DAMWON Gaming is the only team that didn’t have any changes in their starting roster prior to the 2020 League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) Spring Split. After the first round, they’re at 4-5 (-2) and are placed at 5th in the standings. It’s definitely not that bad, but compared to the impact they had last year, it isn’t as much as expected.
However, Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon’s passion and spirit were just as before. Being more aggressive and explosive than anyone else, Nuguri’s goal is to become the best top laner in the world. As an LCK sophomore, he has become more mature and humble while still leading DAMWON’s victories.
The 2020 LCK Spring Split is about to resume; let’s have a look at what Nuguri had to say.
How have you been after finishing Round 1?
I had a short break for about 3-4 days and afterward, I was practicing much in scrims and solo queue. I’ve been streaming from time to time as well.
DAMWON Gaming finished Round 1 in 5th place. It wouldn’t be as good as you expected.
I had two completely opposite thoughts at the same time. They were ‘why are we only 5th?’ and ‘how in the world did we make it to 5th?’ While we were playing Round 1, it felt that it’s a massacre that we weren’t high enough, but looking back at how we performed in Round 1, it’s a wonder that we’re at 5th place. We haven’t been performing that well lately.
What was the reason that DAMWON didn’t do as well even though there were no changes in the starting roster?
I’d like to say that it was the new meta, Herald and dragon patch, changes in the runes, but whatever I say would be just giving excuses. The biggest reason is that our form as a whole declined. Also, the top teams seem to have found their own style and way to win, but we still don’t have that which is quite regretful.
In the current LCK meta, which half do you think is more important, top or bottom? Also, do you think DAMWON goes well with the current meta?
I think the current meta is really well-balanced between top and bottom half. If you snowball by picking strong champions in top-jungle-mid and getting the Herald, it’s the top half, but to do so, the support has to roam well. And in the late game, it all ends up with how well the ADC carries. To do that, the top half should go at least half-half or just survive everything. In that regard, the current meta should be good for our team; I don’t see why it would be any bad.
You have a big role in DAMWON’s winning and losing. Do you feel pressured?
Since DAMWON often plays towards the top, I do feel pressure. Looking more closely, it’s true that there are many games that I underperformed, games that we lost because of me. But I feel good because I did my role partially well to end Round 1 in 5th place.
You lost to all four teams that are above you, Gen.G, T1, DragonX, and Afreeca. How do you think it’ll go in Round 2?
As I said earlier, we need to find our style and decided which direction to go. We shouldn’t lose helplessly. Even if we do lose, we need to lose by playing our game properly. The problem is that I can’t feel what’s really right during practice. I’m a bit worried. Also, kt Rolster has found their style and they’re doing well through it. I think we should watch out for them in Round 2.
How is practicing with DAMWON’s newest addition, Ghost?
With Ghost joining, there are four players in bot lane that we can mix and match. I’m not sure since we haven’t played together that often yet, but it seems that Ghost has a firm stance on what he thinks and has a similar playstyle with BeryL. Canyon and I enjoy fighting often and playing the game quickly. When I talk to the bot lane, I learn that there are many more ways that you can play the game.
You seldom blame your teammates when you play solo queue and often reflect on yourself. Are you always like that?
It’s also partially because I’m streaming (Laughs). I’m only human, so I do blame others. But I try to focus on my own mistakes since I make them often and they’re very noticeable. Surely, from time to time, I don’t like how other laners play, but that doesn’t mean that I’m right and that person’s wrong. It’s just a difference in style and thoughts, so I don’t like to boss around hitting pings and blaming other people.
Round 1 was without spectators and Round 2 will be played online. Don’t you miss the fans?
I do miss them, but in a way, it’s fortunate. Since my performance wasn’t good over the whole first round, I wouldn’t have been able to be in a good mood even when I was with the fans. I hope I can see them later on in fan meets with a smiling face after getting back on track and winning.
You recently played against TF Blade. How was it?
TF Blade usually plays towards the late game. He often plays a champion that’s weak in the laning phase with Tiamat and Transcendence and carries in the late game. Since Korea’s top laners mostly play the laning phase very aggressively, his tactics may not have been very effective.
The LPL started again. Do you watch their games?
Recently, I’ve only been watching Invictus Gaming’s matches. I wanted to watch Bin of Suning Gaming, who is also known as “love camille”, or FunPlus Phoenix’s Khan, but they both haven’t been playing recently. Crazy is also doing quite well lately, so I’m thinking of watching Rogue Warriors’ games as well.
What do you think about the rookies, Canna and Doran?
When I meet Canna in solo queue, he plays cleverly, calculating the distance well with Lucian or Jayce. He usually plays Renekton, Sett, or Ornn in T1 but if the meta changes so that he can play other champions, he’ll become more threatening. Doran is the same. He has good mechanics and will become stronger as he adapts to the team style.
You had said that your goal as a pro gamer is to become the best top laner when adding up all the abilities together. How far do you think you are right now?
Right now, I’m nowhere close (Laughs). I may be better in some aspects and my presence may be noticeable, but considering all the abilities to play LoL well, I’m completely off the mark. There still are many top laners that are better than I am.
What would you like to say to the LoL fans that enjoy playing top lane?
Khan had said that top lane is all about win rate. I’d like to say the same. I wish all top lane players keep in mind how to have more influence in the game. If you don’t think about the KDA and make impactful plays by being in the right place at the right time, wins would naturally follow.
Any last comments regarding the second round?
Honestly, I’m quite worried. I’m not sure if we’ll be able to show our original explosive and fun performances again. But still, we’re doing our best to build synergy with Ghost and the coaching staff is doing their best as well, so we’ll be back with better performances in Round 2. Everyone, take care of yourselves!
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