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Arrow: “Comparing to my play while part of KT, I would give myself about 80 percent.”

Slingshot’s Andrew Kim caught up with No “Arrow” Dong-hyeon of Phoenix1 (in Korean and translated to English) during Week 2 of the North American League of Legends Championship Series.

Andrew Kim: Right now your team pet Rengar has been a very popular star on social media. You seem to be particularly active in taking pictures and doing Periscope streams, so I want to ask if the cat might be a (welcomed) distraction for you?

No “Arrow” Dong-hyeon: Now that you mention it, Adrian (Adrian Ma) and I share the same room. We bought the cat for Ryu (Yoo Sang-wook), but the house and things are in our room, not his. I’ve had a cat before so I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal. The first night here, I could feel the cat’s paws on my back while I was sleeping. So it just stayed next to me purring. It also tends to scratch or knead at different types of fabric, so when it first came to me, I just took it as the cat purring next to me, but then the cat scratched me on the face. I was kind of annoyed, but since it was cute, I forgave it. I kind of had trouble sleeping, because the cat wants to sleep next to me, but since it’s so small, I don’t want to squish it while I’m sleeping so I’m being extra careful next to it. Yesterday, it was very windy so I think the cat got scared, because you could see a shadow of the tree outside the window, and that shadow was seen on me while I was sleeping, so I could feel the cat scratching at the shadow, and because of that I just played with it. I woke up at 7 a.m. and did a Periscope stream with it to try and make it fall asleep with me.

AK: Another hot topic is about your hair style. A lot of fans don’t exactly know why you chose that particular hairstyle for competition, so could you explain in detail about it?

NDH: In Korea, I had no trouble going to a hairdresser, but I can’t fully trust the hairdressers here because they’re so different. I also hear often that I need to get it done in Korea town if I need to get a haircut, so my hair got longer, and I hate having long bangs because it blocks my vision. I kept pushing it out of the way, and I noticed Derek (Shao) ties his hair up during competition, and I thought it looked super comfortable, and I copied him. I’m too lazy to go get it cut, and my hair grows, so.

AK: You also seemed to have a problem with getting used to time zones, as we can see you often talking about waking up too early on social media. Have you gotten used to it now?

NDH: I think I got used to it, but I can’t tell if it’s because of time zones or because I’m older. I’ve been feeling really tired lately. For instance, in Korea I would have two rounds of scrims, play solo queue, and go to bed. Right now I play two rounds of scrims, I take a two hour nap, or just sleep for the night. I can’t tell if that because of time zones or age.

AK: It’s not like that has an impact it seems, as you’ve also been very consistent in your play. If you would grade your performance in NA, what would you give yourself?

NDH: Comparing to my play while part of KT, I would give myself about 80 percent. I don’t think I am at 100 percent since even (in Week 2) I lost some CS in lane, and I have some nerves. I also had points where I got scared when I could’ve made big plays, so I think 80~75 is what I want to give myself.

AK: Your presence on social media is very large, with jokes about “mafia Ryu” and periscopes with the cat being popularized. What is the thought behind the activity on social media?

NDH: It’s not fun to play alone. I want to also show the way I live to the people who are curious, and they seem to like that. I’m not really as active on Facebook where my friends are because it’s embarrassing sometimes. I don’t think my friends are using Twitter at all, so it’s mostly for the fans both Korean and foreign, as well as the coaching staff, including my old head coach Lee Ji-hoon. Before, I chose to be active on Twitter because of my embarrassment, but because I wanted to show my life to the fans. I think I can show it to my friends too, now. I guess my personality changed as well.

Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/illustration by Slingshot