have the best shot at Summer. If we make playoffs inspring then that's good as well, you know, but our biggest goal is getting good for Summer.