Clutch Gaming came back to their original roster in Week 7, but they weren’t able to turn around their tough situation. Although they went 1-1 for the week, they’re still tied at 8th (last) place.
After their loss against Cloud9 on Day 1 of Week 7, we sat down with Nam “LirA” Tae-yoo to have a chat. LirA was quite disappointed at the team’s current situation and had a lot to say about his thoughts over the season.
Let’s see what LirA had in mind to say about the team, Piglet, and Reddit.
I got the feeling that you’re a bit lonely here in the US. How are you?
Rather than being lonely, I’m really bored. I want to go out and do stuff, but this job doesn’t allow me to have that much time.
Don’t you have any days off? What do you usually do during your free time?
The team sends me on activities for videos or contents, so it’s not easy to rest. (Laughs) Recently, I haven’t had that much free time. I just finish that day’s work, meet some other Korean players, drink. That’s about it.
Do you meet Korean players often? Who do you usually meet?
I meet Impact and Mickey almost every week. Reapered too. Other players and coaches come when they want to as well.
Piglet was starting for CG last week. How do you think he is?
I scrimmed with him only once, but when I did, it felt like playing jungle back in the LCK. It was a really fun game regarding macro.
He praised you a lot in our previous interview.
Did he? Playing with him was really comfortable for me. It felt like someone was actually helping me out in the game. It was really fun.
Other than Piglet, Moon and Vulcan also played, and Piglet had said that they were games that CG couldn’t lose. How did you think after watching the match?
Frankly, bot lane was winning big. Usually, the laners think if the team uses the winning lane properly, they won’t lose, and I agree with that.
The players that had played in the LCK get vision around the winning lanes, and get rid of the opponent’s wards in the losing lanes to prevent the opponent from snowballing. But here, they sometimes go to the winning lane, sometimes to the losing lane. I think Moon did the latter that day. Piglet may not have agreed with that decision.
I guess it would be really regretful for him because he was winning lane in unfavorable matchups.
Aren’t the playstyles between the two bottom duos completely different? Piglet-Vulcan is aggressive and Apollo-Hakuho tries to stay safe.
Yes. When I play with Piglet, I have to play with Sun, but his laning is a bit weak. So I care for mid lane more, and we create a lot of fights through that. In recent games, we tried to play safe, and we tried to outscale. The team color became like a defensive mode, so I made a suggestion last week.
Since it felt like I wasn’t able to make plays that I wanted to make, I suggested playing Moon and Piglet. I also wanted to rest because my wrist wasn’t in good condition. So we rotated players around during practice, and I got to play with Piglet too. It felt good to play with him, but since we didn’t have enough time to practice, our original roster was up for this week.
Our team changed a lot recently… Our head coach left and the roster shifts. Everything’s kind of complicated.
How’s the team atmosphere?
I can’t say it’s good. It can’t be very good since the roster keeps changing and our head coach left. We also need to think of our possibilities to the Gauntlet.
Don’t you have a high chance since you did well in Spring?
Well, the Summer Split is a lot more important, so if we’re unlucky, we can’t go. I don’t think we should be too sad about it if we don’t make it since we’re 10th. (Laughs) The 10th team saying “We could have gone to Worlds but we weren’t able to because we couldn’t play in the Gauntlet.” doesn’t make sense. Unless our performance improves significantly, we should just concentrate on our remaining games.
Many fans are saying that Febiven’s performance isn’t like before. They say that he tries to play too safe, and passive. What do you think?
If Febiven goes to TL or a good team in EU… I’ve heard that his laning is really strong, but in our team, he’s an import, so he has to carry, get vision, time engages -- he practically has to do everything. (Laughs) To dominate the laning and do all those other things too is too hard, and we’re not helping him much as a team.
It’s not that he’s doing bad, but it’s because the whole team’s going through a hard time. What’s satisfying though, is that Solo’s performance is getting better and better. We still have a far way to go.
If you practiced with Piglet and Sun as a team, that might mean there could be more changes to the roster?
I’m not sure. If there’s not much I can do like today… Honestly, I wish the team wins even if that means I have to be benched. I’m telling the team to use whoever’s more helpful to the team. Doing only one man’s worth, or less than one man’s worth while taking up an import slot shouldn’t be happening. I don’t really mind the fans’ comments, but the problem is that it affects the game.
