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Ninja on Korean imports and EnVyUs’ early-season struggles

Slingshot’s Andrew Kim caught up with EnVyUs’ Noh “Ninja” Geon-woo (in Korean and translated to English) during Week 2 of the North American League of Legends Championship Series.

Andrew Kim: Right now Team EnVyUs is in a rough spot early in the season. What do you think the biggest reason for that is?

Noh “Ninja” Geon-woo: When we scrim, we have a win rate of 70-80 percent no matter what LCS team we go up against, and the team atmosphere is good, too. But I think not being able to practice due to visa issues and not playing well in the first week were big, and led to the problems we have now.

AK: With the addition of LirA not being able to compete in the first week because of some issues, when were you able to practice with him beforehand?

NGW: We practiced about two weeks during boot camp, and we practiced a bit after coming back, and he had to go back due to visa issues and we had to play with subs. I played in the jungle because I previously used to, so to be honest, we didn’t get to practice a lot.

AK: As a Korean player, coming to NA must have been a difficult choice. Was there anything you were looking forward to or how life here would be like?

NGW: Playing in North America is often associated with a great play environment, and I played in China, so I also was expected a lot from that front, and I’m very satisfied.

AK: It’s only been two weeks into the LCS, and I’m sure you’re working to shore up any problems the team has. Assuming that the issues are resolved within the team, how far up do you think your team can go?

NGW: Personally I think we can make it in third place. Right now as we’re practicing, we know that there are a lot of issues, but they have been fixed a lot compared to when we started, and our scrims aren’t bad against other LCS teams. I think we improved a lot, so if we can just perform the way we do in practice, I think we can make it to the top three.

AK: Do you then feel like your performance in practice isn’t transferring over to the stage?

NGW: Of course not being able to practice because visa issues played a part, but LirA played his first game here today, and he’s playing in a new environment without booths and such. I don’t think he’s been able to show even half of his ability. If we get some time to adjust, we can do better.

AK: A running theme with imports has been the importance of getting along with foreign teammates for better communication. Have you been able to get along with the rest of the team fine?

NGW: In my case I’ve been here for a year and a half, and whenever I had time off I took the time to study English, so I have no problems with communication. For LirA, he’s still learning the language, and with the addition of Apollo, I was close with him since a year ago. I think we’re all getting along.

AK: We’re seeing a lot of Korean talent enter the NA LCS in 2017. Why do you think this was the case?

NGW: I think for the players who want to leave Korea, they can be divided into two categories; either they go to China or the west. The players all tend to talk with one another, and there’s a consensus that NA is really good, as well as supporting players financially. I think part of it has to be because word of mouth.

AK: As in the players say that NA is better than other regions?

NGW: Yes, it’s still more comfortable compared to China. There are a lot of players who want to come to NA right now. But right now there aren’t any spots.

Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games