Ryu: “When I was in Europe last year, I felt their macro was (better). But it’s worse now.”

Phoenix1 narrowly failed to qualify for the Rift Rivals final. At the close of group stage, mid laner Yoo “Ryu” Sang-wook talked to Slingshot’s Kelsey Moser (through an interpreter) about Phoenix1 finding a groove and a few differences between his time on H2K and his new NA team.

Kelsey Moser: I think you have something of a reputation as a player with really high highs and low lows. Just recently, your team has been finding a groove and getting back into form. How much do you think the state of your team and performance of your teammates affects your own state?

Yoo “Ryu” Sang-wook: I think in the beginning it was very difficult for me because I’ve played for so long. It’s really hard for me to get back into it when I’m on my low and when I’ve lost motivation, but as we slowly fixed our team troubles, I think I’m getting a lot better now.

KM: It seems that mid-jungle has been really important at this tournament. Was it easy for you to find synergy with Mike, or how does that dynamic work?

YSW: Since we very recently got matched up, it’s not at its best right now, but I think through Rift Rivals, he’s really shown up. I think we’re going to get even better in terms of synergy.

KM: How would you compare the way you’re working with Mike to how you worked with Jankos (Marcin Jankowski) last year?

YSW: There’s not too much of a difference. They’re both very good players. I guess Jankos — his personality is very tryhard. Mike is tryhard too, but he gives me a sense of comfort.

KM: What do you feel like may be a big thing that’s holding some of the EU teams back at this tournament?

YSW: I think their biggest problem is that we have different metas. I think NA’s meta is currently better. I don’t know why in particular, but they seem like they aren’t performing at their best in terms of macro. When I was in Europe last year, I felt their macro was really good (In English, Ryu corrects the translator: ‘Not really good, but…’) Err, not really good, but better. Better last year. (In English: “But it’s worse now.”)

KM: Asking a little bit more about picks, you’ve been really gravitating toward Corki. What do you think Corki provides to your team?

YSW: Truth be told, Corki doesn’t really have a strong laning phase, so I don’t really like picking Corki. But all my teammates want me to play Corki. They really like Corki. So I end up just playing it. Corki laning phase is kind of bad, but if he gets even a little bit strong, his damage becomes really good.

KM: On the first day, I remember you built Rod of Ages on Galio. Could you talk about that decision a little?

YSW: Because Corki doesn’t have a strong laning phase, also a in solo queue, I faced a Galio who went RoA (In English: “In Europe.”) After I faced it, I thought it was kind of strong. I was thinking if maybe I tried MR first and then RoA, it might be OK, so I just tried it on stage.

KM: I remember last time I interviewed you, I asked you about the dynamic between you and pr0lly (Neil Hammad) on H2K. Could you talk about some of the differences between working with pr0lly and working with Fly?

YSW: (In English: “I like both.”) I like both of them, but because Fly’s Korean, I do feel more comfortable with him because I can talk in Korean. But I do like both of them.

KM: Could you mention one difference in how they coach?

YSW: This might sound weird, but pr0lly is very — he tries to coach in a more Korean style. And our coach actually kind of just coaches like naturally — organically.

KM: Do you mean pr0lly is more authoritative?

YSW: Yeah, he is much more authoritative.

Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/illustration by Raphie Rosen

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