On Jan. 17, DRX and Nongshim RedForce faced off in the opening match of the 2024 LCK Spring Split. Although DRX seemed to take the lead at the start, Nongshim RedForce's resilience led to a turnaround in Game 1. With the momentum on their side, Nongshim RedForce went on to win Game 2, concluding the first match with a 2-0 victory. Following the match, Nongshim RedForce head coach Heo "irean" Young-cheol and mid laner Oh "Callme" Ji-hoon visited the press room for an interview.
Congrats on the win. How do you feel?
Callme: Yesterday, I was confident that our team is good. We’ve been preparing for a long time. I believe that’s why we got good results in the opening match.
irean: Our last season ended quite early, so we had a long time to prepare. Our roster was fixed since then, so we practiced a lot. That led to our scrim results being better than expected. I came here thinking that if we did as much as we prepared and did not make huge mistakes, we would win.
On the other hand, DRX’s roster changed quite a lot. What did you prepare to face them?
Callme: I’ve faced Sponge, SeTab, and Pleata quite often in CL, so I knew their playstyle. I just played accordingly.
irean: We knew that Rascal was good on Jax, so we had a counter-pick prepared. As for Pleata, since he used to be a bot laner, we thought they could take the upper hand in the current meta. For SeTab, I asked a lot about him to Callme. We gathered the information and prepared to face them.
(To Callme) DRX had the upper hand in game 1, but you turned the game around as you took Baron. How did you decide to attempt Baron?
Callme: It felt that they were pushing mid and moving downwards. We checked the vision, and they didn’t seem to have any wards around Baron, so we tried it and it worked out well.
(To irean) Last season was regretful for Nongshim RedFordce. How did you manage the players to improve?
irean: Our players were already good at teamfighting, so we tried to improve our macro. In today’s game, I think we did about half of what we are capable of. Maybe the players were a bit nervous since it was the first match. Overall, the main focus during the offseason was macro.
You’ll be facing Gen.G. How will you prepare to face them?
irean: I’m really happy that we got our first win. We’re a team that knows the preciousness of every single win, so we’re able to move forward in the season more comfortably. I believe Gen.G is a very strong team, so rather than analyzing them to find weaknesses, I think we should try to focus on what we do well and lead the game.
Callme was called up during the middle of the season in the summer, but this time, he’s on the starting roster from the beginning. What’s different?
irean: I thought Callme’s performance when he was called up was really good. He has a different style from FIESTA. We’ll be giving a lot of thought to who’ll be playing, but this was the lineup we prepared to face DRX.
(To Callme) What was your mindset preparing for today’s match?
Callme: Improving one’s performance should be completed in CL. Since I’m now playing in the LCK, I should prove that I belong here with all the effort I put in over time.