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LirA on Envy’s performance, learning English and trying to salvage the spring split

Slingshot’s Andrew Kim talked to EnVyUs’ Nam “LirA” Tae-yoo after a 2-1 loss to FlyQuest on Saturday.

Andrew Kim: Even though you lost 2-1, you still played well in all three games. Why do you think the game ran away from you?

Nam “LirA” Tae-yoo: The game played out a little different from practice, and when we could have gotten ahead, we went for the first picks and lost because we made mistakes. I think we just got caught up in our own shortcomings today.

AK: When I talked with Hakuho (Nickolas Surgent) back in Week 2, he mentioned that you had a really hard time with going back and forth between Korea and North America. Could you talk about it more in detail?

NTY: I came to America about one or two weeks before competition. I started practice but I couldn’t get my visa, so I returned to Korea and went to America after the first week of the LCS. So in essence I went and came back from Korea twice in one week. Dealing with time zones was difficult, and the embassy only opens in the mornings, which meant I couldn’t really sleep in either. In Korea I could only play in PC Bangs without a team, and even that was difficult because people recognized me. Then I noticed that the game play of the team also had some changes, which meant taking time to synchronizing with them. I think we were going into the match today feeling good but we got sucker-punched by the Mordekaiser, so it’s a little sad.

AK: It looks like you did recover OK, looking at your play. Was the toughest thing to get used to because of time zones or something else?

NTY: When I got my visa and came to NA, I didn’t have problems time zone wise. I arrived in the morning and I slept in the plane, which helped on that front. The food here is good and everything, but not being able to see my loved ones like my girlfriend and family. It’s also hard to go out by myself because the language barrier is still there. We have a lot of Korean players on the team, so I might be a bit slow in learning the language. I still kind of feel alone at the moment. Even in Korea I liked to exercise and go out often, and that’s how I dealt with my stress. It’s a little tough since I don’t have my usual outlets yet.

AK: It seems like the more free and less restrictive NA is a better fit for you with what you said in mind. As you moved to NA, was there anything you looked forward to or envisioned?

NTY: I think the thing I needed the most from NA was English. I thought that after a month or two in America I would be able to have no problems talking with my teammates and the coach, but unexpectedly we have a lot of Korean spoken in the team, which contrasted with what I thought life would be like. I consider myself a competitive jungler in Korea or internationally, so I thought I could play in the higher parts of rankings, but I ran into the language barrier. So it’s kind of difficult dealing with where I am right now. But I know that the team is working hard, and in scrims we actually win against top tier teams easily. At first I was feeling a bit deflated as the team was struggling, but since we are doing better in scrims we just need to bring up our stage performance a bit.

AK: Do you watch VODs of other regions?

NTY: Even in Korea I didn’t play solo queue that often. I hit Challenger and play champions that have been changed or reworked. I spend a lot of time watching VODs. I consider them to be homework of sorts, and I can only really feel comfortable when I watch and study the pathing of other very talented junglers before my own competitive play.

AK: Is there a player you pay particular attention to?

NTY: Like I did in Korea, I pay close attention to (Go “Score” Dong-bin), and I still talk with him often. I think our team should follow the macro play of KT Rolster so I watch KT VODs at least twice.

AK: Disappointment isn’t unique to fans and can also be felt by pros. As you said before, it’s still possible for the team to bounce back. What do you think needs to happen for your team’s improvement?

NTY: I think I need to speak better English in order for the team to improve. I want to be more vocal and make shot calls, but because I can’t speak the language well yet, so I need to listen and make decisions based on that. It’s a bit disappointing because I feel like I’m the inhibitor for the team, which can play so much better. I think we also need to work on our own mistakes, because once we can avoid making them, we can do very well.

Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/illustration by Slingshot