Slingshot’s Andrew Kim caught up with Cloud9’s Jeon “Ray” Ji-won during Week 1 of the North American League of Legends Championship Series summer split. They talked (in Korean and translated to English) about subbing for Jeong “Impact” Eon-Young, the new patch and LCS franchising.
Andrew Kim: In today’s match you played all three games by yourself, rather than switching with Impact. Did you know that this would be the case or was the possibility of being swapped out still always there?
Jeon “Ray” Ji-won: Impact played as a professional for a really long time. Since his start in Korea, I was told that he didn’t take a single break in the past five years. He told the team that he really wanted to take time off after the end of the last split. Since we have two top laners, I was able to fill in for him so he can take some time off for himself. He had a break that was about two weeks longer than ours. I did all the scrims in the meantime. I think I was the one chosen to play since I did play all the scrims.
AK: There’s been another large patch change with a new Rift Herald as well as brand new items. A lot of pundits thought that the game will change along with the patch, so I want to ask if you agree with those assessments.
JJW: I think it’s still 50-50. There is a new Herald, but I don’t think it’s that much of a difference. You can for sure snowball earlier with the Herald, so early game pressure can be a thing. Other than that I can’t think of any large scale influence. The meta has always been similar each time. The only other thing that the Herald impacted would be that strong laners in the early game are preferable to take advantage of that, or a really strong jungler that can take it down quickly.
AK: So you’re saying that the way you manage the game or play the game might have changed, but the overall meta is still very much the same?
JJW: Yes. I feel like the new items made a large impact. You can’t really play anyone but tankers in the top lane anymore. The AP damage dealers are all pushed out and now it’s usually AD bruisers or AP tankers that don’t deal that much damage.
AK: Riot has recently announced their decision to remove relegation in favor of a franchise system. What are your opinions on the new changes?
JJW: I really enjoy traditional sports as well such as soccer and baseball. In America’s MLB there isn’t a relegation system, so I know what all the franchise teams are. I don’t really know (how this would work in esports). I know it’ll be better the larger the scene actually is, but I can’t really think how it might work out. I do think that the initiative is really good. With a franchise system, players can play comfortably without being worried about being relegated and improve themselves. On the other hand, the players could get complacent. They might think that they can do better next game, next split, because they don’t get relegated. Given all of that, I don’t know. I’m very neutral on the topic, but I think it’ll be an overall improvement for the players.
AK: I also want to ask you on your thoughts about Echo Fox’s new decision to only play against their sister team. They recently also added a lot of former pros for their sister team, giving the community a better look into it. The idea seems very Korean, with practicing only against your sister team. Do you think it’ll work for Echo Fox?
JJW: I don’t really know. As a player, I don’t know the positions of all the other teams so I can’t say with confidence how it might go down. I think it has some positives, but also risks for negatives too. If they only play within themselves while the rest of the NA LCS scrims with each other, scrim strategies can get leaked from close players that share information with one another. If you play only inside your team, you don’t have that happen and keep your secrets. But I think it can be bad because you can fall behind the meta, just as much as you can come ahead. It really depends on the team, but it’s hard to become better at the same time and you’ll most likely practice with the same conditions. If one team consistently loses, it’ll be hard for them. For the winning team, it’ll be tough, too.
AK: My last question is, with the summer split generally considered as an important split with the chance for worlds hanging on the outcome, what kind of goals do you have for the summer split?
JJW: Our goal is to do really well. When we came in second in the spring split, we kind of gave TSM the championship in the spring, and I’m sure it was disappointing for the whole team as it was for me. We want to do well, but it’s hard. It’s really hard, and we all need to give it our all to reach our goals.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/illustration by Slingshot