TL Olleh: "I think TSM is most likely to challenge the throne...I get the feeling they are going to play like never before."

There is a saying “Sometimes by losing a battle, you find new ways to win the war.”. Olleh is on the verge of this very moment.

For the past few months, Olleh has tasted both victory and defeat. Experiencing both the title win of the NA LCS Spring Split and the elimination at MSI. However, the lingering image was weighted more heavily towards failure. Olleh revealed the story behind his lackluster performance at MSI without filter.

Despite the setbacks, Olleh’s voice was not filled with regret and sadness. Rather, his hunger to train harder was more prevalent. His mind plagued with the sluggish performance at MSI, we got to hear Olleh’s determination to qualify for Worlds. Containing both wit and genuinity, we exchanged a pleasant conversation with Olleh.

¤ What were you up to during the off-season?

I felt I had lacked a lot during my performance on the international stage. During the off-season, it was difficult for me to figure out what I was exactly doing wrong.

¤ In what areas did you experience a lack of?

When people attacked me, I acted like I was fine on the outside but in truth, I was hurting a lot. I put special care of my mental state just to ensure I wouldn’t get hurt too much.

¤ By attack, do you mean criticism?

I didn’t take criticism from my teammates too well.

I have learned a lot from MSI. Every single game at MSI was exhausting. I am trying to control my mind to the point that I can play games as I do at the NA LCS. Through this, I will be able to go to international events without strain. I am trying my best to play the same whether I'd be against a strong or a weak team.

¤ This year’s Worlds will be set in Korea. Does this mean anything to you?

I have lived and wandered overseas for a long time now. I have yet been able to show my parents what kind of stages I am performing in. If I get to go to this year, I want to invite my parents to show them at least one game.

¤ Up till now, you have participated in a lot of international events. However, like you said, your results were not as good. Do you think it will be a bit different from now on?

Last Worlds, I was too relaxed. On the other hand, I was too nervous at MSI. This time, I aim to find a balance. It seems I don’t really have a middle ground (laughs). I’m a bit extreme. When I practice, I turn off my phone and only focus on training. When I have fun, I go completely mental.

At MSI, I also experienced a problem with my champion pool. I was unable to play Rakan at MSI. My mastery on the champion was not high enough to play it against the pros there. Since we were forced to ban him instead, it was obviously a huge loss for us.

I told my coach after MSI  "I am going to master Rakan by summer and play him". If you look at my ID in solo q, Rakan is my most played. I played Rakan excessively. This is why I was confident in picking Rakan on Saturday’s game. Since I won, I knew the practice paid off.

¤ You have recently been going to multiple international events. Does this intensive schedule ever tire you out?

I actually prefer it. I am sort of a 'nerd'. I’m too lazy to go outside. As long as I have one computer, I can easily live and eat by myself (laughs). At a certain point, League became the only life I knew. When I had a girlfriend, I had the ‘Olleh’ life and the ‘Joo-Sung Kim’ life. Now, I just have the ‘Olleh’ life. I’m very satisfied.

¤ Recently, the bot lane comps have diversified. It must be weird to see non-Marksman champions be played in the bot lane.

The concept of bot lane remains unchanged. But, I am not used to the damage output of some champions. Once, I attempted to trade with a Vladimir. I was not too sure how much damage a lv 3 Vladimir could do. I got melted. I thought to myself 'Huh... I guess I died?'. I think I need a lot more practice.

¤ Is Doublelift also practicing non-Marksman champions?

Of course. Since every other region is playing it and saying it is OP, you cannot help but try it. If we decided to not practice non-Marksman champions, it would be because we are either lazy or we still think Marksman is extremely strong. It is not ever a problem if you win. It is when you start losing with ADCs that people say things like “Why are you guys not adapting to the meta?”. Doublelift and I are duo-ing and practicing some picks in solo q.

¤ Not only bot but mid-jungle also received some changes. The Yi-Taric comp is surfacing. What did you think when you first saw it?

I first saw it in solo q. At that time, I did not know too much about the meta. I thought 'are these guys inting? Is it mid open?' (laughs). In chat, I said "These guys are trolls, right? That is so funny". Then strangely, my teammates told me "Dude, that is actually OP". I automatically hit the question mark ping (laughs). Once, Master Yi came bot at lv 10. I died in 2 seconds. At that point, I realized 'Oh... this is damn busted'.

However after I went against it a few times, it is actually kind of nice if you’re bot lane. Solely because you don’t get ganked (laughs). If you are confident in the bot 2v2, you can actually just solo kill their bot lane and grab a lead that way.

¤ In the EU LCS, Heimer-Fids came out.

That’s Aftershock Fiddle, and it makes me so mad/aggro (laughs). When Fiddle throws that small scarecrow with his stick like figure, you want to go in as a CC support so damn bad and think "Isn’t he one-shottable?". But as you go in, Fiddle procs Aftershock and sucks your hopes and dreams. He sucks like a mosquito. Just thinking about it makes me stressed (laughs). I think this meta invited a lot of frustrating champions.

¤ Do you think it will be beneficial for a team to try risky meta-strategies? Will it be more likely due to the BO1 format in NA?

If Afreeca Freecs came to the NA LCS, they would easily do a clean sweep. Alongside their sheer practice numbers and risky (gamble) picks, there is literally no answer. For instance, if someone picked Heimer, we have no idea how to play against him. However, teams that scrim against Afreeca will know the weird picks and know how to counter them.

¤ What is the most interesting pick you have encountered in scrims?

Hmm... there was nothing too interesting except Pyke. There were times when we got crushed by Pyke and times when we won against theirs.

I want to be the first LCS support to play Pyke. I am currently practicing him in solo q. The only thing I am afraid of is Aphromoo picking it before me (laughs).

¤ I would assume the goal for this split is also winning the finals. Is there a team that you think could challenge the throne?

Like what all teams are thinking right now, I think TSM is most likely to challenge the throne. They always have a lot of practice. Also, because TSM didn’t do well last split, I get the feeling they are going to play like never before.

Especially, Zven. He has played 200 more solo q games than me. Not to mention that I am ranked first on my team for grinding solo q. It made me question if I didn’t practice enough. It made me reflect. Of course, I did go to MSI (laughs).

I need to be more motivated. Although I won the finals for last split, I try not think about it too much. I am going to prepare for this split as if we are the underdogs.

¤ Do you have a personal goal for this split?

Since I didn’t perform well at last MSI, I want to go to Worlds to prove myself. Whether it is outside or inside the game, I am going to be more diligent than ever. Through my social media, I revealed all of my current problems to my fans. I want to show them that I fixed my problems. In the end, it all just comes down to showing them what I got.

¤ Lastly, is there anything you want to particularly say?

When looking back to the first day of MSI, we could have beaten Kingzone. In the game against EVOS, we lost not because they played well but because we kept throwing. Due to us losing all of those games, it was extremely difficult. Unlike other teams, we even went to Europe earlier to practice. Our efforts easily went to waste. In that situation, I heard so much criticism that it broke my mentality.

Because I was being incredibly strained out, the coach put Joey as the starter instead. Only when I sat down on the bench, I got to objectively see my team’s mistakes. I want to implement the experience from MSI to Worlds this year. By analyzing the games from a coach’s standpoint, I am going to attempt to play the way a coach will want me to. I have learned a lot from MSI.


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