On the 8th (KST), DAMWON Gaming took down APK Prince with a set score of 2-0 to take their first victory in the 2020 LCK Spring. Despite DAMWON being pushed back by APK, Jang “Nuguri'' Ha-gwon led his team into victory via backdooring the enemy Nexus. Riding the momentum, DAMWON taught the newcomers to the LCK a lesson by snowballing the game early.
Nuguri joined Inven Global for a 1 on 1 interview and talked about the victory, why he took attack speed in his runes as Ryze, and what he and the team needs to do in order to grasp success this year.
Congratulations on your first victory of the season. How do you feel?
I received Player of the Game for both games, so I’m pretty satisfied. Although I wasn’t satisfied with my in-game performance, on a personal level, I’m pretty satisfied.
You seemed very happy in your post-match interview.
It was a dream of mine to finish the game like that on Ryze, so I’m in a good mood.
Why is it a dream to end a game like that on Ryze?
When you can’t be stopped while pushing side lanes as Ryze, you feel like an unstoppable force. I feel that as a top Ryze player, it’s like a dream come true to backdoor the enemy Nexus.
I heard that you took attack speed instead of Adaptive Force in your runes. Other than being able to CS better, are there any other reasons why you took AS?
There’s literally no other reason than to CS better. I miss way too much CS on Ryze, and I hated missing CS, so since AS in my runes really didn’t make a difference, I took it. I never would’ve figured that it would snowball like that.
Do you think people will start copying you and take AS in their runes?
If you can CS well on Ryze, I think Adaptive Force is better, but if you feel like you’re missing CS for no reason, then I suggest taking AS.
Although you had a good showing at Worlds, DAMWON’s Worlds run was a bit disappointing. There must’ve been a lot that you learned from that experience.
The things that I learned from Worlds… There’s definitely lots of pressure from playing on such a big stage. I also learned that synergy between teammates is really important. Also, I learned that there’s a huge gap in how you perform in practice as to on stage, and it was disappointing that we couldn’t bridge the gap. That’s actually something I was reminded of tonight as well.
Can you explain a bit more about those two aspects? Let’s start with how there’s a gap in the level of performance between practice and on stage.
In practice, even if you lose, you just get feedback from it and there’s nothing to lose. However, on stage, you get nervous, and when you lose, you’re screwed, so our play becomes very passive. In practice, we’re more proactive with good reasoning behind it. I mean, there are lots of times where we’re proactive for no reason, but on stage, I feel that even when there’s good reasons to be proactive, we don’t take the initiative, so we need to find a good middle ground for it.
In terms of team synergy, there were times between us where one person went ‘I want to do this’, while another went ‘I want to do that’. Even now, there are times where there are differing opinions. Since teamplay is important, I think that we need to be on the same page in order to gain fluidity in moving as a unit.
Do you feel that you leveled up from the experience you gained through Worlds? How do you see the 2019 Nuguri as to the 2020 Nuguri?
I think I’m more or less the same, but I had a slight change in my thought process. Perhaps I don’t feel it because it’s happening to me at a pretty slow rate. I don’t think there’s a huge difference though.
Do you feel that you’ll be able to go to Worlds again this year?
Hmm… Right now, I can’t see ourselves going to Worlds. If we work hard, perform as well as we do in practice, and hone our teamplay, then it’s possible. We didn’t perform well in both of our matches, so although I’m not too sure at the moment, it’s definitely possible. We’ve done it once before, and we already know that we can be a great team during our preparation for Worlds. All my teammates know this as well, so we can do it.
Just as how you created a trend for taking Kleptomancy on a lot of your champions, is there anything else that you found to be niche?
In terms of runes, it’s been standardized in what you take for certain champions. Unsealed Spellbook and Omnistone is slowly being experimented. I’m trying out the inspiration tree a lot for my secondary tree. I think the CDR and the free boots in the inspiration tree are really good. I think the inspiration tree is really good for late game.
Which team are you wary about the most this season?
DRX and Afreeca Freecs. DRX is really hard to deal with. For some reason, I find them to be really hard to deal with. Perhaps it's because some of the Griffin players (Chovy and Doran) joined DRX, so they’re scary. With Afreeca, their top laner (Kiin) is really good, and at the moment, their teamplay is really on point.
Recently, there's been a lot of attention on top laners, and even Chovy played top in their latest match. What are your thoughts on Chovy playing top?
I watched him yesterday, and he was really good. Even when I watch him play top lane in solo queue, he’s really good. I think he’s just really good at League of Legends.
Lastly, would you like to say something to your fans?
I really hope that you’ll take care of yourselves. Because the matches are held without spectators, it’s really unfortunate that I don’t get to meet all the fans at LoL Park and through post-match fan meets. Thank you for all your support, please take care of yourselves, and we’ll prepare really hard for our next match as well.
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