The South Korean national team for League of Legends departed for the Hangzhou Asian Games. The players, Choi “Zeus” Woo-je, Seo “Kanavi” Jin-hyeok, Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon, Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk, and Ryu “Keria” Min-seok left through the Incheon International Airport on Sep. 22, along with the coaching staff, Kim “kkOMa” Jeong-gyun, Kim “Khan” Dong-ha, and Lee “Zefa” Jae-min. The team expressed their determination on their way, mentioning that they’ll do their best to win the gold medal.
The South Korean national team was drawn into Group A, along with Hong Kong and Kazakhstan. The highly anticipated match between China and South Korea will occur if both teams make it to the semifinals.
Esports was selected as a main event in the 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games, following the demonstration event back in the 2018 Zakarta-Palembang Asian Games. A total of seven games will be featured in this event: League of Legends, Street Fighter V, Dream Three Kingdoms 2, Arena of Valor, Dota 2, FIFA Online 4, and PUBG Mobile.
The group stages for League of Legends will begin on the 25th, leading up to the finals on the 29th.
Below is a full translation of the media day interview of the League of Legends national team held prior to their departure.
How do you feel about participating in the Asian Games as a member of the national team?
Zeus: I’ll do my best to perform well.
Kanavi: We’ll be playing in a few days, so I’ll do my best to show a good performance.
Chovy: I’ll show a good performance.
Faker: This is my second time going to the Asian Games. Last time, we won the silver medal, but this time, I’ll work hard to win the gold.
Ruler: This is also my second time. I’ll work hard to win gold.
Keria: We’ll work hard all together to make good results.
Zefa: We don’t have much time left, so I’ll support the players well so that we can have good results.
Khan: I’ll help the players as much as I can so that they can play well.
Wolf: There are only a few days until the Asian Games. I’ll help them so that they can get good results from their hard work.
This tournament is held on the 13.12 patch. How is the tier list going?
kkOma: We’ve been scrimming with teams and making the list. Rather than thinking we’re right, I’ve been continuing to check from various perspectives to see if we missed anything.
The Asian Games schedule doesn’t go well with the life routine of pro gamers. Have you adapted to the schedule?
kkOma: If our game time is early, we have to play at 9 o’clock. We’ll be fixing our routine to fit the schedule.
Esports has become an official event at the Asian Games. Aren’t you nervous? What have you done to improve teamwork?
Faker: There’s some time left until game day, so I’m not sure if I’ll be nervous. I’ve been focusing on practice with a calm mind. We’re thinking a lot about how we can improve our performance. Since I think the best way is to practice building synergy with my teammates, I’ve been focusing on that.
Ruler and Kanavi should know well about the Chinese players. How have you contributed?
Ruler: We haven’t talked about it much, but if we were to meet China, Kanavi and I would have a lot to talk about.
How confident are you to win the gold medal? Which team are you looking out for besides China?
kkOma: Ever since I agreed to lead the team, my goal was to win the gold medal. Considering our players, I believe we can win. Besides China, we’re looking out for Chinese Taipei, Vietnam, and Japan. However, our goal is to reach the top, so we won’t be careless against any other team. Whenever we play, we’ll work hard to fix our weaknesses and emphasize our strengths.
How do you evaluate the teamwork in the exhibition games last week?
Zeus: I think practice games and actual matches are completely different. I was able to see how actual games are through the exhibition games. It was a good experience.
Kanavi: Although it was just an exhibition game, the strategies and drafts the opponents prepared helped us a lot.
Chovy: There’s the tension of an actual game, and it was good since I was able to feel that.
Faker: It was good since we were able to feel the sense of an actual game.
Ruler: As we played in the exhibition games, I wanted to play in the Asian Games as soon as possible. It was good since we were able to see how our synergy was.
Keria: Practice and actual games are completely different. It was a good experience. Both the opponents were good teams, so it was positive.
Wolf and Faker are reunited. How is it?
Faker: We played on the same team for a while, so we’ve been getting along, talking about several things. We’ll get along well during the national team period.
