Teayoo “lira” Nam is one of the players who left a lingering impression in the LCK, which is abundant in star players. However, He is somewhat different to other well-known players. Unlike those who showed impressive performances from their debut and let their names be known, he started from the bottom and climbed up, and is now aiming for the top.
Then, he decided to transfer to Team EnVyUs in NA at the end of 2016. Two seasons have passed, and to be honest, the team’s results are not something they can be proud of. During the Spring Season, the team was expected to lose in the Promotion Series, but they miraculously won and managed to remain in the tournament. They achieved a better result in the Summer Season and barely entered the Playoffs, placed 6th out of 10 teams.
On the other hand, lira left a great impression in the NA LCS. Even though the team was not doing so well, he left his name as a jungler in the NA LCS All-Star team. This is one of the prime examples of his impeccable performance. Now, his name has become the most prominent when people talk about Team EnVyUs. Even the NA LCS mid laners say that they are not afraid of the opponent in the same lane, but a jungler like lira is worthy of fear.
We had the opportunity to do an interview with him at the very last step of the NA LCS. The road thus far has not been very smooth, and the Playoffs will surely make it rougher. Therefore, we asked him what mindset he plans to take with him into the remaining matches.
Q. How do you feel about entering the Playoffs as 6th in the NA LCS?
It will surely be tough as we are last in the ranking. Though we can say that we are in a better position than the previous season where we were last, I personally am still not satisfied with the result yet.
I was disappointed in myself because of the poor performance this week (8th week). I guess I didn’t take good care of my condition at the time, and couldn’t make a good play as a result. The entrance to the Playoffs itself is not really a good thing. We are 6th after all.
Q. You have been spending your time for 2 seasons already in the US. How’s your life over there?
It’s getting better and better. I’ve got my own mobile phone, and I can finally go anywhere I want. I’m starting to have confidence in my English as well, as I feel myself improving day by day. I heard that Korea is scorching nowadays, but the weather here is also quite good.
We also have a Korean auntie cooking for us since we have quite a lot of Korean players. Because of that, we go out to have American food instead. Even if we do go out to have American food, I can handle most of it as long as it’s not too spicy, so I think there’s not much problem.
Q. You tend to show outstanding performances on the team. Gamers also tend to focus on lira’s actions. What do you think about this?
To be honest, I was really over-confident in myself for being the best jungler before the start of this season. So I thought to myself that I should do much better and completely dominate, but this mindset became a detriment in the games. I tend to make better plays in matches than I do in practice, as long as I don’t have any pressure, but this mindset influences my play in a bad way.
I almost became paranoid that I had to win against the opponent jungler, otherwise, our team would lose the game. I appreciate people’s positive appraisal about me, but this also caused me to feel pressured like I have to always keep up the performance.
I am more as a jungler using my own team instead of carrying others. I need to sacrifice my teammates to play better, and this kept giving me the pressure that I need to do better.
Q. Which player in the team usually gives orders during the game?
I believe that we can manage to go mid-tier like now if I give an order. But, I shouldn’t take that role if we aim to go high-tier. The team didn’t need my orders in the beginning of the Split when we were having good matches. However, I was a bit frustrated as other teams seemed to be improving as the Split went on.
In truth, we do not have a coach who can provide game-related feedback. The current coach mainly takes care of our mental status, so we need to give feedback to each other and continue on. I was usually the one giving the orders, but it wasn’t good enough. So, we have decided to give orders to each other, as we believe that a team driven by the orders of just one person isn’t a good thing.
Because of the difficulty of communicating with the language barrier, it is hard to give detailed orders. Most orders I give are simple English sentences, and I suppose that my teammates would find it hard to understand and cooperate.
Q. Do you think you need a playing coach?
A skilled playing coach is always welcome. But, I don’t think that there is a coach of my style in the pro scene at the moment. I even searched for the right person in Korea, but there were none there either. We think we’re better off playing with ourselves instead of bringing a person who would not get along with us and eventually become a negative influence.
Even so, we still think that we definitely need a playing coach. Though we have a coach who cares about our mentality, there are many things we cannot resolve ourselves due to the lack of a playing coach. Giving feedback to each other as players on the same level would be a discourtesy. That’s why improvement takes a somewhat long time, and is likely the reason why we struggled quite a lot during the Split.
It does not mean, however, that we are neglecting the situation. We keep looking but the right person just isn’t there. I personally looked for one as well, but can’t think of a suitable one except Ssong, but he’s taken by Immortals.
Q. The top and jungle meta has been changed drastically nowadays. What do you think about the changed meta?
The conventional meta is becoming trendy nowadays. The patch cycle becomes quite short when the World Championship draws near, and I personally don’t like it, because you need to change your playstyle all of sudden when the patch is done.
The current meta seems to be relying on luck. This is because the result is often determined during teamfights. This is purely my personal opinion, so I understand that you can’t give credit to my statements. This is just how I feel about the games.
Q. How is your communication with the English speaking players in the team?
First of all, I think that the bot duo in our team is the kindest duo in the LCS NA. They try to understand my broken speech and do not really have much trouble with me for that. But, Nisqy, the mid laner in our team, came from Belgium and has a somewhat strange accent. It is not what I am used to hearing. We have some quite funny moments because of the different accents between me and him, and our teammates even told me not to communicate with him in English.
Nevertheless, we don’t really have a problem with communication as we tend to use familiar words with each other during the game.
Q. How’s the life with teammates at the lodging in general?
Really fun. We play Uno together, and we do not really get into each other’s privacy. People usually eat, watch a movie, or hang out together in a group in Korea, but not in the US. It’s quite a refreshing but interesting experience.
Q. Do you get on with your private life during the break then?
When the scrim is over, that is the moment that the official practice is finished. After that, we do not interrupt each other. It is so free. However, I always have one of two mindsets. When we are winning the series, I think ‘We will still win even if we take so many breaks’, but when we are losing, it’s like ‘we are not supposed to rest this much’. In fact, the practice time is now relatively longer than before, and we often practice more during the break.
Q. What do you think is the problem Team EnVyUs has, and is there an ongoing effort to resolve it?
The problem is… first of all, we are really strong during the early game. Personally speaking, I think that we may have the strongest early game in all of NA. However, we do not have a solid catalyst that determines the match result. We can surely dominate the early game when we set our minds to it. That’s how good we are. But, as the game gets longer, we start to feel somewhat scared and fear that a mistake might ruin the match.
What we need is the strength that can guide us to the mid and late games, and we are working really hard on it. However, it is not an easy task to resolve in such a short time. Of course, if an easy solution existed, it wouldn’t even be a problem.
Q. Though you have entered the Playoffs, right now is not the time for congratulations and rest. Can you tell us what determination and mindset you will have in the game?
I think that the fact we’re in the Playoffs is proof that we can still move up in the NA LCS. I don’t know if we can manage to get to the finals and win, but we will definitely do our best. As a matter of fact, I still think that we are still not good enough. We would’ve been placed 1st if we achieved a level I would be completely satisfied with, but we couldn’t and were placed as 6th. We will dedicate ourselves to become worthy of our entrance to the Playoffs.