The ROX Tigers’ championship win of League Champions Korea’s 2016 summer split was important for fans of the Tigers and the LCK as a whole. In a recent interview with Athlete Media, Kim “PraY” Jong-In talked about his experience as part of Najin Black Sword and just how much qualifying for worlds with the Tigers meant so much more.
“When I made it to worlds as part of Najin, I was more bewildered,” he told Athlete Media. “I didn’t feel like I made it to the stage of my dreams. Because of that I think I was caught off guard and couldn’t perform well. But now reaching the world stage after my slump, I have a sense of desperation I didn’t have before. Things will be different this time around.”
PraY also gave some insight into his humble beginnings as a high ranking player who never even considered becoming a professional gamer, and word of mouth had it that Najin’s representative Lee Seok-Jin asked PraY three times to join Najin before PraY finally relented.
“I played for the fun of raising my rank in the Korean server, but I got an offer to join a pro team,” he said. “I refused at first, but he kept convincing me.”
PraY made a statement as a pro by making it to the world championship during his debut year, and his performance didn’t disappoint the fans. But after he became part of the ROX Tigers, SK Telecom T1 looked like it was PraY’s kryptonite.
“We’ve won against them during the regular season and in prelims before,” he said. “I always thought they weren’t invincible, but somehow they always got the best of us in the finals. I think that was the reason why each loss was devastating to us. I want to beat SKT once on a big stage. I feel like we need to beat them in an important game to really ‘beat’ them.”
PraY’s regrets don’t only stop there, but also include the recent record of first to 1,000 kills set by SKT’s Lee “Faker” Sang-Hyeok. PraY was a close second to him, and he said that he could have easily beat out Faker if not for a couple of things during PraY’s career.
“If I didn’t take time off, I would have gotten to 1,000 first,” he said. “At the tail end of Najin, I kept playing with the positive mindset that I could be the best AD Carry in Korea, but as the team started to enter a slump I made some risky and silly plays. That and some other factors resulted in my decision to leave Najin for some time off. To a pro gamer, the process is important, but I also think that results are important too.”