If we were to pick likely candidates for the 'Rookie of the Year', we wouldn't hesitate to pick Jinsung "Teddy" Park, the AD Carry for Jin Air Green Wings. After his successful debut in the 2016 KeSPA Cup, Teddy did not disappoint in the 2017 LCK Spring Split. Despite being in his first regular season of the LCK, Teddy was the one who was carrying the team.
Despite Teddy's efforts however, JAG's record isn't that great. 1 win, and 7 losses. While their in-game performance shows great improvement compared to last year, they just can't seem to win in the end. A sad plane indeed.
At this rate, we might see them in the relegation tournament. While a lot of their matches have been very fun to watch, they need to walk away from their said matches with a win. To be honest, we were worried about how Teddy might feel; pressured to be the pilot of a stalling plane despite being a rookie, we thought it might show during his interview. However, when we met him in person, he was neither a shy rookie nor a pressured pilot. Looking back to how natural he seemed during this interview, it was no surprise that he was just as cool, calm and collected during his debut match.
Without further ado, let's hear from Teddy about his debut, LCK, and personal goals.
Hello, Teddy! I assume that you've been having fun during the break?
Of course. I've been goofing off with Jihwan "Raise" Oh. We got drunk, went to karaoke, and shouted our lungs out. Goofing off like that takes a lot of effort, actually. Other teammates also looked tired when they returned to the team house. Or was it just a look of dread from having to return to work? (Laughs)
That must've been fun. Is this your first time doing an interview like this aside from post-match interviews? Did the head coach give you any advice?
Yep, it's my first time! The head coach just told me to have fun while being careful not to have a slip of the tongue.
Then let's start talking about 'you'. You had been playing with Ever8 Winners in Challengers League before. How did you join JAG?
Well, I was looking for a new team after leaving Winners, and it turns out that JAG was looking for players. So I took the screening test, and I suppose I did well because I was immediately picked as a candidate.
Well, you must have done well, because you made your debut in the KeSPA Cup in less than a year after joining JAG. Did you have any difficulty adjusting to the team?
I guess they made the call because I did well during scrims. All of my teammates were very good to me, so it wasn't very hard to get adjusted to them even though they were all older than me.
Your debut match was against Longzhu Gaming. What were your thoughts before the match? You must have been nervous.
I really wanted to win, and so did all the coaching staff members. They mentioned how they’ve always faced LZ in the first match of any tournament... I think I tried harder because they set up a concrete goal for me. So, my desire to win was greater than my nervousness.
That must have been why you played very well that day. You didn't play like a rookie at all, but did everything that you should’ve, and probably more. You must have had some praise from among your team as well.
The coaching staff, the head coach, and my teammates all said that I've done well. It felt really great.
There was a big change in JAG's roster in between the Kespa Cup and the 2017 Spring Split. Were you shaken by how much the team had changed in between that time? You’ve already become 3rd when it comes to players who’ve been with the team for the longest time.
Not really. It was just... ("Were you cool about it?") Yeah, something like that. However, it was still a shame to see the teammates that I'd spent a few months with go elsewhere.
Although I'm now the player who's been on the team the third-longest, SnowFlower acts like the eldest brother on the team. Iksoo "ikssu" Jeon and Junyeong "SoHwan" come after him. ("What about Sunghyuk 'Kuzan' Lee? Isn't he the one who was with JAG longest?") He doesn't like to boss anyone around. He is quiet and kind, and a good person overall.
Both Ikssu and SnowFlower were famous for being loud and bright when they were in AFs. They must be doing a lot for the team mood.
They are too lively. (Laughs) We are all like that. Kuzan is pretty calm compared to the rest of us.
Well, we could tell from "Off the Record". I'm sure you can be even louder during scrims. Is there anything that you want to share from your scrims?
We are all too loud during scrims. So we sometimes get calls from security officers that tell us to quiet down. ("From security officers? Were you streaming on Twitch?") No, we are all very loud when we do scrims. We tend to be very loud even when we should be serious, and we are even louder when we are having fun. That's why we've had several phone calls.
How's playing with SnowFlower, and how is it different compared to playing with Sunho "Chei" Choi?
Back then, I tended to get caught too easily during scrims, so I got a lot of feedback about that. However, it isn't like that anymore now that I'm playing with SnowFlower. He is very good at vision control and map awareness, and he tends to make plays after taking control of vision. I think that might be why, and I think it shows in official matches too.
Hold on, I don't think you have too many deaths in official matches. Why would you be worried about being caught?
Well, that's just the recent matches. I got caught in the most unfortunate moments during the match against LZ and KT, and I still do that in scrims. I have to fix it.
