Olleh had a huge smile on his face when he arrived at the interview. He said that since he’s the only Korean on the team, he hasn’t been able to speak Korean for a long time. Olleh was extremely excited and spoke so much, hardly taking a breath; it was as if he was given a voice after going a long time without one. Although Olleh was always naturally talkative, it seemed he got a lot of positive energy from Golden Guardians.
"We may be close to last, but by the end of the season, we'll have a good story to tell," Olleh said. The following is what the Golden Guardians support Olleh had to say.
Since there are no Koreans in the team, your English should have improved significantly.
When the other players teach me slang, I listen and use it. Nowadays, I dream in English and talk to myself in English, saying f**k rather than using the Korean word for it. Why am I like this? I sometimes laugh at myself because I’ve started using English to express myself. I don’t know; it feels like I’m losing my identity as the Korean Kim Joo-sung and growing a new identity.
Is it very different living and staying with a team without Koreans?
I’m very close to our bot laner. Sometimes, it’s more comfortable than when there’s a Korean. For example, when I was with Flame, he’s older than me so I needed to be polite because of the Korean age hierarchy culture. I needed to think more when I was talking to him. But with Deftly, I can say anything without any filters so it’s more comfortable in a way.
You moved from Team Liquid to the Golden Guardians. Compared to your former teams, how do you feel recently?
When I was in Immortals, people used to say “Olleh knows how to play the game.” But when I moved to Team Liquid with that performance, I was in the shade. I was known as the player who plays Tahm Kench or Braum next to Doublelift. They thought I often made mistakes and Doublelift had to cover for them and carry me out of trouble.
I’ve been thinking that I can show them once again that I’m doing something. Plainly speaking, Golden Guardians was in last place last year. We’re still last, but I have faith that if I put in a lot of effort and do well, our results will rise. As Griffin had their dramatic showing in the LCK, I want to show something similar here at Golden Guardians.
Up to now, looking at what the team has done, is it going as you intended?
In my head, I deleted the four losses we had in the beginning. Back then, we weren’t able to play as a team. We each did what we wanted to do and everyone tried individual plays. According to my calculations, we’re 3-1. The 1 loss we had was against Team Liquid, and our performance that match was really good, but we still lost.
What’s really good about our team is that the feedback is very quick when it comes to each others’ personality or way of speaking, and it’s usually changed by the next day. If there were 100 problems before, now there’s only about 20. It’s quite interesting to see such rapid change. When I was in different teams, those kinds of things didn’t change easily, but with this team, it’s different. Even Froggen changes really fast and the games go smoothly.
Who changed the most?
For prowess, Deftly changed the most. The personalities are all the same, but Froggen changed a lot. Every night, I talk with Deftly about things and if we give feedback from that, things change very quickly. That’s really interesting.
You look very happy compared to when you were in Team Liquid.
Recently, I don’t even drink. I’m very happy; I never knew the US was such a good place to live. When I wake up in the morning, the sun greets me, there’s not a single cloud, trees shake mildly in the breeze; I sometimes think this is like heaven. With that mood, I join four friends who always smile a lot and practice.
The best thing part of my day is our Korean chefs. When I say I like some kind of dish, they make them for me and it’s extremely delicious. I gained a lot of weight because of that. I eat two bowls of rice all the time.
You’re the only Korean player but the chefs are Korean?
Yes. Everybody really likes Korean food. For breakfast, we have scrambled eggs, but I pass on that. For lunch, we get pork belly with lettuce, ssamjang, and spicy chicken ribs. I always think to myself ‘Diet starts tomorrow’ and just gobble everything up. Sometimes the corn salad and ddeokbokgi makes me extremely happy.
*Note: Ddeokbokgi is a spicy rice cake dish.
Team Liquid’s chef was American so the food was mainly western. I had to eat steaks with potatoes and that didn’t suit me well. I don’t really understand the people who like steaks so much. People should eat more rice. I’ve become so healthy now.
What do you think about the players who joined Golden Guardians this season?
We lost all matches up to week 2. In week 1, I tried to do things which caused problems. In week 2, the upper half’s synergy wasn’t very good. Starting from week 3, we all agreed to renew our mindsets and play the team game more. Everyone knows what is needed to win. Now, no one’s being stubborn and we’re trying our best to play the team game.
At what percent do you think the team’s prowess is up to now?
I think we’re at about 40%. 100% would be Griffin’s Viper. I think at around 70%, we’ll be better than Doublelift and CoreJJ. I think my communication skills are more fluent so we can show better performance. Last time when we played against them, people thought ‘GGS bot duo is doing better than expected against TL bot duo’. The next time we play against them, I want to change that to ‘Huh? GGS bot duo is beating TL bot duo?’ After that, it’ll change to ‘What? GGS won the championship? GGS bot is the best!’
We may be close to last, but by the end of the season, we'll have a good story to tell. Players that each lack a bit gather up and give a performance that improves by the day. I still tell my teammates: “Let’s go to MSI.” We all play solo queue up to 1 AM after scrims and exercising for an hour. We actually want to play more, but the coaches keep us from doing so. We think a lot about the current situation, what we can do to improve. We’re always positive.
Do you have anything you want to tell your teammates through this interview?
At first, our team didn’t have trust in each other. I was someone who was thrown out of Team Liquid because CoreJJ appeared; Hauntzer, pushed out of TSM by Broken Blade; Froggen, a guy who had a 1-year break; and Contractz and Deftly were players that finished last place last year. We each had a label on ourselves and it felt that we were mutually conscious of that.
When we got to know each other better and got closer, that label disappeared. After removing the labels, we all trust each other, exercise together, and are happy. I hope we can continue to win in this situation.
*Image source: Riot Games