League of Legends

Interview with TL Piglet, and his open letter to his teammates

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As reporters who covered LCK for a long time, we're still not used to doing interviews with a losing player. After Team Liquid was defeated by Counter Logic Gaming in Week 1 Day 2 of 2017 NA LCS Summer Split, we had a chance to talk to Gwangjin "Piglet" ‎Chae from Team Liquid.

We didn't want to keep him for too long; we didn't want to bother him too much after his defeat. However, Piglet caught us by surprise when he spent almost half an hour to talk about everything from his team and teammates to his past regret of leaving SKT T1.

Could it be because we've meet him several times while he was back in Korea? Whatever the reason might be, we finally had a chance to hear from Piglet about his innermost thoughts and life after leaving Korea.




It's been awhile since we've last saw you. I assume you are done adjusting in the United States?

Sure. I've been around here for so long that it feels like I'm in Korea. Actually, I might have to adjust myself to Korea if I go back.


Aren't you stressed about having to change your role so frequently?

Not really. Because I'm good at both. When I first playing ADC, I lost scrims all day long for 5 days. I did start to sweep everyone after those 5 days though. I was frustrated at something, but it wasn't because of my role changes. I tried mid because I wanted to try playing mid - I wasn't forced to do it. That's why I was happy to try it.


Frankly speaking, which role do you prefer between ADC and Mid?

I really don't care either way. If I were to choose though, I want to play mid. This is something that I had felt while I was in Korea, but the LCK meta changes slowly. Right now in EU and NA, the ADC metagame revolves around hypercarry ADCs like Twitch and Kog'Maw.

However, since LoL is a team game, playing well with hypercarries doesn't guarantee a win. There are too many conditions needing to be fulfilled: I have to farm for a long time; I have to be babysitted; and so on. What I've felt as I went back being an ADC was: 'I have no idea what I can do.'

I can't figure what champions I need to play, I don't know what I can do to get the snowball going again. You've watched today's match, right? I can't do anything to snowball the lead that we've got after countering their dive. I can't do anything as an ADC. When I was a mid laner, I never lost a lane solo - I did get camped by enemy jungler from time to time and was forced to roam, but I never lost a 1-on-1 situation. Now, winning the lane just means that I get camped by their entire team. It's very difficult and frustrating.


You might be better off playing mid for synergy with Reignover.

When I played Mid, I never lost a 2-on-2 skirmish with junglers. We could pressure the opponent enough to win the mid or bot lane. Now, as an ADC, I have to call the jungler, do a turret dive and get the turret too to have an influence on the game. That happens a lot in scrims, but even then the snowballing doesn't happen and the game would go in unexpected directions.


Then have you told the team that you want to play mid again?

I don't think I should bring it up now; it's only the beginning of a split. Besides, even if I were to play mid, there's no guarantee that we'd get a good ADC. If the new ADC is below average, that just gives more power to the opposing bot lane.


We've been watching NA LCS for a while, but we just can't figure out what'll happen in NA LCS games.

I can see why. Even in the second game against CLG, I thought we had the upper hand after drafting. We predicted their bans and picked the champions that we wanted, but it was frustrating to see us fumble making macro plays. There's a big difference between me playing ADC and playing mid. When I played mid, I could make plays and it would go smoothly; when I play ADC, it doesn't go that very well. Sure, I'm not entirely without fault, but I often find myself stumped when I look around the map and try to find an answer to the situation. Sometimes I'm not sure whether I'm playing ADC or ADC with responsibilities of support.

 

Piglet is ever confident about his skills as a player - He has always been like that. What we weren't used to was how he expressed frustration over things that he cannot control. Lamenting that we couldn't take this interview outside to a pub with a good beer, we continued to listen to his candid thoughts on his teammates and NA in general.


From your long experience in NA LCS, why do you think NA LCS games are so unpredictable?

