On the 24th of February (KST), in Day 25 of the 2019 LCK Spring Split, DAMWON Gaming defeated SK Telecom T1 2-1 and succeeded to extend their winning streak to 4. In the match, Lee “Flame” Ho-jong led the team to victory with a crucial Baron steal in Game 3, letting everyone know that he has returned.
The following is an interview with Flame.
You returned to the LCK in 35 months. How do you feel?
I’m really happy that we won. I’m very thankful to our coaching staff who gave me the chance to perform on stage.
It’s been a long time since you’ve played in the LCK. Weren’t you nervous?
I was nervous when I decided to join a team, and when it was decided that I would be playing, but I didn’t have any nervousness when I actually got the chance to play.
How did you end up signing with DAMWON Gaming?
There was a lot that I learned during my two years in the NA. While I was there, there always was a small part of me that wanted to come back to Korea. Especially, I had some personal issues this year, so I wanted to come back. I made my mind a bit late, so I missed the time period to sign with a team. I contacted several teams even so, and things worked out with DAMWON Gaming.
When my joining DAMWON was announced, many people said that I should be a coach or retire, but since I loved being a player so much, I didn’t want to quit yet. I think I’ll need to deliver good performances in the future, a lot.
You were subbed in after losing Game 1. How did you feel?
As I said before, I wasn’t nervous at all when I was playing. I’m a veteran and I was confident. I thought that I should just do my best. My teammates did well and our draft was really good; I think that’s why we were able to win.
The Baron steal in Game 3 was the turning point. Were you confident that you’ll win at that point?
Our comp wasn’t that disadvantageous in the early-mid game and we thought we would have the upper hand when it gets into the late game. So the moment I stole Baron, I was sure that we would win. The comp was good, and my team is good as well. Personally, I’m regretful for missing some skillshots. I think it was because I was concentrating on shotcalls.
Speaking of shotcalls, are you the main shotcaller in the team?
After having my debut as a pro player, I make many shotcalls in whichever team I’m in. I do the decision making in important points of the game and try hard to collaborate the team’s thoughts to one.
Many players that were active alongside you have left the pro scene.
I cheered for the 1st generation gamers like Marin, Score, and Ambition with all my heart. Recently, Joker in SANDBOX Gaming is delivering really good performance even if he’s older than I am, so I’ve been cheering for him as well. I want to prove that even if I’m old or have been in the scene for long, I can still deliver great performance.
Was there anything the coaching staff emphasized before inserting you?
Rather than pressuring me with things to do, since I may have seemed hesitating and pressured, they told me not to feel pressured because if I go on stage that way, the possibility of winning would go down (Laughs). That actually helped a lot in relieving the pressure.
Any last comments?
I don’t think that we won because I did extremely well. I’ll put in more effort so that I can deliver consistent performance. I’d like to thank our coaching staff and our CEO for having trust in me. I’ll do my best to blend in with the team, and I’d also like to thank my teammates for doing so well.
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