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Ryu on changes to Challenger league: “I don’t think the skill level of the region will change that much.”

Ryu does not think the skill level of the North American region will change much with next year's League of Legends changes.
Phoenix1's Ryu (Yoo Sang-wook) does not think the skill level of the North American region will change much with next year's League of Legends changes. Photo courtesy of Riot Games/Slingshot illustration.

Slingshot’s Andrew Kim caught up with Phoenix1’s Yoo “Ryu” Sang-wook during the North American League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS). They talked (in Korean and translated to English) about Phoenix1’s struggles to start the summer split, LCS franchising and how Ryu spent the break between splits.

Andrew Kim: This might be an awkward question, but you guys have not been able to get off to a good start this split. Is there a reason why you think you guys are having trouble early in the split?

Yoo “Ryu” Sang-wook: I can’t think of a reason. Everyone just seems to be having trouble in the beginning. I can’t really know why though.

AK: Between the spring and summer split I’m sure you guys had some time off before getting back to practice. What did you do during the mean time?

YSW: I was planning to go to Korea, but it didn’t seem like there was enough time so I stayed in the gaming house. I didn’t do anything interesting.

AK: Did you play any games other than League?

YSW: I didn’t play League all that much. I didn’t play games all that much at all.

AK: Some of the fans are still confused about some of the roster choices, such as replacing Stunt (William Chen), and with Inori (Rami Charagh) as the starting jungler (editor’s note: This interview was conducted before Inori left for Team Liquid and Michael “MikeYeung” Yeung became Phoenix1’s jungler). Is the team atmosphere any different from the spring split?

YSW: Nothing has really changed for us, so the atmosphere is fairly similar with the previous split.

AK: As a player in North America I have to ask you about Riot’s decision to switch to a franchising system in 2018, and removing the relegation system. There seems to be a lot of debate on whether it’s good or bad, so what are your thoughts on the matter?

YSW: I didn’t give much thought about it but since Riot said they would change the Challenger league to an Academy League, I don’t think the skill level of the region will change that much. I don’t have much to say.

AK: Another interesting news item is Echo Fox’s decision to only scrim their sister team, and signing a lot of former pros as their Challenger team. It kind of feels like the old CJ Entus with its tactics. Do you think this could work in NA as well?

YSW: I think practicing with a sister team is very good, but under the condition that all 10 players are working hard. I think that making an environment to achieve that might be difficult, but if they do make it, I think it’ll be very good.

AK: Something that can’t be separated from North American esports is streaming, to the point that some teams have streaming hours built into the contracts. If you were to quit being a pro and go for a full-time streamer, what would have to happen?

YSW: I think I’ll just do something that I find is fun. If it’s fun and if the income isn’t bad.

Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/Slingshot illustration