[Interview] TL CoreJJ: "Since we were eliminated from Worlds so early, I had a very long break... I’ll make our vacation short next year."

A whole year has passed since Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in joined Team Liquid. It was quite a successful year for CoreJJ, although Team Liquid didn’t do that well at Worlds. He won both spring and summer split championships and got an MVP title for spring. Team Liquid even reached the finals of the MSI as well.

CoreJJ was relaxing during his long break, claiming that he hasn’t been on such a long vacation since 2016. We talked briefly about Worlds, reviewed his year in Team Liquid, and about the season to come.

How have you been after Worlds?

Ever since I’ve first set foot on Worlds in 2016, I’ve never had such a long break, even if it’s the offseason. During my break, I’m trying to get rest and exercise a bit. I also started Youtube recently. I’ve been doing things that I wasn’t able to that I didn’t have enough time to do.

Why didn’t you have a long break before?

When I was in an LCK team, I went to the finals… (Laughs) That was one reason, there was a season where I was busy discussing contract terms, and we also had KeSPA Cup to prepare for. I wasn’t fully relieved when the season was over. This time, I think I had some quality rest.

How was Worlds?

Rather than having regrets, I was sad. It was different from other Worlds. Last year, it was really regretful. How it felt was that we (Gen.G) should have been able to do better, but we didn’t deliver, but this time, it seemed quite clear that our opponents were better than us.

Even so, we did our best to show good performance, but it felt that our opponents were simply better than us; they deserved to get to the knockout stage. The NA region lacked prowess as a whole. That’s why it felt sad.

You’ve played with new teammates for a whole year now. How was it?

It was really fun. It was a new experience for me. There were things that I used to do in former teams but don’t do here, and there are things I didn’t do before but do here. When I left Gen.G last year, I wanted to learn and experience new things, and my expectations were fulfilled.

Was there anything that was especially memorable?

There’s nothing specific that comes to mind, but I think everything I did here was special. This year, I thought whatever I did was completely new so it was all special.

There should be some expectations or goals you had when you joined Team Liquid. How much of those would you say that you’ve accomplished?

Although Worlds results were regretful, just looking at what we did as a team in general, it was meaningful. I’ve never had a domestic championship before, and I got it here, got an MVP, and went to the finals of the MSI in an NA team. When I left Gen.G last year, I thought that I wanted to play with Doublelift and I did. I don’t regret my choice.

In the team interview you did before Worlds, your teammates called you cocky. But it wasn’t clear that they were joking or not.

They don’t say that often. I do criticize other teams when we all watch games together, though. You know, it’s like watching a soccer game criticizing each and every play. (Laughs)

People say you appeared on the Inven Support community website and asked for Zyra rune settings before.

I think that was during the preseason. Playing this game, I don’t think what the pro players choose is always right. There are so many people who are really good at this game. They approach the game theoretically and analyze all the little things. I try to browse around to gather as much information as I can and read the guides written by those people. That actually helps a lot. This time as well, I’ve been looking for Senna guides because I still don’t have a firm grasp.

Now that you’ve mentioned it, how is Senna?

Senna seems really good, but she doesn’t feel like a support. The ranged support champions aren’t used as much because it’s dangerous - she seems like one of them, but with higher damage. I think she should be played a lot differently from how we play now. Her specs are really good though.

Aren’t there many one-tricks in the NA solo queue? Do you get help from them as well?

If someone one-tricks a champion and that champion might appear in the pro scene, I add that person and ask things. It’s good to learn their perspectives, but it’s still hard to know from that. What they usually say is that I’d know if I play enough games. (Laughs)

Do you often visit community websites?

From time to time, I just go and read what ‘s happening. It’s really fun to read in the offseason since all kinds of news is there. It’s more interesting to read because I’m not involved in whatever’s happening.

There were many player moves during the offseason. What was the most surprising for you?

It was interesting that CuVee and Haru are playing together again, this time in a different team. Both of them were my teammates back in Gen.G.

In that matter, Broxah joined Team Liquid. How do you think he’ll be? Have you talked to him yet?

I’ve talked to him through DM, but I don’t quite know how he’ll be because I haven’t met him yet. He seems nice as his looks suggest. I believe he has a great personality. We’ll be able to have a fun year. I have a good feeling about him.

The new season is coming. There’s a lot changed in LoL. Have you played much?

I played enough to get used to it, but I really don’t like the new alley under the bot lane. It now feels that I should use wards in the bottom brush during the laning phase. It’ll be hard if we don’t have control over the path. There shouldn’t be many changes in the laning, but it’s really awkward. It feels much more comfortable when there were two long brushes like before.

So rather than utilizing it, it’s more uncomfortable?

It’s true that you can make many interesting plays through that, but personally, it seems a bit messy. It may be because there aren’t many people that utilize it well, but it just feels like a nuisance up to now.

How about the dragons?

Each dragon is less effective, but I think it’s a good change because there’s another way to win this game. There were two ways to win before: destroy the Nexus or get Baron. Now there’s another way: continuously killing dragons. 

Do you think the pro scene will see much change due to the changes?

I think dragons are a positive change. The teams have more choices now. Even more diverse plays are possible. I heard that the turrets’ defense was buffed as well. Now demolishing the turret after a 5-man dive would be harder to pull off. The teams that aren’t good at ending the game can just simply keep getting dragons. The dragon soul buff is really strong.

The rosters of most of the teams in the LCS are finished. Is there a team that looks strong? Any bot lane?

All the images I felt of the teams during the last year have been diluted. None of them look stronger or weaker. Each and every team can be strong or weak. Since it’s all mixed up, we’ll have to wait and see until we play them. I rate the C9 bot duo very high, and EG is well. I think it’ll be fun to play against them.

Why do you think there were so many moves after Worlds this year?

I think it’s just a trend. Personally, I think the other teams follow how top-tier teams formed their team. This year, the “super teams” of each region did quite well, like G2 or SKT. Other teams would think ‘if we sign several super players, we’ll do well’.

At the beginning of 2017, we (Samsung Galaxy) didn’t have any roster changes, but we won Worlds. After that, going into 2018, I remember that there weren’t many changes in the rosters. At that time, they probably thought having good teamwork is better, and that was the trend.

This season, signing new players is the trend. In that matter, I’m looking forward to how Gen.G would do. It seems that they won the stove league (Laughs).

You’ll be participating in the All-Stars Event this year.

It was something I wanted to take part in someday. I’m honored to go there as soon as I came to the LCS. I heard that it became more fun, so I’m planning to go and have fun.

Is there anything you have left to say to the fans?

We really did well during LCS season, but since we were eliminated from Worlds so early, I had a very long break. At first, it felt good that I have a long vacation, but I don’t think I’ll ever get used to having a long vacation. I don’t want to rest. I’d like to do my best to get higher at Worlds. I’ll make our vacation short next year (Laughs).

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