The first time I heard of Kim “Gori” Tae-woo was when I was on bbq Olivers; my adc at the time, Wind, is close friends with Gori, and I’d always hear them talk on Discord.
Fast forward to present day, NS RedForce defeated T1 on day 25 of the 2021 LCK Summer split. When my post-match interview with Gori got confirmed, it felt like I was getting a chance to talk to a distant relative. From only hearing his voice through a set of speakers, to sitting in front of him face to face, a wave of nostalgia hit as the interview started.
How do you feel about the victory against T1 tonight?
I’m really happy that it was a 2-0 tonight. It was our first match in round 2 of the regular split, so I think we’ll be able to carry this momentum well into the split.
This is your first split in the LCK. How do you reflect on your round 1 personal performance?
I think that round 1 was the adjustment period for me. I made a lot of mistakes, but my teammates played extremely well, so that’s why we were able to end round 1 with a 6-3 record. I think I made a lot less mistakes tonight, so I’m glad.
What was the biggest point of feedback for you during round 1?
It was nerves. After we lost to Gen.G, there was this mental block where I felt that I needed to do well for our team to win, so I got really nervous during matches. Obviously, the coaches can’t actually help me deal with nerves, so I’m still learning how to not get nervous during matches.
Like you said, nerves aren't something that the coaches can help you with, so did you figure out your own way to stay level-headed?
In the very last match of round 1, I actually had some herbal medicine that helps you deal with nerves. However, I heard that there were potential negative side effects of the medicine such as drowsiness. I was actually going to have some tonight, but I don’t have that medicine regularly, so I forgot [laughter]. I was nervous during game 1, and was even coughing a bit; after we won game 1, however, the nerves did go away.
You played Lucian in game 1; recently, DWG KIA’s mid laner, Heo “ShowMaker” Su played lethality Lucian with Aery. What are your thoughts on the rune path/Eclipse build?
I think that taking Aery on Lucian is terrible; Press the Attack is the best rune on him. Itemization can change here and there, but I think Galeforce should be built first every single time. After that, I think itemization can be situational, whether it’s more attack speed focused or lethality focused.
Speaking of items, the 11.13 patch reduced the cost of the mythic mage items. Do you think that the buffs are enough for them to spring them back into the meta?
Patch 11.13 saw Stridebreaker losing the dash on its active, but gained the 90% slow. However, the fact that the little dash is gone is definitely a nerf, so I think mage champions will have an easier time surviving against the bruiser champions. We’re already seeing champions like Ryze and Azir being higher in the competitive mid lane champion pool, so we’ll definitely see more mages in the future.
AP mythic items might’ve gotten buffed, but the value of Wit’s End went up as well. Do you think the value of Wit’s End just negates the buffs that the mage items received?
I think that Wit’s End is definitely a very good solution to dealing with AP champions. Also, with nerfs to Rumble, the only really strong AP jungler is Diana. With Ziggs being a top tier champion in the bot lane, and AP champions being played in mid and/or jungle, Wit’s End is definitely the best item to counter them.
Ziggs is OP in the bot lane, but I’m curious how you rate Ziggs in the mid lane meta right now.
It’ll definitely depend on the matchup, but I don’t think he’s bad in the mid lane. In the mid lane, he’s a champion with clear strengths and weaknesses; he’s good at defending the mid lane turrets and has very good wave clear, but he’s that much slower in roaming, and is tied down to the mid lane.
In a recent interview with Kellin, he said that he thinks the team isn’t too shabby because you guys have been doing well in scrims and in matches. What’s the biggest feedback that the team has been receiving?
We obviously get less feedback on the days we win, but when we lose, the coaching staff always asks us why we don’t make the plays we did during practice. They always remind us to never forget the plays that we must make on a fundamental level.
With LCK having four tickets to Worlds and NS doing very well in recent days, going to Worlds must be something that you feel is well within your grasp.
While I did play for a long time, this split’s my first time as a starting mid laner in the LCK. I do not believe that it’s easy for a player to make it to Worlds in his debut year. That being said, I feel that my chances of making to Worlds are becoming more realistic by the day. As long as I play the way I do now and continue to improve, I can already picture myself on the Worlds’ stage. My immediate goal is to win the Summer split, because us becoming champions guarantees us a ticket to Worlds.
Are there any mid laners in other leagues that you think are very good right now?
I think TOP Esports’ mid laner, Knight, is the best mid laner in the LPL, and probably in the world. I played against him in scrims, and he’s an exceptional mid laner.
Next match is against DWG KIA. Tell me about how the team will prepare for the match.
It hasn’t been long since we beat them in round 1, so I don’t think any drastic changes will occur internally. As long as we hone the things that we’ve been doing, I think we’ll have an easier time beating them in that match.
Lastly, is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?
I didn’t fully realize what being a pro meant when I was only a substitute player, but the fans helped me realize that through the means of fan messages and gifts. I’ll make sure that I’ll win the LCK this split.
Striving for perfection to achieve excellence in esports