Slingshot’s Andrew Kim caught up with Dignitas jungler Lee “Shrimp” Byeong-Hoon during the North American League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS). They talked about coming back to North America from Japan, getting off to a good start and why Shrimp feels more comfortable this time.
Andrew Kim: First I want to congratulate you on your successful return to North America after some time away. How does it feel to come back and play in the LCS again?
Lee “Shrimp” Byeong-hoon: It’s not a new feeling. I did miss it a lot, the LCS arena. When I saw it on the screen before, I noticed that it changed, so I wanted to see it since then. I had the confidence that if I were to return, I would do a much better job than last time.
AK: I don’t think a lot of fans know what you were up to after your departure from NA. Could you give a brief recounting?
LBH: During the spring split, I was part of a Japanese team. I was aiming for competing in this year’s MSI as a wild card team. Unfortunately, my team lost in the finals and couldn’t go, so I used my connections that I had and made my return.
AK: What’s interesting is that you were part of Apex before your departure, and the slot had since been purchased by the Philadelphia 76ers and rebranded to Dignitas. The connections you mentioned, were they formerly from Apex?
AK: How did you get in touch with the team?
LBH: With Skype. (laughs)
AK: So when did you come back to the US?
AK: That means you couldn’t have scrimmed that much with the team then (before the LCS started)…
LBH: I couldn’t play that many because of some problems regarding my visa, and they told me that I couldn’t join the first week. I recently went to Canada, and I only got to play about five or six scrim games (in advance of Week 2).
AK: For a player who only played five or six scrims, you were very much in sync with the rest of the team, especially with Ssumday (Kim Chan-ho). Is there some kind of secret to your success?
LBH: When I played with Ray (Jeon Ji-won) last year, and the top laners right now are both very aggressive laners. I’ve been focusing and planned early pathing to follow up with the top lane. I also like to go top as well.
AK: Is Lee Sin a pick you’re particularly confident in?
LBH: I think Lee Sin is the best pick, and the best pick for me. I’m also very confident in him. I do have more champions in my pocket, but I think Lee Sin is fun for both the viewers and for me as a player.
AK: From a viewer’s perspective it seems like you’ve improved since your time as a part of Apex. Do you also feel that way?
LBH: It’s a little pressuring if you think I indeed improve after only seeing one match, but I did lack confidence last year. I played my games kind of scared, and looking back it felt like I didn’t do as well because of that. I think it’s important that I gained confidence.
AK: Playing in Japan must have been good in a way that it’s close to home and easy to see your family. Coming to the U.S., I’m sure you know that it’s a much larger gap between you. Are you concerned at all about that?
LBH: I’ve gotten used to it after spending a lot of time in the U.S.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/Slingshot illustration