DIG Johnsun: "Aphromoo has shared a lot of his knowledge with me on how to play the game properly."



After Johnson “Johnsun” Nguyen’s League of Legends Championship Series debut, the Dignitas AD Carry joined Inven Global’s Parkes Ousley to discuss his professional history as part of TSM Academy, break down DIG’s team dynamic, and being the only rookie in the 2020 LCS Spring Split.






Hey everybody, Parkes Ousley here with the Rookie of the Split, Johnsun. Welcome to the LCS, how do you feel after your on-stage debut?


It feels pretty good. I played pretty badly, honestly, because I had some technical issues with my mouse. I tried fixing it in-game, but it didn’t work, so I was not playing to the level I should be playing in the early game. Everybody on my team was playing pretty well, so we managed to get the win. We weren’t tilted or forgetting the basic concepts, so we managed to out-macro Counter Logic Gaming and win the game. Also, I’m not a 0% win rate player anymore, so I’ve got that going for me!


Congrats on that! When you played in the LCS Academy League last year, you weren’t on stage at all, right?


I played from back home in Toronto, so I had like 70 ping. At the time, we were on the downturn too. We hadn’t been winning and we had forgotten a lot of core concepts.


How did you get picked up by TSM last year?


I played solo queue back home and streamed some games, and Tony "Zikz" Gray, who was Head Coach of TSM at the time, messaged me. He asked me if I wanted to be part of an amateur team they had recruited players for during TSM Scouting Grounds, so I joined. The potential benefits seemed pretty good, and I thought it would be a good experience.


As I played more solo queue games, my name became more well-known amongst professional players on other teams. I had interest from other teams, and that led to me being promoted to TSM Academy last split.


Were you expecting to be an LCS starter this season?


I'm not going to say I'm better than everybody, but I expected to be in Academy because of the work ethic I've maintained. There was some interest for me in the scene, and at the time, a lot of contracts for AD Carry players were about to expire. I thought I had a high chance of getting on a team, and I thought being on TSM and having that connection might help me find my way onto an Academy team, but I didn't expect to play in LCS. *laughs*


Another rumor that went around when you were an unknown prospect within the TSM organization is that you were some 16 year-old kid. That would make you 17 now, correct?


I'm actually 21, my birthday was in January. The rumor is because we had Rico "Sword" Chen as our mid laner on the amateur team, and he's 16... *laughs* everyone else on the team was high school age, too, so it makes sense.


▲ photo by Colin Young-Wolff for Riot Games



That makes more sense, I was wondering how you were balancing an LCS scrim schedule and high school! Now, while you are older than the community thought, you are still flanked by nine veterans on Team Dignitas with a ton of experience. As the only rookie in the LCS Spring Split, have you been able to soak up a lot of knowledge from your teammates?


When I was on TSM Academy, our coach was Peter Zhang. I had the 'hands' at the time, but Peter Zhang and Ham "Lustboy" Jang-sik, the latter of whom was the Assistant Coach for TSM's LCS team at the time, gave me a lot of basic information and ideas on how to play macro and what not.


I got the basic fundamentals then, but since I've joined Dignitas, I've learned way more. I've learned a lot about the laning phase, for example, because on TSM Academy, we didn't have a dedicated Bot Lane Coach. Aphromoo has shared a lot of his knowledge with me on how to play the game properly. Jonathan "Grig" Armao is very smart in the Jungle, so Bot Lane and Jungle talking together is pretty useful.


Also, we have Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon in the top lane, and both he and aphromoo have a good understanding of macro. It's good to understand and learn, so when something happens in the game, we know what to do so we don't get lost and play a one hour game! *laughs* It's good that I have veterans. I'm a rookie, so if I had a rookie Support, I think I'd run it down *laughs*


I imagine aphromoo is teaching you the most, but aside from him, who has instilled the most knowledge in you so far?


It's not like everyone is telling me what to do one-on-one, but our Head Coach Thomas "Thinkcard" Slotkin has good fundamentals and a good understanding of the game, so he drills those concepts into us. Even though our early game was messy today, we knew how to play mid game, and CLG was kind of lost. So I guess it would be aphromoo; Thinkcard; Huni; Grig. Huni has a high level of macro; I think it's because he was on a Korean team before. *laughs* 


Have there been any big changes in joining Dignitas and playing on an LCS team?


I think a good thing about being in the LCS is that the scrims are better. Most LCS players actually know how to play the game properly with the proper champion pool, so you learn way more than you would on an Academy team. I'm learning how to play at a much higher level than what I would consider normal.





Also, in general, no one cares about Academy. I'm not saying Academy is worthless, but not many people watch it, so not many people see you if you show your potential. If you show your potential, but no one is watching, it kind of sucks. Also, some people on Academy teams don't get the opportunity to play LCS, because maybe the organization wants the player to grow and be ready for the main roster in the future.


The Academy System needs some work, but I do think the removal of circuit points in spring and more academy games on stage should help, so hopefully we see some improvements from those changes. Is there anything you want to say or that you want people to know about you? 


No...I just go home and play League. laughs


Same. Last question: What would you consider your style and identity as a player? We saw you play Ashe in your LCS debut, but that's only one game, so I'd like to hear about the champions you like to play and how you like to play them.


Honestly, I'll just do whatever in lane. *laughs*


Don't say it!


It just depends on the champion I play. We've already seen that Senna and Aphelios are pretty broken in this meta, and Ashe is kind of my pocket counter pick to the S-tier marksmen. Obviously, if I was playing better today, you would have seen more of my Ashe's potential, but at least after the twenty minute mark, I was able to turn on my brain and actually utilize my champion's strengths. On that note, I won't know what my style was until I figure it out more on stage.


▲ photo by Colin Young-Wolff for Riot Games


Well, until then, I'll have to ask some of your teammates about your style.


*Laughs* They'll probably just say I run it down.


Any last words before we finish the interview?


I'd like to thank my old coach Peter Zhang for teaching me a lot when I was on TSM Academy. I'd also like to thank Zikz for scouting me at the time. Also, my old teammates on TSM Academy — Mingyi "Spica" Lu; Nicholas "Ablazeolive" Abbott; Erik "Treatz" Wessén; Brandon "Brandini" Chen —when I joined TSM Academy and first went to the TSM house, they were very welcoming and supportive.


I'd like to thank my Dignitas teammates aphromoo, Grig, Henrik "Froggen" Hansen, and Huni for making me feel no pressure and giving me the ability to play with confidence. I'd like to shout out my friends, family, and my girlfriend back home in Toronto. Thank you to Dignitas for picking me up as their LCS ADC...that's all I have to say.




Uh...we've got Champion; we got Verizon...I don't know what else we got....HyperX is somewhere on my jersey.


We've got it on the back there! Thank you so much for the interview, and good luck in your next games.

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