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Chaser on the number of Korean imports in NA: “When it comes to players with a long career, I think some players find the rigid life of Korea to be stressful.”

Slingshot’s Andrew Kim interviewed Dignitas’ Lee “Chaser” Sang-hyeon (in Korean and translated to English) During Week 1 of the North American League of Legends Championship Series.

Andrew Kim: Right now in Korea, the “curse of Lee Sin” is a topic of conversation, as Lee Sins tend to not do well there, but it seems like they’re doing much better in North America. Why do you think that’s happening?

Lee “Chaser” Sang-hyeon: In my opinion, minute details like the position of the Lee Sin are communicated well in Korea, which makes Lee Sins have difficulties in terms of making unexpected plays. In NA, there are some teams with holes in their communication, which allows Lee Sins to do better.

AK: The meta right now is a very jungle-centric one. Do you find this fitting your play style?

LSH: I think the meta is great for me. I think it’s a meta I can do well in.

AK: What was the process of moving from a Korean team to a North American one?

LSH: I was debating which region to play in, Korea or NA. I was sure that I would go to one of the two, but when my contract (with Longzhu Gaming) was done, the Dignitas coaching staff contacted me first, and after a couple of days, I thought it would be good to play with Ssumday (Kim Chan-ho) and decided to come here.

AK: Was there anything that you were looking forward to in NA? How is NA for you so far?

LSH: I really wanted to play in the LCS as quickly as possible, and I really wanted to eat the food here. I also wanted to see a lot of good sights.

AK: The topic of English always comes up with Korean imports. How are you studying English?

LSH: For Dignitas, the two players and coaching staff have the same English teacher, so whenever we have the time we practice. Our teacher is very good, too, so I think we’ll be able to pick up on it soon. We certainly have the will to do so.

AK: What are some large differences between life as a player in Korea and in NA?

LSH: I like how NA is a lot more free. Korea, in comparison, is a lot tighter.

AK: What are the team’s goals for the spring and summer split?

LSH: The goal for the spring split is to make playoffs no matter what and face off with the other teams. For the summer we want to make it to worlds with well-developed teamwork and individual skill.

AK: It’s my understanding that the translator isn’t with the team due to visa issues. Who’s doing the translating in the meantime?

LSH: Our English teacher was a big help, and our mid laner Keane (Jang Lae-young) is very good in English and Korean, but I think he finds it annoying to teach us every little thing. I think the English teacher does the most for us in that regard.

AK: What is it like to play with a player like Ssumday, someone you played against in Korea?

LSH: He’s very good. He’s also getting along with the team well.

AK: A lot of Korean players say that NA fans are much more passionate. Do you find the wild crowds of NA more your speed?

LSH: I think that all pro gamers like fans that passionately cheer for them. For me, I really like it. It’s all the more disappointing to lose.

AK: A lot of Korean players have joined NA. Although each player has their own reasons, why do you think 2017 saw this many imports in your opinion?

LSH: I think it’s a lot of things. It’s my understanding that the esports market is growing, so I think that plays a part, I also think learning English is a part of it too. When it comes to players with a long career, I think some players find the rigid life of Korea to be stressful. I think being able to do well at your own pace while being more free is also a factor.

Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/illustration by Slingshot