Overall, shotcallings in NA is not as clear as what I'm used to. If you need help, you don't just ask for help, you ask for someone to do something. Here, all you get is "Help" or "They are pushing lane". You won't hear what they want to be done, let alone why they think they need something to be done. They are often nearsighted when asking for help or making calls.


We've talked about this with P1 Ryu and Arrow before. You know how Koreans often say "Got him" and how it implies other players to do something? For example, junglers stay near the bush to check for possible counterplays when they hear it. What does NA players do when they hear things like that?

Around here, they just march straight in. Even in situations where they just have to wait a few moment or stay for the enemy to walk in; but they often jump the gun and ruin everything. They just have to wait a bit - but they charge straight in instead.


Wouldn't the players know best about when to be patient in situations like that?

I certainly know - I'm not so sure about the others. It's a depressing story. Especially today, everyone just said what they wanted to say. They weren't conversations, but just blurting out what they wanted for themselves. I don't know what to do about this. Even when we somehow manage to reach an agreement, not everyone sticks to it.

Our scrim winrates have hit the bottom for the last few days. In my opinion, I think we just do scrims absent-mindedly: no thoughts on future. Whether it's laning or teamfights, you have to think a few moves ahead, but they are busy talking about what they see now. It could be because they don't understand the game enough, but they are too focused on the present to think about the future.

Of course, there are teams that have not only good mechanics but good foresights even in NA LCS. I don't think we are one of those teams. The gap between a good NA team and a bad NA team is too wide; there is no middle ground. Teams in the LCK are relatively more close in terms of power level. Rank changes all the time, and they practice really hard - It's not like what you see in NA. NA players are not patient enough, not good listeners and yet greedy.


This article will be translated into English for global audiences. Are you sure you want to say things like that even when they'll be read by your teammates?

I don't care. As a professional, and even when I was with SKT T1; I barely slept over an hour to practice when I felt that I was not good enough. I don't want to be looked down on, and I always want to be good. Coaches in SKT T1 often went home only when players went home. I went home later than both; I always went home later than everyone else. That's how much I hated to hear negative comments, and that's how much I loved to hear praises. I don't feel that around here.

As a professional, you have to be able to take constructive criticisms and change what you've been doing wrong - I don't see this from them. When they lose, they are just upset for that moment and then soon forget. I'm especially frustrated because of this.

When I lose a match, I get furious. I always go over the lanes and teamfights that we've lost, and I keep thinking about what I could've done better. You have to strive to become better, but I don't see this around here. This goes to all players, actually. You shouldn't have excuses when you need to do better to be less of a burden to your team. I won't say that I'm diligent 24/7, but everyone else's idea of improvement is casually playing solo queues.


Have you felt this way for all this time?

Sure. I feel it more intensely nowadays, especially this year and this split.

 

From everything that he told us, he would have needed something stronger than beer. Maybe even tequila? Either way, we've heard quite a bit about how NA LCS 'can play better', but they were all pretty much toned down to sound nice.

No one else was as direct and blunt as Piglet had been about his opinion of NA LCS, especially about the difference in attitude and lack of practice. One thing was for sure: He was frustrated enough to tell all of this to press even if that meant that his teammates might know about it.


Let's... change the topic. How do you feel about the bot lane metagame?

I like it. I'm glad that I get to play with many of my favorite hypercarry ADCs like Twitch and Kog'Maw. I'm also good enough at laning to win with those champions, so it is perfect for me.


How do you feel about Xayah and Rakan as a duo?

I've tried them a few times. I won't say that Xayah and Rakan is overpowered, but I think NA players in general don't really know how to play around Rakan. Getting hit by Grand Entrance means certain death, but they get hit by it too easily. Even in teamfights, you have to be wary of Rakan, but they often focus on something else and get counterattacked.

Yesterday in LCK, Rakan lost all matches for teams that played with him. I've figured out Rakan's weakness somewhat...I'll say this is because I think differently compared to other players. When trading, people usually only think of how they'll win. I think of how we can win and also how we can lose. Lane priority shifts all the time, so you have to know when to win more and when to lose less. That's how I always won lanes.


