Slingshot’s Andrew Kim caught up with Team Liquid’s Kim “Reignover” Ui-Jin during Week 6 of the North American League Championship Series to talk (in Korean and translated to English) about Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin’s move to mid lane, adding a new player and trying to recover after a poor start to the season.
Andrew Kim: First off, congrats on your victory. It looks like you guys were really nervous during the series. How did you guys pull through mentally?
Kim “Reignover” Ui-jin: In the first game, we got counter ganked in the bot lane and lost. Elise was supposed to be in the top area, but she was around bot, so we really lost the game easily off of that. It was a hit mentally, and we lost it while trying to drag it out. We tried to make something happen at Baron, but that didn’t work out either. The game didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to, so it was upsetting. In Game 2, though, I was able to play my confident pick, Rengar, and we won pretty well. We thought that if we ban out the Elise, who can make unexpected plays, we could win in a losing matchup as long a I can play Rengar or Khazix.
AK: Of course I have to ask you about Piglet’s move to the mid lane. He played very well even though it was his first competitive match as a mid laner. Does he often practice that lane?
KUJ: He often played mid and bot when he’s playing solo queue, so he’s had plenty of practice. His mechanics are still solid, so I don’t think he has a problem in lane. We practiced a lot on what he needs to work on outside of just laning like ward placements and such. He’s not perfect, but he’s playing very well.
AK: As Piglet said before the game, top, mid, and jungle are the most important roles right now. As the jungler, did you find something better as Piglet moved to the mid lane?
KUJ: Something that is very comfortable is when I have a lead in the jungle, I can invade easily. As the mid laner is pushing the lane he can rotate with me to make something happen. It’s great that I can comfortably look for leads, and once I get them, it’s easy to snowball those leads. It’s also great that the mid laner can open up the fight for me when I’m around the mid lane, since he knows to create counter ganks. His laning is strong too, which makes vision easier to secure without me having to put down wards personally. Having aggressive players on the team is also good because that then disperses the aggro the team gets.
AK: So are you saying that Piglet’s aggressive play style and strong laning phase makes your job that much easier?
KUJ: It’s a double edged sword, really. You can get ganked and die with the mid lane when you’re over aggressive, but you could also put the enemy laner and jungler in a bad spot. As of right now, we make a lot of mistakes and we have a lot of shortcomings, but we’re going in a very good direction.
AK: I think YoungBin (Jung Young-bin) must have been rather nervous with his first LCS performance. We could see some mistakes here and there, so how did the veterans of Liquid manage to keep YoungBin from being too discouraged?
KUJ: His mentality is very good to begin with, and he was very close with Piglet when they were on the same team, so Piglet was a fountain of knowledge for YoungBin. He taught him how to play, laning and communication. YoungBin was a pro gamer so he learned quickly, and he has no problems during feedback because he’s a nice guy.
AK: It’s interesting that now with Piglet’s move Liquid has three Korean speakers rather than two. Do you find that communication improved a lot?
KUJ: The team atmosphere also got brighter, too, since when Piglet makes a call, the bot lane automatically moves in accordance without me having to translate. Piglet and YoungBin are close, so having a friend join the team also made Piglet more talkative and improving the atmosphere. He is a good addition.
AK: With facing your team from last season, do you think that you want to win more because they are your old team?
KUJ: I just want to win against all enemy teams. I want to win and do well, but we couldn’t play well, we made mistakes, and we were so behind with little we can do. I didn’t like the fact that I was getting used to losing. With today’s match and new roster, I want to get used to winning and get our confidence back and continue to do well.
AK: Do you have a player that is difficult for you to deal with in the NA LCS?
KUJ: I just have a hard time against junglers who do the unexpected. Like today when we saw the counter gank, Dardoch (Joshua Hartnett) was there with Mobility Boots. Players that do the unexpected, appearing in the unexpected parts of the jungle, and look for ganks through skipping jungler mobs or with unique pathing, junglers that try things like that. I have an easier time dealing with players that play more to the book.
AK: Is there a player from another region you pay special attention to?
KUJ: Score (Go Dong-bin) for sure. Right now, farming and ganking are both important for junglers. In the previous tanking jungler meta, you didn’t need to farm all that well as long as vision was secured. Right now it’s important to create a platform where things can happen and Score does a very good job at that. He knows when he needs to sacrifice himself for the team and when he doesn’t need to do so. He’s also very good at putting down vision, his communication is good, and he makes very little mistakes. He also is the best jungler in the world, but he always respects the enemy jungler without putting too much risk on the line.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/illustration by Slingshot