‘A player that deserves to be named MVP for every single series’, ‘A player that will receive offers from every team if he becomes FA’. These are some of the evaluations from esports officials on a player that is now going into his second regular split. This player is Griffin’s jungler, Tarzan, who claimed the 2018 KeSPA Cup without losing a single set.
The LCK has been a tough stage for rookies. However, Griffin, a team that finished second place in their debut split, was a team with genius players that delivered outstanding performance. Even among those geniuses, Tarzan stood out as one of the best. It’s so hard to imagine to what extent this player could improve after a few more years.
While the 2019 LCK profile photoshoot was on its way, we met up with Tarzan in the LOLPARK. As an ordinary person myself, it was difficult to understand what a genius thinks inside of the game. However, it turned out that Tarzan, as an individual, was also an ordinary young man.
You’ve won the 2018 KeSPA Cup without losing a single set! Did you expect this to happen?
No. I didn’t anticipate this since we haven’t practiced with all the teams. After winning the trophy, the 2018 LCK Summer Finals came to mind. I thought, ‘if I won that time, this is what I would have felt’. Well, I do think that we’re quite ready going into the 2019 LCK Spring Split. It’s a relief that we’ve prepared well as a team.
A lot of officials and fans have picked Griffin as the number 1 favorite after seeing how dominantly they performed. What are your thoughts on this?
I think we’re not yet ready to accept that kind of evaluation. Since we still have a lot of time left, I’ll have to see what happens in the regular split. The other teams will do their best to prepare like we’ve been doing as well.
Your individual performance was outstanding. Most notably, you performed very well using off-meta picks such as Sejuani and Taliyah. Why did you choose those champions?
I just picked safe champions. In truth, being on champions such as Kha’Zix and Camille makes it harder to recover after finding yourself at a disadvantage. I simply used champions that are safer and can help the team. Still, it does not mean that I thought my laners would win their laning phase; I also considered the possibility of them losing as well. Sejuani and Taliyah are champions that can impact the team in the mid-late game with lower risks.
Although it might be a bit too early, you are evaluated as the best jungler. What’s your take on that?
I think I have more to prove. I’m not too sure about that evaluation. Still, I’m confident I can perform well.
We have to mention your past split. Although you earned notable achievements such as advancing to the finals as a promoted team, you lost in the finals. The opponent came from behind and won; it was very close. How did you feel at the time?
It was so close. I think we were caught off guard a bit. I wanted to win as fast as possible and lift that trophy. This thought made us rush. Our head coach told us that we lost because we were in a rush.
At times, you seemed to be outperformed by Score. What were your thoughts after going against him?
He’s a veteran player so I thought his plays were very skilled and experienced.
Griffin lost against Gen.G in the qualifiers and failed to get to Worlds. Weren’t you sad after failing to fulfill your goal of performing in Worlds?
Actually, I’m more frustrated towards the loss in the 2018 LCK Summer Finals than the Worlds Qualifiers. I don’t really remember what happened during the qualifiers. Well, I just wanted to win the LCK if I was to get to Worlds. Eventually, we lost and failed to get to Worlds, which was a pity.
Fans speculate that if Griffin made it to Worlds, it would have gone differently. Rumors say that Griffin had very impressive results when you scrimmed against some of the best teams in the world.
Because our team was not able to qualify for Worlds, I believe it is meaningless to imagine the ‘what if’ scenario. China won because they played well. It is true our scrim results were good. However, there is a huge difference between practice and live games.
Looking at the LCK, many teams, including SKT T1, have gone into rebuilding their roster. What are you expecting?
As of now, I have no clue. Because there are a lot of talented teams, I would have to play and watch the games throughout the season to get a better grasp. Based only on the Kespa Cup, it is nearly impossible to make any predictions. One thing is for certain: whichever team creates the best synergy will be extremely powerful.
Do you think Griffin can continue their success and performance from Kespa to the 2019 LCK Spring?
Since there is a whole other element of luck involved in League, I honestly don’t know. (Q. What do you mean by the element of luck?) Case in point, when minion waves meet exactly at the halfway point, it is all luck as to which team receives a favorable wave/push. The state of a lane is crucial in stage games.
Many people are curious about your train of thought. On a daily basis, what goes through your head when you play?
I always play with the mindset to create the best plays I can put out. All you need to do is look for a way to win without making mistakes. If you don’t make mistakes, you’ll play the game well. And if you play the game well, you won’t make any mistakes. I repeat this infinite loop. It is easy for me, but it might be quite difficult for other people (laughs). If I were to give a tip to plying solo q, it is, of course, not to make mistakes. Due to League games being unique from match to match, you need to be good in the grand scheme of things.
The Mid-Jungle carry meta still persists. If you were to pinpoint one important aspect in today’s meta, what would it be?
Since objectives spawn so frequently, it is of the utmost importance to contest them. Because of this, teams favor champions that are impactful regardless of their ultimates.
In an interview after the Kespa Cup finals, Sword explained that cvMax removed the limitations for the players. Could you explain what he meant by this?
I believe Sword meant that we are able to play a much bolder style of play in matches now. This is because you tend to play more passively during tournaments. Despite this, it is not like we play extremely reckless games. Essentially, we have the mindset to play exactly how we played in practice. We always try our best to be proactive and bold.
What is Lee Seung-Yong like as a person compared to your stage name ‘Tarzan’?
I am a very shy person, but I have gotten better over the years. It does feel like all I do is play games (laughs). Whenever I met up with my friends, we talk about a variety of things. However, recently, everyone is going to the army. Hence, I was unable to meet a majority of them. During leisure time, I either sleep or watch Youtube videos. Recently, I have really loved What’sup man’s Youtube Channel. I also watch a lot of movie review channels.
What is your goal for 2019?
I desperately want to participate in an international event. It is a pro player’s dream to win an international tournament. I want to experience new things in 2019.
Lastly, is there anything you want to say to your fans?
A lot of fans constantly tell me how fun it is to watch our games. However, we are not purposefully playing the game in order to make it entertaining. We only play the way we do because it is our way of playing. Going forward, I will try my best to make the games even more entertaining than they are right now. I hope to see you guys at the 2019 LCK Spring Split.
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