Afreeca Freecs mid laner, Son “Mickey” Young-Min is one of the most interesting players entering the summer split of League of Legends Champions Korea.
Mickey became part of Team Rebel Anarchy in December in 2015, renamed Afreeca Freecs a month later due to streaming contractual issues with KeSPA. He continues to be part of their starting lineup and in an interview with Daily eSports’ Lee Yun-Ji shared details of his beginnings. He used a nickname that meant, essentially, “Anarchy Sponsor Plz,” while being at the top of Korean solo queue.
“I was desperate to be part of a full five-man team,” he told Daily eSports. “I thought if I was at the top of solo queue I would have a higher chance of getting noticed. The only thing I could really show to the team owners was the desperation of a high-ranked player.”
In the end, Mickey did grab the attention of Rebel Anarchy, finally felt like he had the right conditions to be “at the top of the LCK” and redoubled his determination to work hard. With the transformation into the Afreeca Freecs, the support staff changed as well, with CJ Entus veterans Kang Hyung-Jong and Jung Je-Seung as coaches. They were expected to bring the Freecs to new heights.
“A lot of things changed with the new coaches,” Mickey told Daily eSports. “I always feel like I’m learning newer, easier, and safer ways to win lane. The rest of the team has also seen improvement as well. When we were Rebels, we always got lost when we were behind. But now even when we’re behind we find ways to come back and win.”
The Freecs definitely didn’t disappoint fans by advancing to the postseason of LCK’s 2016 spring split, but for Mickey, it was rather disappointing, and he blames himself for the result.
“I felt good when we made the postseason,” he said. “But I didn’t feel great. My ultimate goal was to make it to the semis, so making the postseason was only the beginning to me. I feel like it was especially disappointing when we lost the wildcard games.”
Mickey’s road to the postseason wasn’t without difficulties. Although he made a name for himself for his play on assassins, it also gave him the image of having a small champion pool. Mickey has played 16 different champions in the mid lane in the LCK, second only to the SBENU’s Oh “SaSin” Seung-Ju. Yet the image still remained.
“I really had a hard time with the target bans,” he said. “But it was expected. I didn’t really get to show much in the pro scene so everyone must have thought that the bans would be enough. I did feel that I was being a burden on the team as it persisted though.”
Mickey also told Daily eSports that he changed the way he thought about the game as he became a pro to a more team-oriented mentality, and started to deviate from his most confident champions. By picking Azir, Varus, and other champions he wasn’t confident with, he said that after a game or two he started to get the hang of them, which enabled him to play more situational mid lane champions.
With the summer split ahead of him, Mickey shared his ultimate goal of winning the finals at a stage grander and with more fans in attendance.
“I think I was always just a player with potential, but lacking,” he said. “I want to work hard and I want to be remembered as someone who put the title of best mid laner in the world on the line. “