People live out their lives while facing many trials. Pain, prejudice, loss, slumps, frustration, etc.. Those who yield and fail to overcome these will not grow and will instead stagnate. People who overcome such hardships advance forward to another level. Through failure, a person succeeds. This is a requirement for a professional player. We got to meet with Reignover, who has experienced much failure and has risen in the grounds of LA.
Reignover, who failed to show his dominance in his domestic league, went to Europe to break past his limit. Reignover was with the renowned Fnatic and sat on the throne of the EU league for 2 seasons straight. He delivered an impressive performance in the World Championship quarterfinals and thawed out the cold gazes of prejudice he received from his doubters. Reignover rekindled the passion of the EU fans, causing many to cheer on their region with a renewed vigor. The following year he moved to the North American’s new team, Immortals, and was recognized for his ability to uplift his team to victory. However, it seems like he was influenced too hard by the success. Later, Reignover moved to Team Liquid and experienced his first set of losses overseas.
Although he suffered great frustration from his shortcomings, Reignover’s unyielding spirit was not broken. In order to get back to his peak form, he is willing to experience hardship. This time around in the new season, Reignover will be performing as sharp as a clear-cut blade on the prestigious NA team, CLG. Let’s hear what Reignover has uncovered on his journey and what his goals are for the road ahead.
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¤ It has been a long time since we interviewed you. What have you been up to?
Because in the last season I got eliminated whilst on Team Liquid, I came back to Korea in August and have been resting ever since. After my off-season period ended in the middle of the transfer season (mid-November), I returned to the United States to prepare for my transfer. Out of all the options for teams, I decided that going to CLG was best for me. This is why I went to CLG.
¤ What aspects of CLG did you like? What were the deciding factors?
CLG was a team that I wanted to go to before even joining Team Liquid. CLG is a team that has the same approach to the game as me. I have always liked CLG because they reduce the variables in the game and play intelligently. Because a good opportunity came, I joined CLG.
¤ You have shown great performances overseas by helping not only Fnatic but also Immortals to win. However, your performances this season with Team Liquid were lackluster. What moments were the most unfortunate or frustrating?
All of the moments were frustrating for me. I am the type of player that likes to support my laners and play aggressively with them. This is why I always want to play with very dominant laners. Before I went to Team Liquid, I played a lot with Huni. Because I was too greedy, I didn’t get a chance to play alongside Huni again. It would have been nice if I had a laner I trust and had aggressive synergy to play with. Because I didn’t have a laner like this, I couldn’t play the type of game I wanted to play.
Due to the consecutive losses, I lost a lot of confidence. Because of a lot of problems, I tried my best to work on it together as a team. However, it didn’t go too well. I think the most unfortunate thing is that we all couldn’t play the game the way we intended to play. To be honest, it is true that we didn’t really click when we went on stage.
¤ How was your synergy with mid laner Goldenglue and AD carry Piglet?
Since every player is different, it is hard to synergize with players. The biggest factor in this is that every player thinks differently. Even if you want to improve the vision control of an entire team, everyone thinks on a different scale so it becomes quite difficult.
¤ During the 2017 season, there were drastic changes to the jungle meta. Did you have any problems with the meta changes?
I personally like comparatively solid champions. I preferred damage dealing junglers in the earlier portions of the season. However, damage dealing junglers are only good if they can work well with the team. Because damage dealing junglers did not fit with my team, I couldn’t help my team. I also couldn’t get help from my team, so it was hard for me. Since we can’t make a team comp that is out of the meta, I was forced to play a champion that did not fit well with the team. It was not my favorite meta.
During the World Championship, Ardent Censer was the meta alongside tank junglers. To simply put it, the World Championship’s meta was a meta for me. Although I think if I made it to Worlds I would have played well, our team’s performance was unbelievably bad so we didn’t even make it to Worlds.
