Team Liquid might finally appear to be trending upward. The team had its first 2-0 week of the North American League of Legends Championship Series summer split and looked more cohesive than at any other point all summer. After a 2-1 win against Phoenix1, Slingshot’s Emily Rand caught up with jungler Kim “Reignover” Ui-jin to talk about the team’s improvements.
Emily Rand: How are you guys feeling after such a strong week?
Kim “Reignover” Ui-jin: It feels really nice. We worked really hard. The team atmosphere or team mood was pretty down, but having a 2-0 week looks really good and it will be good for next week’s practice. Right now we’re not in last place anymore, so that’s relieving. I just think a 2-0 week really builds our confidence and going into next week it’s just really good for us.
ER: There’s been a lot of talk about the new patch, and Team Liquid seemed to have a stronger read on it than your opponents. So what do you think of the current patch and how did you prepare?
KUJ: It’s just basically more CC tanks showing up onstage. I think it’s just about finding a good balance between playing every single team fight and then kiting on team fights with heavy tanks. We’ve been talking a lot about how we were going to team fight and I think that’s maybe why we were a little bit better than other teams. But I think teams will be comfortable by this week on the patch, so we have to improve our team fighting and skirmish even more.
ER: With all of the talk about tanky champions and junglers, you actually ended up picking Elise both games today. What do you specifically think of the jungle meta?
KUJ: Honestly I feel like, although Elise isn’t a tank champion, her early game pressure is the best in League right now. Elise is always a good jungler to blind pick or first pick, too. Basically Elise is one of my most-played champions. I have a lot of comfort on that champion and I think that’s why I go for Elise when it’s up. Usually it’s banned and I have to pick another jungler. I’m also always ready to play against Elise and I’m comfortable playing Elise into any matchup, so I think it’s still a good meta for her.
Tanks like Gragas, Maokai, Cho’Gath, all you need is just confidence and being a good engager, being more efficient than the enemy jungler. Your ganks are less aggressive and there is less random plays on the map, and when the game goes slow I think I always get advantages on the map. So I think that’s really nice.
ER: One of the champions you’re also known for playing is Rengar, and we saw Dardoch bring that champion out today. Were you at all surprised? And is that something we could possibly see from you since it’s one of your more well-known champions?
KUJ: I think it’s a good pick into Elise. Elise was first-pick and then they picked Rengar to counter it. It’s definitely a good counter, but it still depends on how Elise plays the matchup. I believe Rengar is a bad champ right now. It’s a good counter but the champ itself is not good at all right now. Basically if Elise plays well, Elise can still win the matchup, and if they both play well, Elise is still better. I don’t think I’ll play Rengar into Elise because I always respect the enemy jungler to play well. I have a lot of other champs I can play into Elise.
ER: Team Liquid seems to have finally found their footing this week. What are your goals for the final two weeks of the split?
KUJ: It will be really really cool if we could win every game and go to playoffs, make it a really cool drama. But since the top six teams have a lot of victories and the bottom four have really low amount of victories, we actually have to win all of our remaining four games to go to playoffs and the fifth/sixth place teams have to lose every game. We’re not looking forward too much, we’re just focused on next week. We just really want to not go to relegation, and it’s a lot of stress. We’re just focusing on next week and we’re going to try even harder.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games