In LPL, EU LCS, NA LCS, in Latin America and GPL, Korean League of Legends players are all over the world. Sometimes, there’s a Korean player in one of the teams that we don’t know much about. In the stove league at the end of year 2017, many players have headed to the Turkish Champions League (TCL).
Most gamers don’t know TCL well, but many have heard of 1907 Fenerbahçe. They competed in the last Worlds representing TCL. The results weren’t very good, but they engraved the names Fenerbahçe and TCL to the fans.
On the 9th of January, we met 1907 Fenerbahçe in Korea. They came to Korea for boot camp with the help of KeSPA. From Kim “Frozen” Tae-il, to the new members, Lee “Chaser” Sang-hyun and Onur “Zergsting” Ünalan. The below is the interview with the players and head coach of 1907 Fenerbahçe.
Q. You’ve visited Korea for boot camp before your season started. How is it being here?
Frozen: We originally planned on coming here for boot camp during the summer, but everything didn’t go as planned, so we had to come at this point. The teammates were looking forward to the food the most, mostly chicken. We’re planning on trying different types of chicken every day.
KeSPA helped us a lot to arrange scrims with LCK teams. We are learning many things currently, and the whole time is very helpful to the team.
Berke “Thaldrin” Demir: It’s my first time in Korea, and I can say that it’s pretty amazing and it’s different from what I expected before coming here. Our goal as a team was to improve every aspect of play, in team play and individual play as well. We were aiming to adapt to the new meta before other TCL teams do so that’s why we came at this time of the season.
Q. You have been playing in the KR server for a few days, how was it?
Onur “Zergsting” Ünalan: It’s been like 5 days. The solo queue and the game is very different from EU. Everybody plays the team game, and they are very strategic.
Thaldrin: In my opinion, Korea solo queue is way better than the other regions. I’ve played in China, NA and EU. I can say that every player here respects the game more, and they try their best compared to any other region. Mechanically, and teamplay-wise they’re better than other regions. I think Korea solo queue is better than any other regions.
Q. What kind of aspects do you want to take out of the boot camp in Korea the most?
Head Coach Pades: We’re trying to catch the meta. We are doing our best to deliver better team play and we expect to make improvements in mechanics and team fights. The Korean teams play a lot different from what we’ve been playing against, so we expect to make many improvements.
Chaser: Korean teams play the macro game more than TCL. I wish our team can make improvements on the ‘team game’.
Q. Chaser and Zergsting are new to the team. Why did you recruit these two, and what are you expecting from them?
Pades: There were many improvements within the team with them coming into the team. Improvements were made in both pick&ban, and playstyle. I think with these improvements, we will be able to compete in not only TCL, but in the worlds level as well. Both are aggressive players, so we will be able to play more actively than before.
Q. Many Korean players have gone to TCL. As a local player, what do you think about that?
Thaldrin: Last year, Frozen came, and was successful. I did think that if he was successful, more Korean players will come. TCL will become a more competitive league and I also think that next season will be a hard season. There will be more Korean players playing in TCL and I think that this will be helpful in developing the league and getting to Worlds. I think this year, it would be hard for us, Fenerbahçe to compete as well.
Frozen: What Thaldrin said was exactly what I said before (laughs). When I first came to Turkey, I said that if I deliver good performance here, more Korean players will be coming. And that became true. TCL will become a harder place to compete in. Most Korean players will be teaching their teams about the ‘team game’, but I’m not ready to lose. Our team will be also making up better team plays and play smarter. We just need some time.
Q. What’s the most memorable food you’ve had in Korea?
Ege Acar “padden” Koparal: Samgyeopsal. It was good.
(Note: Samgyeopsal is pork belly barbeque.)
Frozen: It’s hard to find pork dishes in Turkey. It’s not that it’s forbidden by law, but it’s hard to find.
