Jeon “Ray” Ji-won represented Cloud9 as its top laner for most of the Rift Rivals event. Despite falling out of the tournament with the worst record for a North American team, Cloud9 still had three impressive wins, and Ray showed off his own flavor of picks. Following Cloud9’s Day 2 games against G2 Esports and Unicorns of Love, Ray spoke to Slingshot’s Kelsey Moser (through an interpreter and Cloud9’s manager, Lee “Robin”Seung-hwan) about his top lane picks, his development on Cloud9, and his self-depreciating posts on social media.
Kelsey Moser: First game, you played Riven into Gnar. What about that matchup was appealing to you?
Jeon “Ray” Ji-won: Ever since Season 4-ish when Gnar came out, I’ve been playing this matchup a lot. Back then, I played the game really well, especially on Riven. I really like this matchup because, although early on, it can be hard for Riven, as Riven gets items, Gnar can no longer push Riven out.
KM: You also played Kled. It’s not a champion that EU teams are used to. What do you think it is about Riven that you find appealing, but EU teams aren’t favoring?
JJW: Kled is a pretty easy champion to play, particularly because his ulty is a point and click ulty that acts as a Sivir ulty and just forces engages on opponents and makes (it) really easy for your team to fight in a good formation. Not only that, but in a meta where tanks thrive, Kled is really tanky and has an aggro reset, which helps him a lot. It also functions as a bruiser doing quite a bit of damage, so that’s why in this meta, Kled can be a pretty good pick. As far as I know, Kled isn’t really picked in Europe, but it’s picked in all other regions. I think EU teams are pretty good at team fighting, so if they pick up Kled, they should be pretty good at too.
KM: I used to watch you when you played in LSPL, and over the course of your time in NA, I think maybe the biggest development for you has been slotting into C9’s team play. Could you describe maybe some differences in the environment on LSPL and the way it is now for you on Cloud9?
JJW: Back in the LSPL, it had a really strong resemblance to solo queue because the Koreans used to communicate and play with the Koreans, and the Chinese used to just communicate and play their own game. Back then, because of that play style that we had in the LSPL, I never really played tanks. I always just played stuff that I could carry really hard on. However, because it was like solo queue, the limit to which I could affect the game was really clear, and I could not surpass that. Another big part of being in the LSPL was that since you’re in the second tier team, you don’t get as much support as the first tier team. So I didn’t really receive that much support from EDG at the time.
Coming into Cloud9, I received a lot more support, even though I am sharing the role with Impact because I am on the actual LCS team. It’s a lot less like solo queue. We communicate with each other. My team play has improved dramatically because of that.
KM: I saw on Twitter shortly before this interview that you feel you are still really bad. Could you maybe a elaborate on or clarify this comment?
JJW: To explain, I’ve been away from Korea for a very long time. I’ve never played in the LCK either. A lot of pretty bad personal things happened to me recently. I think that, on top of being away from home and homesickness, it just kind of collapsed on me a little bit, and I was suffering a bit from depression, although I am currently recovering. Because of that, I just had a pretty bad attitude going into the games. It kind of felt like, instead of me carrying on the team, I was kind of being dragged along with the team, and that was really stressful to me.
KM: In that case, do you think that this tournament is going to be helpful to you and Cloud9, and is it added stress?
JJW: I don’t think this tournament is a source of stress. Rather, this is the first international tournament in which I’ve participated. So I’m getting a lot of experience from it, and this iteration of Cloud9 as a whole — we should also be getting a lot of experience from this tournament since it’s so rare that you get to play international tournaments as a new player anyway. So yeah, I think we just use this as a stepping stone to develop further as a team as a whole.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/illustration by Raphie Rosen