The ROX Tigers are the only unbeaten team in Group A of the League of Legends World Championship through three days of the tournament. They defeated G2 on Saturday, and Slingshot’s Andrew Kim caught up with mid laner Lee “Kuro” Seo-Haeng afterward (in Korean, translated to English) to talk about the game, winning League Champions Korea and who he wants to play down the road.
Andrew Kim: You were falling behind early on in the game but you gathered yourselves to get a win. What was the team’s atmosphere during that game?
Lee “Kuro” Seo-Haeng: The atmosphere is always good. We started to set things up before the game started, but we started to get punished as we made small mistakes here and there. So the atmosphere started to go bad, but I believe that our team has hidden strength, so we catch up one step at a time.
AK: Your picks and bans were very interesting, with the Ezreal first pick and the Nocturne.
LSH: All the other picks were prepared beforehand. The Malzahar, Nocturne, and Soraka picks weren’t really well prepared, but we used it based on past experiences’ comp. I think some mistakes were made after the picks and bans.
AK: You have been awarded best KDA in the LCK four seasons in a row. Do you have pride in your own abilities?
LSH: I try to have confidence in myself, but when I pay attention to what’s being said around me, my confidence starts to leave me. I always hear fans asking “who’s the mid laner?” quite often, and even when I do well people say I did bad. Realistically my performances aren’t bad. I have shown up and I continue to show up, so I’m still working on building confidence.
AK: With the new patch of worlds the mid lane picks have become very simple. Did you expect this to happen?
LSH: I kind of did. A lot of foreign teams came to Korea to bootcamp, and as we practiced with them, I noticed the picks becoming easier to see before worlds. We need to follow up on those trends to not stagnate, so we practiced the obvious picks and prepared counter picks.
AK: This is your second world championship. How is it different from your first time?
LSH: The first time felt more mysterious and each game was precious to me. Then the team was also not in a good spot, with issues with the sponsor and other environmental issues. With this second time, I feel like I’m less nervous since I got used to it like it’s another domestic tournament.
AK: When the ROX Tigers finally won an LCK trophy, could you describe what that felt like?
LSH: If I could describe it from the perspective of a gamer, it feels like I took down a boss that no one else could. It was that kind of happiness. I felt like we were the best.
AK: Is there a Korean team that you want to face in the finals of the tournament?
LSH: Obviously it would be SKT, but I really don’t want to face them. Ideally I want to face foreign teams in the finals and not have a Korean showdown. I get really stressed when I have to play against Korean teams.
AK: What are some differences between the LCK and the world championships?
LSH: I feel like I know all the players in the LCK, and everyone has no communication issues. The play styles tend to be stable or save. But the thing about worlds is that I think foreign teams must have communication issues, but they still play very well despite that and they are very aggressive to look for a fight. I definitely think that it’s tougher here than it is in LCK.
AK: What’s the hardest thing about competing in a foreign country?
LSH: America has good food, so that’s not an issue. The hardest thing is the time zone difference and the colds that come from stark temperature differences. We came here about three days ago before the group stages, but that’s not enough time to get used to a new time zone. I kept waking up after sleeping only a bit and had a hard time going back to sleep. I really hope that next time we compete in a different time zone or we get some more time to get used to the time zones.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games