I guess it's because in-meta ADCs are all lacking in mobility. If the metagame shifts so that ADCs with high mobility are favored, would it be better for ADC players?
I actually prefer champions with high mobility. Like Lucian and Ezreal. Although Ezreal is sometimes seen in matches, I don't think my head coach trusts me enough to let me play with him. (Laughs) He does tell me that I'm good with Ezreal...When we do scrims, I sometimes ask if I could pick Ezreal against a strong botlane duo such as Ashe-Zyra. Yes, I know it's a stupid call. (Laughs) And I've lost a lot too. Even in official matches, I've tried Ezreal against SSG because I did well with Ezreal the day before the match. We lost the match though.
Lucian is much better to play with when you are not facing a ranged support. However, most of the in-meta supports are ranged, so it’s hard to pick him. He is too weak against supports like Zyra.
Well, the team mood seems to be great, but I guess the team record could be a lot better. However, you are still being praised for being a good player. Doesn't that put you in a weird spot where you're happy about the praise but unhappy about the results? Do you feel that you need to carry the team?
While I'm glad when I get praised, I don't like it when it comes at the cost of my teammates being criticized. We all have to do better. I don't really feel any pressure from the praise other than maybe wanting to practice more.
Why do you think you've been losing a lot this season? You've fought well in games, and it wasn’t just stalling like the last season, but you still couldn’t finish the match with a win.
I think it's because our shotcalling was too divided. Too many people want to call the shots. We are pretty good at teamfights, but the reason why we lose is because we are terrible at macromanagement. It's often too late by the time we reach an agreement. Not to mention how confusing it is before we agree on something...
Changing one's habit is hard, so I assume it would be hard to fix it even after getting feedback.
To make matters worse, this wasn't a problem during scrims. It happens much more often in official matches. We are trying hard to fix it, but it's not easy to do so.
Then let's talk about the match that you won. It was against AFs, right? The first game lasted for more than 63 minutes, and you picked Varus in that game. It was quite an issue because you sold your boots to build more offensive items. Why did you sell your boots?
I thought I needed to increase my attack power as much as possible to clear lanes faster. I often sell my boots in the late game with Varus to increase my firepower and hit them hard enough to make the enemies scuttle away. It does make me more prone to being more off-positioned, but it also allows me to scare enemies off. My teammates agree with me too.
You finally faced your role model, Hyukkyu "Deft" Kim, in the match against KT Rolster. How was it?
I liked the fact that I was going up against strong players. I could have done better in game though. I got picked off by KT's Orianna and Jayce...right before the third Infernal Drake. I really shouldn't have died there. I still have regrets.
In terms of the laning phase...it was okay. It was better than I thought. ("Do you mean 'It was easier than I thought?'") No, not like that. They are good. We made them even better by donating some kills. (Laughs) Anyway, they are really good.
Then, is your role model still Deft? There are other good players too, like SKT's Junsik "Bang" Bae and LZ's Jongin "PraY" Kim...
I guess so. The players that you've mentioned are all great players, but my heart goes to Deft. ("Do you still watch Deft's games? I'm sure you've mentioned this before...") I used to do that, but I can't do that anymore because I'm busy enough with just watching tournaments.
Your next match will be against the ROX Tigers, and their ADC is an ex-partner of SnowFlower, Sangyoon "Sangyoon" Kwon. Have you talked about the ROX match-up with SnowFlower? Do you think you can beat them in the laning phase?
We talked about Youngmin "Mickey" Son's Zed and how scary that would be. I really don't want to face Zed as an ADC. As for the laning phase...I'm not too sure. We might win the match, but I don't think there'll be anything spectacular happening in the bottom lane. Of course, we might win the laning phase if we do well.
Then, do you think you’ll better in the remaining matches?
SnowFlower mentioned how it feels like when he was with Afreeca Freecs - it was when he lost quite a bit in the first half but turned it around in the second half with a win streak. He cheers us up saying that we'll be back in contention at the second half. Both SnowFlower and Ikssu do a lot to cheer us up.
What are your personal goals? You know, not just how well you want to do in the Split, but something that you want to be.
Well...I want to be the very best. ("Best ADC KR?") Yeah, something like that. Isn't that what every ADC wants? Of course, I need to work hard for it.
Thank you for your time. Do you have anything else that you want to share with the readers?
I want to start going on a winning streak after defeating ROX and land on the playoffs. We still have a shot, right? (Laughs) I really want to go to playoffs. Also, we couldn't host a fan meeting for three matches in a row because we've been on a losing streak, so I'll do my best so that we can finally get a chance to meet our fans again!