On the 27th (KST), Riot Korea unveiled ‘LoL THE NEXT’, a seven-episode series where 40 players over Diamond 1 on the solo queue ladder have been chosen through open applications and will be undergoing a series of challenges, with four former pro gamers, MaRin, PraY, Wolf, and PawN, acting as mentors. With a 50,000,000 KRW (roughly 42,000 USD) prize pool for the final five winners, the first episode will be unveiled on Aug. 2nd, at 3:30 PM (KST), with each episode airing every Sunday.
After the Q&A session held at the Riot Korea Auditorium in Seoul, Korea, Inven was able to conduct a short interview with two of the mentors, Wolf and MaRin. Not only did they introduce their own teams/trash talk other teams, they shared what they thought the program’s main point of entertainment was.
It’s been way too long. How’ve you been?
Wolf: I’ve been very busy after my retirement. I think I had three days in total over the past three months. Life is hard.
MaRin: I’ve had much time off after my retirement, so coming out of retirement to greet my fans in this manner makes me very happy, but at the same time, nervous as well.
‘MaRin-PraY’ and ‘Wolf-PawN’ will be in charge of two teams, so can you tell us about your team’s strengths?
MaRin: Our team’s goal is to be on par with the ‘Wolf-PawN’ team. I don’t want a one-sided victory from either team. Whichever team wins, I personally want to see entertaining matches. And at the same time, my goal is for the good players to do well. I don’t think that we have a clear strength, but our team is very versatile and continues to change.
Wolf: We also do not have clear strengths at the moment, so I’m thinking about the direction of how I should nurture my team. There’s some time before the grand finals, so we’ll see.
Now that you’re competitors, what do you think the weaknesses of the ‘MaRin-Pray’ team are?
Wolf: The two mentors are definitely old. PawN and I are a bit younger, and I think we’re more open-minded.
On the flip side, what are some weaknesses of the ‘Wolf-PawN’ team?
MaRin: To counter his argument, it’s not like we can’t get along with young players, just because we’re older. PraY’s a very funny guy, so he got along with our players very well. While Wolf and PawN might be great mentors that don’t have any clear flaws, I still think we’ll be better when it comes to the game.
You stated that you put aside ‘MaRin’s belt’ in your mentorship. However, don’t you think it’s sometimes needed to reach great heights?
MaRin: I think that my personality has gotten rather soft during my break, so rather than being stern, I want to be that friendly brother-like figure that the participants can easily identify with. I hope that PraY will be the one to pick up that ‘stern’ character.
Wolf, I know you dreamt of various ways for young talent to flourish. How does it feel to have your dream come true?
Wolf: In the process of planning various competitions, I kept thinking to myself, ‘I hope Riot plans a certain kind of competition for us’. Back in my days, the concept of being a trainee didn’t really exist, so you just got picked by a team if you were good in the solo queue ladder. The process of becoming a pro gamer has become immensely more complicated, since you could potentially start off as a trainee in an academy team and have a long journey ahead of you to start for the starting roster. That’s why I kept hoping that Riot will be able to shed spotlight on fresh talent, and I’m glad Riot created a way to do so.
Lastly, can you bring the hype about the show to the viewers?
MaRin: Just like any other reality competition shows, viewers at home identify with the participants’ various personalities. If the viewers are able to pay attention to such details in LoL THE NEXT, it’ll be very entertaining.
Wolf: There’s a lot that hasn't been revealed even to the mentors, so there will be many unexpected factors that will surprise not just the viewers, but for us as well. Such entertainment comes from live shows, so please be on the lookout for them.
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