Wolf: It’s been a while since I’ve been in the competitive scene, and as I talked with the players, I realized that I didn’t know as well about LoL. I believe I’m helping to create better synergy as I speak with them.
How is it different to build synergy with Ruler and Kanavi compared to players playing in the LCK?
Faker: I felt that Ruler and Kanavi play a bit differently from the LCK players, but we’ve been working so that their style can become our strength. I believe the teamwork has gotten much better now.
(To kkOma) You’ve utilized the sixth-man strategy before. What do you think about it?
kkOma: It was eight years ago, but I remember it like yesterday. Although it’s a sixth-man strategy, we see through scrims within the team. What’s most important is that we make our decisions based on the players' abilities. We review everything as we make our decisions.
When picking a sixth man, teams usually pick the jungle position, but this time, it’s the mid lane. What’s the background?
kkOma: There’s no correct answer to this. If I have to pick one specific reason, when I form a regular pro team, I can’t have two top-class laners considering the team budget. Since you can’t have such a roster in a pro team, that’s probably why there are no cases like this.
As for the analysts, it’s difficult to bring active players. I’d like to thank the analysts for voluntarily helping out the national team. Currently, the atmosphere is really good. Everyone is doing their best to win the gold medal. I hope everyone cheers for us more.
How is it to lead these top-class players?
kkOma: Personally, I feel that my players are the best players in the world. Whenever I see them play, I’m moved deeply. Players from different leagues gathered for this event. If we’re able to build good teamwork, we’ll show a good performance. Since their forms are top-notch, I’m not worried. I just always think about how to make them even better.
(To the analysts) What is your main focus in aiding the players?
Zefa: My main focus is the bot lane, the flow of the game, and the draft. I’ve been discussing a lot with kkOma.
Khan: I’ve been talking a lot with Zeus about what a top laner should do, and how the top laner can contribute to the team. Zeus is a really good player, so the main topic was about how to build better teamwork and synergy.
Wolf: I’ve been focusing on the bot lane matchups, when to get vision, and jungle movement. Each analyst has been researching where to focus on to win the game easily.
Are there any teams you haven’t met at MSI or Worlds that you think are stronger than you thought?
kkOma: Compared to other sports, I believe there will be a significant difference in raw prowess. We have more than 10 years of data on League of Legends. Through time, considering that other regions aren’t mentioned as much, there’s a clear difference in our prowess.
How did you practice up to now?
kkOma: Up to now, we start practice at 11 AM and close the practice facility after 3 AM. All the players have been working really hard. We’ve stuck to this schedule since we started camp. As the head coach, I tried my best to have them rest more, but it wasn’t easy. We’ll have to deal with jetlag as well, but if we start early, it could be more tiring as well. There are other events the players have to attend, so it’ll be really tiring for them.
(To Faker and Ruler) Any advice to the other players who are attending the Asian Games for the first time?
Faker: Since I believe all the players will do their best, I don’t have any additional advice. We’ll have to maintain our condition, and if they need help, I’ll do anything I can to aid them. I’ve been pro for 11 years. The most important thing is always being eager to improve and learn. That attitude is crucial to be active for a long time.
Ruler: This kind of competition is really special, so they might get intimidated. It’s important to play with an easy mind, thinking of it as a regular competition.
Are there any goals you want to reach as a player?
Faker: The process is my goal, and my goal is to do my best constantly.
Any last comments for the Asian Games?
Wolf: The players worked hard, so we’ll work hard as well so they can get good results.
Khan: I’ll support the players well so that they can win the gold medal.
Zefa: We’ll bring home the gold medal.
Keria: Thank you to those who always cheer for us. I’ll repay you with good results.
Ruler: If we only focus on winning the gold medal, we might not be able to win. I’ll make sure that we do well.
Faker: My goal is to do my best in everything. I’ll work hard to win the gold medal.
Chovy: I’ll win the gold medal.
Kanavi: We’ll prepare well in the remaining period to win the gold medal.
Zeus: As I was selected on the national team, many people are cheering for me. I’ll repay with good results.
kkOma: I’ll make sure that we bring home the gold medal in the Hangzhou Asian Games.