In the 2021 LoL World Championship, PSG Talon took down Hanwha Life Esports and took their first win at this Worlds. With the win, they took a step closer to reaching the knockout stage. During his interview with Inven Global, Kim “River” Dong-woo mentioned that his “realistic” goal for this Worlds is getting out of the group stage, and talked about his experience in international stages.
After our last interview during the MSI, you promised me that you’ll be interviewed after winning at Worlds. You kept that promise. How do you feel?
Honestly, after winning, whatever I do, whatever interview I do, everything just feels really good. [Laughs]
Your face says it all. [Laughs] It’s the third time you’re talking with me, and you’re talking much more naturally now.
I’ve had a lot of interviews now, so I guess I got more natural.
How is it participating in your third international competition?
Whenever I come to international stages, I try to get good results. It is my third competition, and I think I was nervous only on the first international stage. After that, I didn’t get nervous at all.
Did the first two tournaments help a lot?
Well, in my first Worlds, I played really really bad. My performance was so bad. After that, I was able to reorganize myself and have a more confident mindset.
How was it facing RNG and HLE here?
I think our team is really strong in the early game, but against both RNG and HLE, we made mistakes during the early game, and our game went bad. We did come back in both games — we beat HLE, and I think we could actually have won even against RNG as well. If we just fix our early game, we’d be able to beat any team.
In last Worlds and the MSI, PSG Talon had to play with loaned players. This is the first time the team is playing as a whole team. How is it different?
In Worlds last year, I also joined the team late, so there wasn’t much that I could take from Worlds. At MSI, Unified wasn’t able to come and Doggo filled in. I think Doggo is as good as Unified. If it were Unified at our last MSI, we would have had the same results. They’re both really good.
You’ve been playing with your teammates for a while now. How are they?
We usually put Hanabi on tank champions. We had him play Gwen today, and he did really well from the laning phase so we were able to win. Maple is a player that has great synergy with me. His shotcalls are great too. Unified is a player that deals damage very well and doesn’t die, and Kaiwing is great in terms of initiating fights and shotcalling.
Maple is a seasoned veteran. You’ve been playing with him for a year. How was it?
Before Maple, I hadn’t ever played with such an experienced player, and I didn’t have much experience as well. When I tried to do something with my mid laner, I wasn’t sure if it was alright to do it. But as when I played with Maple, it was clear that he was certain about making plays. As his shotcalls are also really great, we got along very well. If I were to leave the team, or if Maple was to leave the team next year, I think my experience with him will be a big help for me in the future.
Last MSI, you said your goal was to reach the semifinals and you did. How about this time?
Last MSI was my first MSI. I didn’t expect that I would get such good results, but we did. This time, my realistic goal is to reach the quarterfinals. I want to reach that goal this time as well. I want to get to the knockout stage no matter what, and I will.
You’d be scrimming a lot of the best teams from around the world. How is it playing against them?
When we prepare for our league, we don’t have many chances to scrim such great teams from around the world, so I think it’s a great opportunity for us to come to these international tournaments. Last year, when we scrimmed top teams, I was rather intimidated. But now, I’m much more confident and I play against them thinking that I could beat anyone.
In your scrim experience, which teams seem the strongest?
From my experience in scrims, I think DWG KIA, T1, and EDward Gaming are the strongest.
How about junglers? Are there any junglers that seemed really good?
I think Oner from T1 is really good. Despite being a rookie, he plays very aggressively and well. It was difficult playing against him in scrims.
Did you see the cheering messages from the soccer players, Messi and Neymar? How did it feel?
It didn’t feel real. [Laughs] They are some of the most famous people in the world, and I was happy they’re cheering for us.
Any last comments you’d like to share?
I didn’t play that well yesterday, but I’m relieved that we were able to win today against Hanwha Life Esports. I’ll make sure that we get out of the group stage by showing a good performance in the remaining games.