Following the conclusion of the 2022 LCS Spring Split, TSM mid laner Ji "Takeover" Cha Hyeun-min spoke about his promotion to the LCS roster over Zhu "Keaiduo" Xiong, his improvements throughout spring, and what mid lane opponents stood out to him.
You just finished your first career LCS split. How do you feel about your LCS debut and your improvement throughout the split in the games you started?
It was unfortunate that we didn't make playoffs, but we were already in kind of a bad spot when I first joined the LCS roster. Regarding that, I think things went okay, I guess. Regarding my performance, I don't think I played too well, at least compared to what I had pictured for myself in terms of my standards. I would watch my LCS games back and it's not what I'm looking for, so I think it was an okay split for me.
Even if you weren't up to your own individual standards in terms of performance, it's undeniable that TSM performed better in the LCS after you were promoted to starting mid laner. Outside of your own individual play, what do you think you have brought to the team?
Honestly, I'm not exactly sure. The only thing I've actively noticed is that I will talk more, like if the enemy mid is missing, for example. I'll say everything I need to and actively communicate. Keaiduo is obviously not that comfortable in English, so I think one of the big parts of me coming into the starting roster was overall communication.
You made your LCS debut midway through the split when TSM had already struggled mightily. Did that put more or less pressure on you regarding your debut?
Personally, I felt kind of pressured in the beginning, but after, I kind of stopped caring about results. Obviously, it's best to win, but rather than focusing on results, I just tried my best to focus on improving and playing my best. That was my overall focus more than the results themselves and what not.
Some of your teammates have extensive LCS experience. Was there anything you were able to learn at the LCS level, from your teammates or otherwise, that you feel like you couldn't have learned had you stayed on TSM Academy this spring?
I think I learned way more than I would have on TSM Academy, for sure. In just playing a lot of these games and scrims, you get a much better feel and start understanding more, so I think I definitely improved my overall play.
How does the individual level of LCS mid laners compare to LCS Academy League mid laners?
Honestly, it's not that big of a difference aside from jojopyun. Obviously the LCS mid laners lane a bit better, but there are also a few Academy mid laners that could easily do well against the LCS mids, so I honestly didn't notice that big of a difference in regards to laning specifically.
What other Academy mid laners do you think could contend at the LCS level?
For now, I think it's probably ry0ma and Haeri. The other mids are good to, but I notice that those two specifically do pretty well. They stand out to me.
Do you know what your future holds? Will we see you on TSM or TSM Academy come summer?
It has maybe been figured out by management but I have no idea what's going to happen.
Were there any LCS mid laners who impressed you?
Honestly, I wasn't impressed by anyone aside from jojopyun. I already had my standards set for jojopyun before I played him in the LCS because of our Academy matches last year. I was already impressed by him so I knew I was going to be impressed in LCS. It's not that I'm unimpressed because LCS mid laners are bad. They're all really good, but I think if I just play better, I can easily do well against them. It's just up to me to perform more than it is all of them being really good.
Are there any mid laners in the global LoL esports scene that you're inspired by and/or would like to test your mettle against?
There are too many mids I would like to play against. I guess I'd name Chovy, knight and ShowMaker.
Thanks for the interview, Takeover. Is there anything you want to say to the TSM fans following the conclusion of the 2022 LCS Spring Split?
Thank you for all of the support. You may have been disappointed by me, but regardless of what happens, I will try my best.
All images by: Parkes Ousley