On day 3 of the group stages in the 2020 LoL World Championship, DAMWON Gaming defeated PSG Talon and continued on their undefeated streak with a 3-0 record. While PSG had an early lead against the tournament favorites, Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon proved to be the key player in the game to lead his team to victory. Despite Nuguri getting behind in the early game, he was not only able to solo kill his lane opponent behind the enemy’s tier 1 turret, but he also proved to be the key member in DWG’s teamfights.
Nuguri joined Inven Global to talk about the victory, the current top lane meta, and his research process behind bringing in new things in the meta.
DWG is continuing its undefeated run with a 3-0 record. How do you feel about the victory against PSG tonight?
I’m very happy that we still remain undefeated. In this game, I feel that there were a couple of early game mistakes, so we need to work on fixing those.
Before we dive deeper into this interview, how are you doing? My boss is a huge fan of yours, and she was very worried about your health.
During the surgery, I was quite worried as well. However, since some time has now passed since the surgery, I'm feeling well. I’m only staying inside and playing the game, so I’m not quite sure how much I've recovered, but I’m unaffected by health issues when I’m playing. It seems that it was a simple surgery, so I can say that I’m fully recovered.
Let’s talk about your Kennen pick for the match. Is it a pick specifically to counter top Lulu? Can you tell us about the team’s draft overall?
Kennen has always been a safe pick in general, and I picked it to balance out the AD/AP ratio throughout the team composition. Additionally, PSG could’ve flexed Lulu into another role, so we took that into consideration.
Kennen is a champion that’s only used in the LCK. Why do you think that is?
Hmm… I’m not entirely sure. Kennen’s a safe pick, but it’s a champion that doesn’t bring too much impact. Maybe that’s why teams in other regions have a different opinion about Kennen. LCK teams like to play safer picks with lane priority, so I think that’s why LCK is the only region that plays Kennen.
Since the play-in stages, tank champions have been predominant, yet mage champions like Kennen and Lulu are also being picked as well. In your opinion, what kind of characteristics do top lane champions need to have to be ‘OP’ in the current meta?
Oh, I think tank champions that scale well into the late game are good as well. The reason why Kennen and Lulu appeared tonight was because tank champions were banned out.
Talking more about tonight’s match, despite the enemy focusing a lot on the top lane early on, you were able to solo kill your lane opponent. Can you tell us how that scenario panned out?
The enemy was focusing more on the bottom half of the map, while Canyon was taking Rift Herald. I was just going to chunk Lulu’s HP bar a little bit, but the trade became extended. In the trade, I actually tanked a turret shot, so I thought “Damn, I might actually lose this 1 vs 1”. I think I got lucky with the solo kill.
When did you know for sure that this game was in the bag for DWG?
We were behind in the early game, but when I took down the top tier one turret, I knew that we had an advantage, and knew for sure when we won that teamfight near the dragon pit, where I circled around the enemy’s blue buff to flank from the back.
You were quite infamous for your usage of Kleptomancy in 2019, and this year, you seemingly brought top Lulu into the meta. What are some of the things that you consider to be important when you’re researching and executing them in matches? Do you have your own personal method of research?
For top Lulu, it was being played in KR solo queue by many Lulu one-tricks. I saw it, and felt that it was really good. Even among the Korean pros, top Lulu was a hot topic. Although I was the first one to play it on stage, many teams were practicing her in scrims. In terms of the research process, I watched the top lane Lulu one-trick streamer a lot, and even watched replays to study tips on the champion, runes, matchups, etc.
How many percent of "Scrim DWG" was shown on stage tonight against PSG?
[laughs] Since we had matches for three days in a row, it’s been a while since we scrimmed, so I can’t exactly remember… I’d say we were at about 70-80%.
In your last interview, you stated that the 2020 DWG’s biggest strength is that the team is now able to play around all lanes. Who do you think carried tonight’s game?
(Smiling) I think I was the team’s biggest source of strength, so I’m quite satisfied with my performance tonight. From what I heard, the enemy stole ShowMaker’s first blue buff, but despite that, he played out his laning phase very well. Also, our bot lane got a lane kill as well, so I’d say it was a collective effort.
Is there any team that took you by surprise with their performances so far?
Actually, the team that I’m most keen to watch is TES, but they’re playing in the last game of the day. I’ll know for sure when I watched their game. So far, I think that G2 Esports are playing very well. They have their own color as a team.
Although there’s still a long way to go to lift the championship trophy, is there a champion that you’d like a skin for if you win it all?
I’ll reveal the champion I want after I win.
Lastly, a word to your fans.
I’m very happy that we remain undefeated with a 3-0 record, and there’s a couple of days off before we play our next match, so I’ll continue to maintain my form until then.
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