If the opponent picks Nocturne, I can push him down by picking Graves or Xin Zhao, but the Xayah-Rakan vs Jhin-Tahm Kench matchup wasn’t good. In that situation, I wasn’t sure if I could put pressure on Nocturne even if I play an aggressive champion, so I decided to play a defensive champion. I actually didn’t know I would be playing Sejuani. After all, I’m a 10th-placed-team's jungler. (Laughs) I just wish our team does well whether or not I play.
You must have lost a lot of confidence recently.
I can’t completely say that -- I can still play solo queue well, and make plays that are possible. Although the summer split is nearly over, our team is still struggling… Maybe that’s just my capability, you know, not doing well in the team game.
I used to be a jungler that helps, gets helped, make calls, and winning by using my head, but now it’s more like needing to win 1v1s mechanically, but I’m a bit too old to do that. (Laughs) It sometimes feels like I’m not that much of help for Clutch Gaming.
I think it’ll be the same whether the team plays Moon or me. It’s quite regretful. I lost so many smite fights… Frankly, I don’t like hitting Barons or Dragons. My communication with the team isn’t the best, so I can’t make detailed calls in critical situations.
The language barrier is an issue; it’s sometimes harder to get out what I want to say in competitions. What’s worse is that I try to go the easy way when the situation tells us to go around a bit. Like getting one kill, and someone says “Baron?” I get tempted, when I know I shouldn’t. That’s really regretful.
Did you read the Reddit post about your Smite?
I don’t read Reddit at all. I’m scared of them. (Laughs) There was a game that I lost Baron, and somebody even counted the smite fight on Blue. I was only hanging around trying to prevent Anivia from getting Blue. It felt like Reddit hates me when I saw them taking even that into count. So I thought I shouldn’t read Reddit since they hate me.
The team or other players tell me that I’m good, but I should be able to deliver good performance during the competition, but I’m not doing that, so I get stressed. You know, I can’t tell the people commenting “Bring Envy LirA, and get rid of CG LirA!” that I’m the same person you know. (Laughs) I thought I should carry the team in the next game, but we lost again.
I have a lot of thoughts recently. I do need to go to the army, so maybe I should play a year or two back in Korea before I have to go. It’s hard. It feels like that I’m not blending in well with the other four players. They’re all really good players.
So you think the team color doesn’t suit you well?
I’m kind of a pacifist, but my team likes to fight. (Laughs) I just want to hit minions, get vision. If the opponent is at top, I just hit the bot towers or dragons. I don’t like hitting the opponent champion, but there’s not much I can do.
Wasn’t it like that when you were in Afreeca?
When we were winning, we mainly hit minions and shifted around the map, but when we were losing, we fought a lot. Personally, I think the good teams move around a lot, reducing risks. In the LCK, the winning team gets all the vision, and punish their opponent if they don’t come out. I like that type of play, but our team just fights. They fight when they meet, they fight before they go get vision.
It would be good if I’m fully adjusted to this type of play, but it’s not like that. Since I’m the only Korean player, it doesn’t work out well. I’m really sorry to my teammates too. Some of them came because they heard I was good, but I’m just trying to get vision and not helping them fight. (Laughs) I kind of felt them being disappointed.
Haven’t you talked with your teammates on this matter?
They all know. How I am. Now that Tahm Kench and Braum became higher tier, the game requires more macro, so they listen to me more. Before, when the picks were like Mordekaiser, Yasuo, or Irelia, the game was more about fighting.
Since your wrist isn’t in a good condition, you should have thought of retiring sometimes.
I think my prowess isn’t that bad to retire yet. I’ve been unlucky my whole career. It’s like being 5th is my best results. I have thought a lot about retirement, but I want to win a championship before I do. I thought I could really win a championship, but it seems like we’ve come too far. (Laughs)
After having a break last week, I was surprised to hear that we were last. I was like “Whaat??” So I thought I should practice more since I don’t want to be the jungler for the last placed team.
How do you like your new jersey?
I don’t know what our previous jersey was made of, but it made my belly look fat, so I didn’t like it. This one might be an overfit jersey, but it doesn’t make my belly stick out so I like it. (Laughs)