Does that mean we'll see less Rakan in future?

Rakan does excel at initiating a teamfight, and he goes well with Orianna and Fizz's ult. You pretty much have guaranteed charm into airborne, so the enemy's mid and ADC will simply disappear if they are off-positioned. It's easy to initiate a teamfight with Rakan when out out sight, and his escape kit allows him to walk away if everything goes well. There is no one like him in a way.


Doran's Shield became ADC's new favorite starting item, but Doran's Sword still makes an appearance in NA LCS from time to time. Why do you think people still play with Sword?

I think it's when players think they are better with Sword. I think Shield is generally better, but I too take Sword when I play champions like Caitlyn and Ezreal. You just have to avoid being attacked while pressuring them.


When would we see your Vayne again?

My team doesn't want me to play her. [Laughs] I've won scrims with her though! However, I stick to Twitch, Kog'Maw, Varus and Ashe nowadays because Vayne is simply not up to par. At least I get to play with Twitch and Kog'Maw. She needs to get a buff. Something that can get her to land a Condemn into an autoattack. She's certainly a 'Trash' tier now, but Riot is not doing anything. I want to tumble in LCS matches.

During IEM Gyeonggi 2016, I was so happy to be back in Korea that I picked Vayne. It was fun. I'm sure my fans loved it too. Landing a Tumble-Condemn combo with Final Hours feels euphoric. I'd be like: "Yes! I can feel it!" Also, it feels more fun playing Vayne in Korea. How I should I say it...more lively? I get more worked up because I can hear what people are like in Korea. I really want to play Vayne again. I'll pick her as soon as I get a chance.

▲ The face of a man tumbling to his heart's desire (Source: OGN)

 

How far do you think Team Liquid will go this split?

That's a difficult question. Very difficult. Hmm...

I think our botlane is perfect. We win 'losing' matchups, and we definitely win winning matchups. I'm good at teamfights as well as my laning phase. It's a good metagame for hypercarry ADCs, so I think we'll do well as long as my teammates can support me well. With good team composition I can farm enough to do even 1-on-5s, and even when we fall behind early game, we'll have a chance at winning if we hold on.

I do scrims very seriously, and I'm trying very hard to win, so I hope everything goes as well as I hope. I really want to make it to the finals. We always fell just short of the finals, and I'm still bitter about it. The World Championship is at stake too. I want to do crazy things in the Worlds, so I really want to go to the finals. It's my only wish.


One last question. Now that it's long behind you, have you ever regretted leaving SKT T1?

I've had a few regrets. It would certainly be a lie if I say that I never had a regret. If I stayed, my career would have been so much better. Instead, I left and I'm doing worse over time, and it's not because of my fault. I sometimes feel like kicking myself for that, but I feel like I've changed a lot and become more mature after coming to US.

It's been hard, and it still is hard, but I feel like I'm learning a lesson in life that I wouldn't have learned if I stayed in Korea. I would have been paid more if I stayed in SKT T1, but I would have never felt this feelings or emotions, and I feel like I'm still learning a lot.

I've gotten over it enough to be able to cheer for SKT in earnest. It's good to see them doing really well. It's not a team that anyone can join, and I was part of the team when they first won the Worlds. If they faded away afterwards, I wouldn't be as proud as I am now. Because they are still growing as a team, I can still say that I've been playing for a really good team.

 

As he let out everything - from his frustrations to his regrets - we ended our interview. Although we considered not translating this interview, we did it out of respect for Piglet and how he was willing to be open about everything.

From the champion of the World Championship to barely escaping relegation in NA LCS - We cannot imagine how much Piglet suffered internally. However, as we saw him flare up over what he felt from his teammates, we could see that he was far from being broken.

He might have used some strong words to explain his thoughts, but we hope that they are taken as a proof of his passion and an earnest wish to be better and work harder together with his teammates.


Thank you so much for an honest inter...

Man, I'm so frustrated. [Walks out]


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