Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon, the top laner that rose to the top in 2020, left for the LPL to take on a new challenge in the LPL for the 2021 season. The team that he was headed was FunPlus Phoenix (FPX), the team that lifted the Summoner’s Cup in 2019. The union between the 2019 and the 2020 world champions was something that intrigued many LoL Esports fans around the world.
Inven had a chance to conduct a quick online interview with Nuguri, right before he flew out to China. He shared with us the reason why he decided to join FPX, and some of the things that he’s looking forward to in his first season of the LPL; competing against the numerous world-class top laners that are playing in the LPL.
How’ve you been spending your time before your departure to China?
While I have been practicing here and there, I’ve spent a lot of time relaxing and recharging.
Although you’ve probably received various offers from different organizations, why did you decide to go to the LPL, and in particular, FPX?
Hmm… Out of all the foreign teams that reached out to me with an offer, they seemed the most genuine. We were on the same page when it came to various topic, and based on their player roster, the organization’s legacy, and its fandom, I felt that they had the most to offer.
Have you considered going overseas in the past?
I felt like I would be playing overseas at least once in my career, and that time came quicker than I thought.
I think some of the initial obstacles you’ll face will be with getting used to the foreign environment and with communication.
Yes, those are the two things I’m worried about the most. I’ll have to quickly adjust to the new environment. (I think having a Korean teammate, Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang, on the team will help tremendously.) Yes, I think I’ll receive a lot of help from him.
What are you most excited about in joining FPX?
There are a lot of great players in China, and the thought of competing against them excites me the most. I’m also curious to see how well I’d perform in a new environment.
As you said, the LPL top laners look very strong. What do you think about the competition that awaits you?
I’m already nervous, and hope to play well. I also hope that by competing against them, I’ll be able to grow as a player.
We do have to talk about this year. Do you believe that 2020 was the “Year of Nuguri?”
I feel that I was very lucky this year, especially in receiving tremendous opportunities.
Many say that your abilities as a player have immensely improved. What’s the secret behind your improvement?
To be honest, I was just doing my job in my place. My talented teammates were doing a lot of the heavy lifting, so I was just doing my job in comfort.
When we asked if you believed you were the best top laner in the world, you’ve always dodged the question. Isn’t now the most appropriate time to admit that you’re the best?
Well… There are still a lot of top laners that are very good, so… Hehe.
Is there a team in the LPL that you’re most excited to face?
There are a lot, but among them, I feel that the top laner from Suning, Bin, is really good, so I can’t wait to face him. There are a lot of emotions that I felt while facing them at Worlds.
What kind of synergy can the fans expect from you and the pre-existing players on FPX?
I want to quickly adapt into the team well in order to quickly synergize the strong points that I bring with the team. I’ll make sure to perform well with FPX.
What is your goal for the 2021 season?
For now, I want to make it to Worlds with FPX.
Lastly, can you say a few words to the fans that’ll cheer you on at FPX?
I was only able to make it this far because of the incredible support that I received from the fans. I’ll make sure to grow even more as a player through competing against the various LPL teams and their top laners. Thank you!
Striving for perfection to achieve excellence in esports