At 1-2, H2K had a difficult start to the League of Legends World Championship but it still very much alive in Group C. Slingshot’s Andrew Kim talked to Ryu “Ryu” Sang-Wook on Friday about his transition to Europe, the region’s struggles and how he got to this point.
Andrew Kim: First, congratulations on your win (against INTZ). You guys came off of a rough game yesterday. How did you not let it get to you?
Ryu “Ryu” Sang-Wook: I think that we could have won yesterday if we made less mistakes, so we just decided to play more carefully as a team today.
AK: You have moved regions from Korea to Europe in your Career. What was that experience like? Was it difficult?
RSW: At first it was very difficult. I was the only Korean, and I didn’t speak a lot of English. Luckily the first European team helped me by teaching me English and the team spoke with easy words to help me acclimate to the region. After that it was fine, but the first couple of months were brutal.
AK: Do you find that the H2K support staff helped you out a lot as the foreign player?
RSW: At first, not really. But when there was a management change in the company, they really started to take care of me well, so that’s why I’m still here.
AK: Based on your experience in Korea, what are some of the differences between Korean and European mid laners?
RSW: I think regardless of region, the good players are pretty equal. The biggest difference being is that Korean mid laners play aggressively by being mindful of the enemy junglers while the European ones just play aggressive regardless. If they get ganked they lose out, and if they don’t get ganked they win. The difference isn’t in the skill, but in game management.
AK: You mentioned learning English. How did you do it?
RSW: At first the team supplied me with a teacher, but I’m only really good at focusing at one thing at a time, after about two months of playing and learning I felt like I wasn’t going anywhere. So I told the team that I won’t need a teacher and just keep up myself. I think I got naturally better while talking to the team.
AK: Since you are playing so far away from your home, do you ever get homesick?
RSW: Since I’m alone on H2K, I think it’s about half and half. When I feel great here it’s amazing, but when I don’t want to be here I really don’t want to.
AK: What are some positive points about playing in Europe compared to Korea?
RSW: You get paid better here, you have more freedom, and being able to learn English is big for me.
AK: Do you spend a lot of time with your teammates outside of games?
RSW: I don’t think pro gamers get out that much. My teammates really don’t like going out, so I tend to eat with other Korean players in Europe.
AK: This isn’t your first time at worlds. How does it compare to the time before?
RSW: The reason I came to Europe initially was because it was easier to get to worlds. When I first made it to the world championships I got really nervous, and the group that we drew was bad for us so I wasn’t feeling all that great. This time around I’m feeling better and I think we have a real chance of making it out of groups so I think it’s better this year.
AK: As a Korean player away from home what do you do to have yourself feel at home every now and again?
RSW: Since the LCS runs on a weekly schedule, we have a day off every week, so I spend my time watching Korean dramas or variety shows. That’s when I feel the most comfortable.