Q. You had a hard time in Worlds 2017. What did you feel during the competition, and how was the feedback?
Frozen: Actually, it was fortunate to have 3W 1L in the play-in rounds. All teams were very close, but after we entered the group stage, everything changed. The mechanics in lane fights were different already. The players were in a level that we haven’t experienced before. They were players that were the best in their regions, so obviously, they were good. The results weren’t good since I was being shook up when I had to be the pillar holding up the team. One mistake didn’t matter much with teams that we were able to defeat. We just needed to make a comeback. However, top teams dug into that mistake and clinched the game. We really learned a lot.
Thaldrin: The teams we met at the group stage were really strong. Teams like RNG and SSG. They sealed off our play taking advantage of one small mistake.
Q. How is the communication within the team?
Frozen: I talked about this in an interview before. Turkey uses their own language, but fortunately, my teammates all speak English quite well. I wasn’t very good at English but they understood the fractions of sentences I spoke. I was able to understand what they said as well, because they spoke slowly.
Zergsting: When we play games, we use three languages. Bot lane uses Turkish, the mid and jungle use Korean but we all speak English, so there aren’t many problems.
Q. (To Chaser) How do you feel playing in a new team?
Chaser: Since Fenerbahçe is a prestigious team in Turkey, I was looking forward to having good environment. I am very satisfied with the environment. Just a small downfall: when I first went to Turkey, the food was mainly vegetables. I like meat, so it was a bit frustrating, but after some time, I found some enjoyable dishes, so I’m happy enough.
Q. TCL isn’t as known as NA LCS or EU LCS. How is it like being a player in such a league?
Frozen: In Korea, I was always striving to play better, pushing myself constantly. When I first came to Turkey, it was the same, but I was less stressed. I don’t know why; even if I play with the same mindset, it’s less stressful. Here, there’s no pressure on when to wake up. The time is scheduled properly, but nobody actually feels obligated to keep up to that schedule, and no one considers that as doing something wrong. Everyone tries to not get stressed. Maybe that’s the secret to being more efficient.
We start practice later than other teams. Scrim starts at around 5 o’clock. From what I remember, in Korea, we started around 1 o’clock. This isn’t something that we can change much. We usually scrim with teams from other leagues, but normally we are the ones to request the other teams to play with us, so we have to match their time zones. The problem is, that the teams from other leagues don’t prefer scrimming with TCL teams, so we can’t say much even if they cancel on us. This is the hardest thing in practicing. Canceling a scrim is a very impolite, but we can’t say anything.
About the environment, it’s really comfortable since no one puts pressure on each other. Well, I’m the one who always nags the teammates. Once I wanted us all to play solo queue until 3 AM. If we were satisfied being good in TCL, that wasn’t necessary, but I wanted to go to Worlds, so I always put pressure on my teammates. Sometimes they didn’t like it, but they did their best to do as I said and we were able to go to Worlds.
Chaser: I think being a pro gamer is same in all regions. It’s difficult to find differences. I guess the biggest difference would be that there’s more freedom and everybody minds their own self compared to Korea.
Q. (To the Turkish players) What did the Korean players tell you when coming to boot camp to Korea?
Thaldrin: Frozen always said that the Korean solo queue is different from EU. He emphasized the fact that the team play is completely different. In EU, there’s nearly no team play; it’s like putting together completely individual players, they tend to make more solo kills rather than play the team game. In Korea, the team play is different. Even from solo queue. About the culture, many things are in common. Frozen told me a lot about it, but to think of it, I don’t remember much. (Laughs)
Q. Lastly, can you each share your goals for this year?
Zergsting: I just simply want to win. Since I don’t have any experience in international competitions, I want to go to MSI and Worlds. Getting to the quarter finals at Worlds is my goal.
padden: It’s the same for me. MSI, Worlds, and getting to quarter finals.
Frozen: My first goal is not losing to Korean players. I want to have good results in international competitions and do what I want to do afterwards.
Pades: I want people to remember our names, last year was a bit unfortunate, but this year we want to do better.
Chaser: I want to participate in all international competitions, and I want to have the team know better in the world. I also want to deliver good performance against the Korean newcomers.
Thaldrin: I’ve been in every MSI except last year. Although my streak was broken, but I want to continue to go and show what I’m capable of.