¤ Has seeing your former teammate, Huni, from Fnatic and Immortals, doing so well in Korea ever made you think of playing in Korea as well?
Whenever I go back to Korea for break, I always meet up with my close player friends and always talk about this. Although I always have the thought of wanting to play in Korea, I always decide on going to the LCS when that decisive moment comes. Because I don’t really have an issue living overseas, there is no real difference in me living overseas or in Korea. To be honest, I think if I am in Korea, I actually can’t really focus on the game. Comparing the practice regimes and schedules, I prefer the LCS format. However, I still have a desire to play in Korea. I think it would be fun. LIstening to what Huni told me, he said it is really hard playing in Korea. Still, I respected Huni for doing well in Korea nevertheless.
¤ What do you usually talk about with Huni?
Because we are both doing our own things, we don’t talk much during the season. After the season ended, we contacted each other a lot. Because Huni started his career in the LCS, he is not used to the cutthroat system of the LCK. It seems like he is having a hard time with the feedback, player difference, and player relations. Although he didn’t tell me anything too in-depth, I know just because I have played with him for so long. I saw the SKT T1 feedback video, and it was daunting. Huni is usually not the type of person to listen quietly while being criticized (laughs).
¤ I’m going to ask you a very light question. You are famous for being the best English speaker out of the foreign players. I’m curious how you learned English so fast. Also, what are your thoughts on Huni’s English?
From the fifth grade of elementary school to the second grade of middle school, I went to school in Saipan, US. Afterwards, I came back to Korea. Since I learned English prior, it was easier for me to relearn. I have no problems communicating in America now. Of course, I am more comfortable talking in Korean. It is just to the point that I can live comfortably in the US.
Huni is not that good at English (laughs). Still, compared to others, Huni learned English exceptionally fast. Usually, Koreans that try to learn English cannot do so as fast as Huni did. I thought him being in Korea for so long would have made him forget. Because he has signed with Echo Fox, Huni is going to be even better at English.
¤ You have now gotten a fresh start in CLG. How do you view your prospects?
I think I am going to do well. First of all, the team plays intelligently and fits with my style. CLG plays aggressive when they need to and plays defensive when they need to. The meta right now is also a meta I like, favoring solid champions. Although CLG’s practice schedules are a lot earlier than others, I feel good about it. Compared to my former teams, Fnatic and Immortals, the communication is a lot better.
If I were to talk more about how it is in-game, I receive a lot of information from my laners. It feels like if we want to do something, we can. We are fixing a lot of issues right now regarding feedback,so I think we will do well in the early portion of the season. Even if we falter a little during the early game, I think we can bring it back and show good results in the late game.
¤ You have been training with the team for only about a month. If you had to pick a member from CLG that was the most memorable, who would it be?
Although all the players are really talented, I have to say Biofrost is the most memorable player. If you have a talented support player, your life as a jungler becomes so much easier. He does everything he needs to do. Biofrost does an excellent job at executing the calls made by the team. If you want him to do something, he is already doing it. Thanks to him, the game becomes a lot easier.
The ADC, Stixxay, is a very talented player as well. He plays the game smart and safe. Without even saying anything, the mid laner, Huhi, has great synergy with the team. Because the top and jungle need good synergy, I am glad I get to play with Darshan who I am very close to. It is the same feeling as playing with Huni in the past. Of course, I can only truly know when we play together on stage. But I think it will go well. I really like the coaching staff as well.
¤ I have heard that the NA LCS franchising has been improved in many areas regarding the welfare of players. Have you experienced the change as a player in NA?
After the NA LCS franchising was improved, I haven’t felt any changes because the season hasn't started yet. The biggest difference is that there are no qualifiers anymore. Because of this, there has been an increase in new teams and players. It is going to be a lot of fun. Although the overall welfare for players has improved, I haven’t felt a huge difference as of yet. It is true that the overall vibe has improved. There is a lot of pressure because you have to pay a lot of money to the club, but the player's minimum salary has increased a lot. The spectrum does feel bigger.
