On the 20th of January in the NA LCS Stadium, a broadcast interview was commenced with Huni from Echo Fox who won against Fly Quest. As always, Huni’s confidence was prevalent. However, it was clear he was as equally nervous. So nervous, a fan from the audience could clearly identify Huni’s bright red ears representing his nervousness.
“It really feels amazing. Even in Europe, Korea, North America, I have never lost my first game of a season. My adaptability is really good, and I am trying my very best to use what I learned from SKT to further my success.”
Huni agreed to grab a quick interview with InvenGlobal. It seemed Huni was embarrassed to find out his bright red ears were shown as clear as day on the broadcast interview.
“I am always nervous when I do interviews. I always worry if what I say on interviews will please my fans. Because I have to be aware of what I say, I naturally get nervous when I do interviews. It really feels good to reunite with my North Americans fans again. Since my family all watched the game today, I am extremely happy I got to win in front of my family.
On top of this, it felt good to prove myself and dismiss all the rumors going around about me. I know many people didn’t think too highly of me even though I made it to the finals last World Championship. Although I agree that I lack playing safe and being consistent, I do not agree that I am ranked as the 5th or 6th top laner in NA. Because of this when I practice, I have gotten the mindset to destroy everyone I face when I get on stage. I really don’t want to get underrated like this.”
Talking about proving his talent and potential, Huni showed genuinity.
Being one of the most successful players abroad, Huni had once been apart of SKT in 2017. However, the performance he has shown so far compared to that of his excelling past is a bit unfortunate. While winning the Spring season and qualifying for the World Finals are examples of Huni’s career highlights, the fans were expecting more from Huni, a world class top laner, because he came from such a prestigious team as SKT T1. Perhaps, the fans wanted Huni’s performance to be on par with the 2015 SKT T1. The strongest SKT ever was.
“Although I have moments where I play well and bad, it seems like only regret remains. Now whichever game I play, I can clearly see what I need to do to improve. I didn’t play well during the spring, and I didn’t play that well during summer as well. Overall, I do not think I played well. It was all a learning process, and I certainly wasen’t the best. However, I never thought at the time that I was going to lose against anyone. I practiced more than I ever have during that time. I had a lot of instances when I would get scolded, but I learned a lot from them. I don’t think I was necessarily behind anyone in skill.
From what I learned from SKT? I learned that what I do is really a ‘job’. When you think it is work, it becomes your duty. I think this is very prevalent in Korea. Because you keep in mind when you play or stream that it is your job, you tend to put more effort in. This feeling definitely decreases overseas. You tend to think this is not work. If Korea is 90%, other regions feel like 70%.”
Huni seems to have changed a lot. Looking back at the interview with him in the 2015 World Championship quarterfinals (Fnatic), it seemed as if anything could be accomplished with Huni’s confidence and ambition. Coming from the highlight of his career when he made it to the finals at Worlds with SKT in 2017, Huni has gained some humility. What was the cause of this state of change?
“Coach Kkoma is the best coach in the world, and I will never find anyone else equivalent to him. Although I was in Europe, Korea, and North America, I don’t think I will ever experience what I experienced with Coach Kkoma anywhere else. It really is hard to meet a coach that good. I am always and forever grateful. Even after I left SKT and was about to head to the US, Coach Kkoma looked after me. He would come visit and talk with me. We would even drink soju together. Coach Kkoma was a great deal in my life, and I learned so much from him.
There is a lot of difference between the SKT T1 me and the me after I left SKT T1. On an overseas team, I would have to do a lot in a game. However when I was on SKT, there were so many talented players in each role that I only had to worry about my lane. Because of this, I learned what my role was as a top laner and how I went about it. I realized the importance of one individual player.”
Many fans think that Peanut or Huni should be given the focus for the team in order to shine. However in SKT, both players were not given the spotlight a majority of the time. Do you feel a bit unfortunate that SKT never gave that to you?
“It is understandable that the fans would think that way. However, I just think I played bad. I just had to do what I needed to do but there were games were I could not. There were instances when SKT gave me the spotlight and I didn’t perform well. Thanks to Coach Kkoma, I could always get what I wanted in picks/bans. We have always worked together. With a lot of fun, we worked together. It was just bad on my part that I couldn't produce the results he wanted. I don’t think Coach Kkoma ever restricted my role.”
Talking about Coach Kkoma like he did, we could sense the respect Huni had for Kkoma. Thinking about a few players who don’t respect or listen to their coaches, Huni’s image of Coach Kkoma was remarkably refreshing.
“In this year’s MSI, I really want to meet SKT T1. I told Coach Kkoma that if I met with SKT T1 in an international event, I will win. I still remember how much I was scolded by Coach Kkoma when we would lose. If I win against SKT T1, I know exactly how much the players will get scolded. I want to make the players feel what I felt when I got scolded (laughs).”