Slingshot’s Andrew Kim caught up with Phoenix1’s No “Arrow” Dong-hyeon after his team won the third place match of the North American League of Legends Championship Series on Saturday. The MVP award had not been announced, so Arrow wasn’t asked about winning it, but he talked about winning third place, goals for the summer split and watching the League Champions Korea final.
Andrew Kim: First off, congratulations on the rather dramatic 3-2 victory for third place. What are your thoughts right now?
No “Arrow” Dong-hyeon: It feels good to win, and even more so because it was a dramatic five game series. It also feels good that we won in the home country of our two teammates who are Canadian, Derek (“Zig” Shao) and Inori (Rami Charagh).
AK: Game 1 was very one-sided for you guys but Games 2 and 3 painted a very different picture. Why do you think you guys fell behind?
NDH: I thought we would be the only team that would pick Kog’Maw, but then the opponents took Kog’Maw-Ivern and we took Jhin-Rumble in Game 2. Of course we tried our best to win and we could have if we played better, but I think the composition was weaker than theirs in comparison. Even though we have Kog’Maw and Rumble, they had Kog’Maw, Ivern and Karma. I think they had two shields to put down including Ivern’s. It was a pretty tough game because we had to play our game perfectly in order to win, but we couldn’t do that well, especially against that enemy composition. The composition was bad, and when I first saw the Kog’Maw pick, I was thinking of playing Twitch or something else, but we decided to go with Jhin and Rumble because we practiced them. In Game 3, their strategy of utilizing Malzahar for the leash was very effective, so it made Sang-wook’s (Ryu) life more difficult. We decided to ban out that strategy from then on. I think that we won because we could take the better drafts.
AK: Before the third place decider, what was your prediction to the results?
NDH: Of course I thought we could win in a 3-0 and I was very confident, but when we actually got on stage, the drafts didn’t go as we wanted, and the games didn’t go as we wanted as well. It was a lot harder than I thought.
AK: There was the LCK finals match between SK Telecom T1 and KT Rolster this morning. Seeing as you and Ryu are both former KT players, did you guys try to stay up and watch the match?
NDH: Honestly I watched until 2 a.m. I think the games actually started around 1 a.m., and while I watched, I really felt just how good Korea is. (In) Smeb (Song Kyung-ho) and Huni (Heo Seung-hoon)’s top lane fight of Jayce vs. Shen, SKT utilized Shen well to create good situations while Jayce looked to push the lane in his favor. Watching that kind of game management really made me think that they’re really good, and it hurt my heart to see how the Fizz did.
AK: With the summer split ahead of you it seems that you’ll have some time off before you go back to practice, do you have any plans during that time off?
NDH: Originally I thought I should go to Korea because my teeth have been in bad shape lately. I have a small cavity, and the dentists in North America are expensive, so I wanted to get that looked at in Korea and just do a general check up while I was there because I gained some weight, enough to concern me. But now that I think of it, it only takes three hours from LA to Vancouver, and it was tough to sit in economy even during that time. Going to Korea is going to be an even longer 13 hours so I’m considering not going. If I don’t, I think the team will shift more to a morning-person practice schedule, so I want to try out that living pattern early.
AK: The patch you guys are playing on is 7.6 while the live patch is on 7.8. What are some difficulties, if any, you experience because of it?
NDH: No. With the new Galio remake, I think it was right for us to play on the patch previous to that because it won’t be possible for all the teams to be prepared for such a big change for such a short time. We also have the tournament server, and we practice on that server, so it was OK in my opinion.
AK: With your third place finish, I’m sure you’ll be looking to go to even greater heights. What are some of your goals for the summer split?
NDH: I’m planning to play as hard as I can to make it to the finals no matter what, and if possible I’d like us to get a lot of points during the regular season and make it straight to the finals or second place, like that.
AK: If we assume that you can make it to the finals, which team would you like to face?
NDH: Personally I want to play against Team SoloMid. It’s fun to play against TSM because the crowd chants for them all the time. When we’re winning it doesn’t matter, but when we’re losing and we hear the chants, it’s a little annoying but I also want to win while I can hear those chants going on in the finals.
AK: My last question for you is, you are standing out in the scene right now because of how active you are. Going up and down the stage, smiling, and other moments of you is caught on camera and it’s increasing your popularity as well. Where does all that energy come from?
NDH: Rather than saying I have some place where the energy comes from, I want to play with a positive mindset. Of course I also get angry or frustrated when things don’t work out the way I want them to, so I try to enjoy myself if it’s not practice or scrims.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/illustration by Slingshot