AF Cain: "I do watch Team Liquid’s games. I want to see if they’re doing well without me."


On July 3, in the 2021 League of Legends Champions Korea Summer Split, Afreeca Freecs defeated T1 2-1. Although they lost the first game, Afreeca Freecs adjusted quickly and won the following two games. After the match, Afreeca Freecs head coach Jang “Cain” Nu-ri joined Inven Global for a chat.



How do you feel about today’s win?


We were at a very important turning point today. After our loss against Gen.G, the team struggled a bit. The players’ mentalities were shaken, so we really needed to win today. As much as T1 is also a strong team, the players and coaching staff were all quite nervous. I’m proud of the players that they maintained their concentration to the end.


However, there are repetitive mistakes, and it isn’t getting fixed. I’m still trying to find a way to solve that problem.


Why was the team so shaken up after losing to Gen.G?


When we prepared to play against Gen.G, we played a strategy that we were very confident in — one that we had a very high win rate during scrims. We thought it was a must-win strategy and that was broken by Gen.G. We did make mistakes while we were ahead, but because of that, the players lost some confidence.


You’ve been in the NA for quite a long time, and returned to Korea. How did you come back?


At the end of my fourth year in the NA, I had health issues. During the season, I had to be medicated due to lumbar intervertebral disc issues. When I went to Worlds in China, it was even difficult to walk when I was on stage for the draft. I felt that my body wasn’t in a good shape.


On the other hand, I got a bit homesick because of the coronavirus situation. I thought I should take a break, back at home, in Korea. I was going to rest for about 6 months to a year, but as my break got longer, I wanted to work again. I also wanted to have a shot in Korea, go to Worlds in a Korean team. That’s how I came back.


Compared to the spring split, Afreeca Freecs is doing really well. What change did you bring to the team?


The spring split result was horrible, so the players had lost trust in each other. Each player thought they needed to carry. Their plays were all separate, so I tried to mend their trust, and tried to make them make plays altogether. Whatever the plan, in any teamfight, I wanted them to plan together and fight together. We worked hard to build better team synergy and we’re still trying.


Afreeca Freecs had a weak late game during the spring, but you’re much stronger in the late game now.


Although we did win today, we still have a long way to go. We aim to play without mistakes in scrims as well. The players are surely better at sealing the leads in the late game or turning the game around when they’re behind. It’s positive that they’re getting better, but it’s not enough.


As much as the team’s early game laning is strong, I prefer benefitting in the laning phase and snowballing through that lead. If we were to go to Worlds and meet strong teams, it’s almost impossible to win by picking late-game comps. The first herald or dragons are really important, so we need to snowball through early game champions and win through that. We need to work harder.


Have you been following the LCS?


Honestly, I haven’t been watching all the games. But, I do watch Team Liquid’s games. I want to see if they’re doing well without me… [Laughs] I can’t help it.


Which league do you watch the most?


I’ve been watching the LPL a lot. Regarding the meta in abroad leagues, there are many players that I still keep in touch with, so we share information. The coaches also have quite some experience abroad, so they’re also a big help.


With the win today, you’re now up in 3rd place. How do you think the season will go?


If we were to perfect a style, whatever style it is, we would be able to go to Worlds. That’s our goal.


The LCK this summer is in chaos. Which team are you looking out for the most?


We’ve played against all teams except one, and I think DWG KIA is actually the strongest. It all comes down to teamfights, and all five players of DWG KIA are extremely good teamfighters.


However, I do believe that the difference between all teams is paper-thin. It wouldn’t be awkward if any team goes up or down.


Any last comments?


Thank you to all the fans that love Areeca Freecs. The fans’ cheering is always a big help to each and every player. Please keep loving our players.

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