The Immortal’s new top laner Lee “Flame” Ho-jong gave his opinion about the recent return of Korean players to their home regions after playing in foreign regions in an interview with Fomos’ Choi Min-suk.
“It’s actually not that common that a player’s worth increases when they go abroad, and I think the Chinese market that hires Korean players is generally getting worse with time,” he said. “I also expect the players want for a world championship plays a large part, and maybe could be that Korean players like their home country at the end of the day.”
Flame also spoke about the important factors to consider when going to another region, and said that 2016’s Korean player moves were calculated.
“When you’re coming back from another region, it’s important to know who you’re coming back with and what team you’ll be joining,” he said. “The players that returned this time around must have been keeping those factors in mind while they were in China, and I think the Korean teams were also imaging the coming season with the same mind set, which allowed players and teams to benefit together. Many internationally acclaimed players have returned for the next season. I think only those with high value can return to good positions.”
Flame’s analysis is not baseless as highly renown players such as Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu and Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong have both said that they wished to return to Korea in search of a world championship, and Mata would also later clarify that he joined KT Rolster precisely because he would be able to move with Deft as a pair.
Flame also talked about how he spent his time after the 2016 season, saying that he “didn’t leave his house” for two to three months and played nothing but solo queue. On the topic of his joining the Immortals, he said his decision was dependent on many factors.
“I quickly signed with them because I thought they were a team that recognized my value as a player,” he said. “At first I didn’t know what to do becuase I didn’t consider going to North America, but I thought it was a good team that I could win with and the offer was very good. I also thought that they were a team that worked well with me after talking with them. After discussing the matter with head coaches Son Dae-young and Kang Dong-hoon, I decided to join.”
It has been two weeks since Flame joined the Immortals, and he said that although his younger teammates “get into trouble sometimes,” he called them “pure,” and that he enjoys talking with the Immortals’ mid laner Eugene “Pobelter” Park due to his good Korean skills.
Before his own return to Korea, Flame played in China as a part of LGD Gaming for the 2015 season as one of the players of interest after the 2014 League of Legends world championships. He played with Longzhu Gaming in 2016 before his recent move to North America as a part of the Immortals this month.