I think the overall pay is the best in the NA LCS, but this might be different for every player. I do not think there is enough difference to see it alone. Of course in EU or other regions, if you get paid well, you get paid well. I think the one huge upside for NA is that it is a good place to live in. The weather is the best. Whenever I come to NA, I always gain weight.
¤ The runes reforged patch went live. What do you predict the meta will be next year?
The priority right now is to adapt. I really like the new rune system. I am the type of player that likes to play around vision. I like the rune ‘Zombie Ward’ that helps maintain this. Since you can play the game more safely due to the Zombie Ward, I feel more comfortable.
There are a lot of people saying that the new runes are letting champions do insane amounts of damage. In a team game no matter the damage, you can always make a situation where you cannot be killed. In solo queue, the damage dealers are the best. It is fun when you build 3 armor pen items on a damage dealer and one shot people. Of course, this is the solo queue standard. In a team game if the mid or support have even one CC ability, the assassins can’t do much. However, there are still players who use damage dealers in the jungle. Although if a player can be good enough to carry it may be different, I believe that damage dealers in the jungle are not that good.
¤ If you had to give tips to solo queue junglers, it would be?
I recommend getting Zombie Ward whenever you can afford to. It is such a good rune. Regarding solo queue, damage dealers are best. Junglers that make use of armor pen items are top tier. I recommend Kha’zix, Rengar, and Jarvan. Even if you go 0-5 in solo queue, you have a higher chance of winning by going to base and buying armor pen items. Other than Sejuani if you think you are too behind and buy defensive items, you will be put even further behind. Lastly if you duo as mid and jungle, you will have a higher win rate.
¤ In the most recent All-Stars, the LMS and LPL beat the LCK and showed a dominant performance. Many predict the gap between Korea and other regions will be a lot closer. What do you think about this?
Regardless, Korea is really good in international stages. Even if some teams beat Korea in scrims, there are moments when games are not even close against Korea. There is a chance the gap quite small, but the results in the past show otherwise. However, I do agree the gap has definitely closed a little. the LCS is gradually improving as well. Since there are a lot of talented coaches now in NA, the coaches are able to push the NA teams to another level. This leads to the whole region learning from the top teams. If you have a team that is at or above the Korean team in the NA LCS, I think it will be competitive in the international scene.
¤ Do you think the NA slump, which continues in international competitions such as the World Championship, can be overcome?
I honestly don’t know why NA is so bad in international stages. I have always thought that compared to their practices, they don’t get the same results in the international stage. I think it might be because they play a lot and get a lot of pressure. Probably because they have trauma from before. I feel like when a team goes up against NA, they feel comfortable. This thought is important to change for NA’s wellbeing. Everyone feels frustrated about NA’s international performances. As an NA player myself, I would be very proud if I saw NA do well in international tournaments. I really hope that, in the future, NA can deliver some good performances at international events.
¤ It is almost time to wrap the interview up. Could you tell us your goal for next year?
I feel a lot of regret not being able to show my best this year. Since I have started fresh with CLG, I will try my best to perform my best on a new team. I have confidence, and I feel good about it. Whenever I had a good feeling, I would do well in the past. I think CLG will do well, and it will be a lot of fun. Also, since the NA LCS has been changed, I always prepare a lot before a season. Because of this, I am even more confident. I believe a good opportunity has come to me, and I plan to seize it. Since I have never been to Worlds with an NA team, I want to go to Worlds.
¤ Do you have any last words you want to say to your fans who have consistently supported you?
Because I have played so long overseas, I’m not too sure if I have Korean fans (laughs). It has been awhile since I showed a good performance in international events. This time around, I will try my utmost to do well in CLG and give back to my fans . I personally have a lot of greed. I am really going to try my best next year, so please stay tuned. The words I want to say to my fans will increase if I do well next year.