Slingshot’s Andrew Kim caught up with Yoo “Ryu” Sang-wook (in Korean and translated to English) after Phoenix1’s 3-0 win against Dignitas in the quarterfinals of the North American League of Legends Championship Series.
Andrew Kim: First off, congratulations on the clean 3-0 victory. What are your thoughts on the win?
Yoo “Ryu” Sang-wook: I did think we would win, but I didn’t expect we’d win this easily. It feels good to have the easy win.
AK: You were acknowledged as the MVP of the match today. How did you feel before going into the games today? Did you have a good feeling?
YSW: I didn’t have any particular feeling. I just played like I normally do and things worked out, I think.
AK: Many fans are curious about your facial expressions. When you smile, you really light up, but it’s hard to see you like that on stage. Is it based on focus or anything?
YSW: When I play I focus a lot, so I don’t smile until it’s all over. I guess I also don’t smile after the match sometimes. I think I just smile a lot after I’m done.
AK: Phoenix1 had a lot of roster changes in the jungle and the support role. How did you adjust yourself according to the changes?
YSW: Our team’s roster definitely changed a lot compared to some of the other teams this split. There were many times when we couldn’t practice, and we didn’t spend a lot of time getting used to one another’s play style, so I just thought I needed to keep it up and practice lead the team.
AK: Despite such difficulties, your team did very well, ending the regular season in third and making it to the semifinals. What is the secret behind having such success despite these hiccups in the split?
YSW: Rather than saying there is a secret to it, our team didn’t have their mentalities affected during times like these, and we were able to do well so far because we’ve all worked very hard.
AK: We can see some of what you did while you were in H2K, making shot-calls and leading the team, since the play seems to revolve around you. What do you feel about being the leader role in the team? Would someone else be more fitting?
YSW: Shot-calls need to be made by players who can read the map well, and I think I’m on the better side when it comes to that. I try to make as many shot-calls as I can if I get the chance. I think overall it’s better for the whole team to be involved, as opposed to just one person making the calls.
AK: Does Phoenix1 make calls as a collective?
YSW: Yes, you could say that.
AK: Something we have to talk about is your image on social media, having fun with your current teammates and interacting with them freely. Do you find more to enjoy and have fun in North America compared to your experience in Europe or Korea, or is it just easier to see now?
YSW: Compared to Korea, I get more personal time here so I can have more fun. Compared to Europe, I was the only Korean on the team, so I didn’t have anyone to really hang out with anyone, and my teammates also didn’t seem to like going out. Here I have other Koreans to interact with, and my teammates are all out going so we hang out whenever we can.
AK: How is the team cat doing?
YSW: He’s doing very well.
AK: I’ve heard that you wanted to adopt a cat in particular, and the team pulled the trigger on it. Was there a reason behind wanting a team pet?
YSW: I love pets, but I never had a chance to really go home so I thought it would be nice to have a team pet. When I mentioned it, the team agreed and got the cat.
AK: Finally, please if you could, tell us what is so good about your team.
YSW: All my teammates are kind and fun to be around. The organization also is the best in terms of management during my time overseas, and they take care of everything quickly as well. I think I’m in a great team.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/illustration by Slingshot