The ROX Tigers are the heavy favorites to win Group A of the League of Legends World Championship, and they opened the tournament with a decisive win against Albus NoX Luna on Thursday.
Slingshot’s Andrew Kim conducted an interview (in Korean and then translated) with the Tigers’ Han “Peanut” Wang-Ho, in which they talked about his first world championship, getting off to a good start and differences in crowd noise.
Andrew Kim: First of all, congratulations on your first win. This is your first world championship. How do you feel?
Han “Peanut” Wang-Ho: I finally realized a goal I’ve had since I’ve become a pro gamer, but it doesn’t really feel like I thought it would. I just feel like I’m here to play another game. We did well (during the regular season) so now we’re competing here.
AK: you had an unbelievable growth period between 2015 and 2016. What was the catalyst of such growth?
HWH: I didn’t do as well for sure when I was with Najin. But I do feel like if I was given more a chance, I think it wouldn’t have looked like there was a large gap in my performance between 2015 and 2016.
AK: The ROX Tigers have finally won the LCK after coming in second for many seasons. How did it feel to finally be in first place?
HWH: After winning for about 15 to 20 minutes, during the interviews after winning the LCK, I’ve felt like I’ve never been happier before.
AK: You are commonly known as the best jungler in the world right now. How do you feel about that title?
HWH: I think I would have been much more comfortable if I didn’t make mistakes the way I did today. I still think that I’m doing well, so I think as long as I don’t get too nervous I will be able to produce good results.
AK: What’s the story behind the colorful hair of the Tigers?
HWH: I’ve always dyed my hair and bleached it quite often since the summer split of 2016. I’ve just bleached my hair because it was time I did. As for the rest of the team, I think they also did it because they wanted to before they got any older.
AK: As you’ve practiced with foreign teams and players, is there one you want to go up against?
HWH: Not really. Of the players in European and North American teams, I think NA’s (Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg) is the best one.
AK: Competing in America meant you had to take a plane, get used to the time zones and maybe even change your diet. What was the toughest thing about coming here?
HWH: I haven’t felt anything that was particularly taxing so far. I think getting used to a new time zone was the hardest.
AK: How do you practice when you’re near venues and games like you are right now?
HWH: Whenever we don’t have any schedules set by Riot for an appearance or something, we spend that time practicing. I don’t think there was that much of a difference.
AK: Finally, how is the atmosphere compared to that of League Champions Korea? What’s different?
HWH: When all 16 teams stood on the stage (during the opening ceremony) I heard the differences in the volume of cheers and got a little jealous. I think such support is an incredible energy boost to professional gamers. I think the crowds here are so enthusiastic. Not to say that the fans of the LCK aren’t, but it still felt really good. I think I got the most jealous when the crowd did a TSM chant.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games