Arrow says he’s sad to see relegation go: “I think it makes the scene better because the bad teams would be systematically weeded out with better teams taking their place.”

Slingshot’s Andrew Kim caught up with Phoenix1’s No “Arrow” Dong-hyeon during the North American League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS) summer split. They talked (in Korean and translated to English) about taking a break between splits, removing relegation from the NA LCS and goals for Phoenix1 in the summer split.

Andrew Kim: After the spring split, I’m sure you guys had some time winding down and taking a vacation. You didn’t seem like you went to Korea or anything, so how did you spend your time off?

No “Arrow” Dong-hyeon: We only had about 10 days for vacation, so I thought it would be too tight to go to Korea, since I would have to spend two days on travel for 14 hours each. I just spent my time like I always did in the gaming house eating and playing games, and without scrims I did more streaming. I went to the gym a couple of times to get healthier, but I didn’t really commit to it (laughs). I just took it easy.

AK: With the new big changes in the new patch, we have a new Rift Herald and new items. What are your thoughts or opinions on the changes?

NDH: The Rift Herald became a very important objective, and Doran’s Shield — though it’ll probably be nerfed in the near future — is a very strong item right now. There are new champions and items now, so I think I’ll need to find a new good champion. Zac is very strong, Rakan and Xayah seemed kinda of weird, but Aphromoo (Zaqueri Black) really showed how one can play Rakan beautifully. The meta didn’t change much, though, outside the new Rift Herald.

AK: With the new franchising system without relegation, there’s a lot of conversation in the community about whether or not it could have a negative impact on the players. What are your thoughts on the matter?

NDH: I think the existence of relegation might be scary for the teams at risk of being relegated, but I think it’s good to have it around. I think it makes the scene better because the bad teams would be systematically weeded out with better teams taking their place. As it is bad for the relegated teams, it’s equally good for teams that get promoted. I think change like that is good, so it’s a little disappointing to see it go, but I’m sure something new will replace that system.

AK: Well, the Challenger Series will be replaced with the academy system for teams to foster new talent. What are your thoughts on the potential success of that?

NDH: I think it’ll make a lot of jobs, since there will be a lot of work to be done. Unless the players are all working very hard to be professionals, I don’t see the system flourishing because the system is hard to mobilize. Regions like NA or EU aren’t as competitive as in Korea, and professional gaming is a hard job, so if it becomes really active it’ll be good in the long run. But I don’t think it will.

AK: What do you think of Echo Fox signing a bunch of famous streamers to be a Challenger team?

NDH: The players aren’t bad, so I think it’ll be good for the team. I don’t know how they divided the roles, but QTpie is a very good player in the AD Carry role in solo queue, and if the team has invested in that much, I think it reflects the willingness to make it work. I think it’s a good initiative.

AK: After placing third in the spring split, I’m sure the team is entering the new split differently, as a lot of teams think that summer is the most important. Are there any new practice processes or mindsets?

NDH: I don’t have any uniquely different practice processes. I work hard like I always do, but I want to try to carry the team a bit more actively. Carrying the game isn’t just about game play but also in communication, so I want to be more active in that way since the summer is very important, and I feel like I need to be more forward in that regard.

Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/illustration by Slingshot

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