On February 23rd (KST), kt Rolster faced Afreeca Freecs in the 2020 League of Legends Champions Korea Spring Split. kt Rolster finally climbed out of their long losing streak with a 2-1 victory. In the third game, Jeon “Ray” Ji-won broke far ahead of his opponent and had a major role in the team’s win. Ray joined Inven Global for an interview after the match.
It was a long losing streak before you got your first win. It must have been a big relief for you. How is it?
Our team had a really bad start. The longer the losing streak went, the team atmosphere got worse. Those who’ve been in such a losing streak would know how the atmosphere is. But the coaching staff led us well. They said even if we’re in a losing streak, we shouldn’t be ashamed and that we should start again with the starting mindset, and I think that’s why we were able to do well today. The players also felt that so we finally broke the losing streak.
Although you have quite a long career, it’s your first time in the LCK. It must have been hard for you because of the losing streak.
That’s true. I really wanted to play well, but my form wasn’t that good. I was impatient as well. My performance in the match against DAMWON was really regretful. Still, I tried to prepare well for today’s match, pulled myself together, and did what I can do to get my first win in the LCK. I had a long career. It’s my 7th year, but I think I’m a rookie. It’s my first time in the LCK so I’m starting again with a mindset of a rookie.
Playing in the LCK as a rookie, how is it different from other leagues?
The strength is really different. Other leagues have no brakes. For example, I’ve played in two leagues among the four major leagues. All leagues have their own styles; the LCK’s plays are very calculated and precise. Other leagues have so many variables so we need to prevent the variables. That was the biggest difference and it was really hard to adapt at first. When I first felt that after joining KT, I thought I should improve myself more.
Do you think that style has its pros and cons?
Each league has different styles and have different priorities. The LCK surely has strong fundamentals. Other players mention the same thing often as well: LCK has strong fundamentals, and still very strong. I agree 100% and am feeling it a lot. I’m learning a lot as well, in a mindset of a rookie.
Ray was always considered as a hot prospect over the seven years. There were good seasons, but it wasn’t as much as people expected. Weren’t you disappointed about that progress?
I had some mentality issues before. It was known to many people. That was the biggest issue for me. My performance wasn’t as good as I thought and the synergy with my teammates wasn’t that good. I was adapting a bit, but then, I got kind of homesick. I was young; I graduated from middle school and went to China after attending high school for just about two months, and that was when it struck.
I was a very inconsistent player. There were problems here and there. Even so, people like Reapered, NoFe, and Heart led me well, and currently, head coach iloveoov is also teaching me well. I think I’m still a hot prospect since I have a rookie mindset again.
Now that you’re playing in Korea, you wouldn’t get homesick.
No, I won't. (Laughs) That’s really good.
Is there someone you’re especially thankful to until this first win?
The coaching staff teachers… I think they’re teachers. I’m still learning a lot. Since I’ve been abroad for a while… I thought I would adapt right away, but it didn’t quite work as I thought. Important values in life get settled around the age 20, but since I was abroad during that time, I tended to do things that aren’t natural in the Korean culture, so I was often scolded at first. They teach me a lot about that and I’m still learning. I’d like to thank the head coach and coaching staff, the mentality coach all for understanding and helping me. That’s why I need to do better.
What kind of player do you want to become?
I used to be a very aggressive player. I really wanted to become a fancy player. When I first debuted, I had the mindset that I can win Worlds. After some time, I was the runner-up [domestically] twice. Looking at myself falling right before the end made me think that maybe I should change my own style, so my goal changed to become a player that the team needs.
I came to KT; pushing through the hard times, falling in a losing streak, although I thought that my goal was to become a player that the team needs, in these moments, I caught myself thinking that I wanted to show something since I came back to the LCK. So I became impatient.
Preparing for the match against Afreeca, I thought back about my initial goal. Becoming a player that the team needs. I was able to get my first win through that mindset and I’ll be doing my best to maintain it. The team comes first; I want to become a trustworthy top laner for the team. I want to become, I want people to think that this player, Ray, is a player that’s not bad.
Lastly, a word to the fans who really wanted KT to have their first win, and to the fans who like Ray.
Hello everyone, it took a very long time until our first win. I’m sorry. I’m really sorry. I really wanted to do well, but I may have been impatient because I wanted to show you myself doing well too much. I’m sorry about that, and I’ll do my best to show better performances so please keep cheering.
To the fans abroad, I feel that you’re still cheering for me. I can’t tend to all of your cheers since I have to concentrate on the team, but I always see it when you cheer for me. I’d like to thank you for all the support. Some day, there may be a chance that I can participate in bigger competitions. I hope to see you then.