On Jan. 24th, day 10 of the 2021 LCK Spring split took place, with kt Rolster and T1 facing off in the first match of the day. In Korean esports history, whenever these two organizations faced off, the match was dubbed ‘The Telecom Wars’ [KT and SKT (T1) are the two biggest telecom companies in Korea]. KT never managed to beat T1 once in 2020, but the loss streak ended tonight, as KT took a 2-1 victory against their telecom rivals.
Tonight’s victory over T1 held a lot of meaning for the support player for KT, Jang “Zzus” Joon-soo. Although he’s a player that spent years in the LCK as a substitute player, Challengers Korea, and even some time in Turkey, this is his first season as a starting member on an LCK roster.
I (the writer of this interview) share an interesting relationship with Zzus. We were once on the same team in Challengers Korea, where I looked over him as the head coach. As much anticipation and pride filled me up during the interview, Zzus shared his thoughts about the match, his thoughts on ‘Moonstaff’ and utility supports, and his goals for 2021.
First, how does it feel to take the victory tonight against T1?
Despite our recent match against HLE being very winnable, HyBriD and I didn’t perform as well as we should’ve. After that match, Lee “HyBriD” Woo-jin and I had many conversations on how we can improve during the laning phase, and as a team, we talked about different team compositions in preparation for tonight’s match. Our victory against T1 tonight looks to be as if we overcame a huge obstacle, and gave us a huge confidence boost.
While you’ve been in the Korean LoL scene for a long time, this season is your actual first season in the LCK. A lot must be on your mind.
That’s right. I’ve been a part of Challengers Korea recently, and even went to play in Turkey for a bit. I'm coming into this year as if it's my last chance to do well in the LCK, and I’m grateful for my coaching staff for the opportunity. I’m working my hardest this year, and am always thinking about how to overcome the obstacle that’s in front of me.
How did you react when T1 picked Vayne twice this series?
The Samira vs Vayne matchup is quite common in solo queue, and people have been saying that Vayne does pretty well into Samira, so I kinda expected it. However, we didn’t have too many opportunities to play against Vayne during practice, so we were left confused, and played way too passively in game 1. We could’ve been more proactive, but the fact that we didn’t and made wrong decisions was one of the biggest reasons why we lost game 1.
What kind of feedback did the tema receive from the coaching staff, and how do you think the team was able to bounce back?
We immediately watched the replay. Our coaching staff, alongside other substitute members of the team, agreed that we played way too passively, so they all told us to be more confident, take the fights we need, and be more proactive with the plays we make in game 2 and 3.
How did the team react when HyBriD got caught out in game 3? Was the team in emergency mode after it happened?
Son “Ucal” Woo-hyeon’s Twisted Fate was pushing out side lanes, so if we were a bit more patient, we could’ve gotten a lot more advantages with TF. However, HyBriD got caught out, and the game became much harder than it should’ve been. However, it also gave us a chance to recollect ourselves and refocus on the game.
With engage-heavy supports dominating the current meta in the LCK, I’m curious to know how you view the current support meta.
Personally, while I think that tank-engage support champions are very good at the moment, I expect more utility support champions to be picked in the next patch.
Speaking of utility supports, the debate over how viable the “Moonstaff (Moonstone Renewer + Staff of Flowing Water)” is currently talked about a lot in the Western community (the debate that’s led by your former coach, Nicholas “LS” De Cesare). Can you share what you think about these items? Do you feel that these items are what’ll make utility supports strong next patch, and is it the second coming of the Ardent Censer meta?
Utility items and champions are receiving buffs. I'm unsure if it’s the second coming of the Ardent Censer meta, but I feel that Riot's heading towards the right direction, at the very least, for utility supports. If the meta shifts because of it, bot lane’s laning phase will not only become much more fierce, I predict more skirmishes to also occur on the bot side of the map.
There has been nothing but praise for your performance in the LCK. Overall, how would you rate your gameplay tonight against T1?
In terms of my own performance, I’d give myself a 5/10. It wasn’t great. I didn’t space properly when engaging and made a lot of wrong in-game decisions in game 1. While I felt like I did okay in game 2, Ucal’s engages on Yone made things easy for me to follow up. Although we did win game 3, I feel like there’s a lot of room for improvement.
What kind of a player do you hope to develop into in 2021? Please share some of your personal goals this year.
Leading my team to victory is a given, but for myself, this is the beginning of something that I dreamed of, so I want to properly build my career from the ground up. Making it to Worlds is our team’s goal for this year, and my team's goals align with my personal ones.
Next match is against DRX. As you’ll be facing a team that’s performing much better than people initially anticipated, what do you believe is the key point of the match?
For now, our goal is to perfect our own gameplay, rather than trying to strategize against our opponents. While there isn’t anything to be overlooked, I feel that HyBriD and I will need to do especially well in lane, and force DRX to play at our pace.
Lastly, is there anything you’d like to say?
It was a hard fought win, but a very meaningful one. I’m very grateful for our fans’ support, and please continue to cheer on KT.
Striving for perfection to achieve excellence in esports