After a rather loose base race, FunPlus Phoenix defeated Cloud9 in the 2021 LoL World Championship and collected their first win. It was a difficult game for FPX as they were trailing for the majority of the game, but they made it work. Top laner Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon played a major role in the win, making several super plays but despite his great performance today, Nuguri was still reflecting on his performance while he spoke to Inven Global after the match.
It’s been such a long time since we last spoke. How are you doing? How’s Iceland?
I’m doing fine. The view in Iceland is really pretty.
It’s already been a year since you left LCK and DWG KIA. How has that been?
It was my first time living abroad, and since I lived mostly in the team house, except for the language or food, most things were similar to when I was in DAMWON. I was in DAMWON for a long time, and it was a new team in a new country. Sometimes it was hard to adapt — the whole year was quite hectic for me.
What was the hardest thing for you?
I think the hardest moments for me were when my game was off, when I was underperforming.
Anyways, you made it to Worlds. How did it feel when you were first drawn into the same group as DWG KIA?
I thought, ‘What? Is this fate?’ [Laughs] It was really surprising. It felt like I was kind of tied to them.
How was the feedback after the loss yesterday?
A loss is a loss, but more than that, our performance was really bad. After the game, we gathered and had a chat. We talked about the draft and how we want to play the game. We talked for a long time and practiced.
Personally, I was quite shocked, because we lost without being able to do anything. Our performance as a team wasn’t good enough, but my own performance was more shocking. Things just didn’t work out for me. It was regretful and I was angry at myself as well.
How about today’s match? C9 was leading most of the game.
[Laughs] Frankly, today’s game was really hard too. I don’t like how we did today. We were trailing the whole time… We could say that we couldn’t help it because of the comp, but that’s just giving excuses. There were situations where we could have done better, but we didn’t find them and it felt that no one knew what to do. Still, it’s such a relief that we won in the end.
There’s a rivalry between the LCK and LPL. You’re currently an LPL top laner. How would you compare the two regions?
I think the two regions are quite similar right now. All the teams are really good. If the LCK and LPL play each other, no one would know how it’ll end until it actually happens.
Regarding the top laners, which region, which player seems strong?
I’d say Flandre, Khan, Canna, and Xiaohu. When I see Xiaohu in games, he’s really good. I was impressed by Flandre when I saw him making all those team plays and synergizing with his team. I think these four players are currently the best top laners — in no particular order. But I can’t really say that only these players are good since everyone’s quite good recently.
In the west, I think Alphari is good. I remember a few years ago, Alphari had been bootcamping in Korea. I thought from back then that he was really good, and after playing against him recently, I can see I wasn’t wrong.
I also think Ale is quite good. He has great potential. His ability to carry is great. He likes to play aggressive champions and is really good at them.
After all, LoL is a team game. You’d have played a lot of scrims now. Which teams look strong at this Worlds?
Each team has its own strengths. Up to now, we haven’t been able to scrim that many teams, but I think EDG is really good whether it’s scrims or official games.
As a professional player, your goal would always be winning the championship. Other than results, what do you want to take from this tournament?
Other than results? Honestly, I don’t think there’s anything. I want to get great results and performance.
Then you just want to raise the Summoner’s Cup again with an awesome performance?
[Laughs] Yes. But it seems so far away now. With my performance today… Wow, I’m blushing. [Laughs]
You’ll be facing DWG KIA again on day 4. Is there anything you want to say to them?
I just hope we show a good game. I was sorry to the DWG KIA players and the fans watching us because we played so badly. Next time, I just want to do better and show a fun and interesting game.
Obviously, it’ll be better if you won, but you’re saying that you want to show a more interesting game?
I don’t ever want to play another game with such a bad performance. I was really disgusted with my own performance. I think I need to practice more.
Any last comments?
Just making it to Worlds and playing here is an honor. I’ll do my best so that we can achieve good results. Thank you.