On the 20th, I met two of the jolliest men I've ever seen. They were the coaches of RNG, this year's MSI champion. The two red-faced men calmed down and sat in their chairs.
"It feels so surreal. My mind feels blank; I can't seem to think of anything to say, really. I'm way too happy right now. I haven't felt like this since my time in CJ during IEM. It's been 4-5 years."
"I'm just as happy as head coach Kezman, but whenever I win, I get reminded of everyone that has helped me reach this point. I'm also thankful for all the RNG players -- not because they won, but because it reminded me of last year. The players asked me to stay, to remain together for the coming year . When I heard the players say that, I felt that we could reach greater heights if we trust in each other. So I decided to stay."
"Along with coach Kezman, many people who put their trust in me joined the team. Once again, I'm really grateful. Many LCK teams scrimmed with us as well. There's too much for me to talk about, so I won't -- but I just want to say that I'm really grateful to have had so many people that helped me."
In 2018, Kezman joined RNG to eat at the same table with Heart. Heart had been with RNG a year prior to Kezman.
"I'm a perfectionist, so I always preferred working alone -- taking all the responsibility for myself. But as time passed, I found it inefficient and exhausting. When head coach Kezman arrived, however, he told me that we should help each other and split the responsibility. I started following him and it became easier for me to work."
Hearing the word, "perfectionist" can lead someone to believe that Heart is a cold, level-headed person. However, that wasn't the case. When Heart speaks to his players, you can truly feel the friendship that he has with them. In addition, Heart speaks to the players in Chinese without a translator -- in fact, he can do entire interviews in Chinese.
"Since I'm in a position where I have to scold the players, it's difficult to get close with them. However, I told the players time and time again, 'let's break that standard and treat each other like family.' I told them that we need to trust each other and that we should be at ease when we're around each other. No matter who was at fault during a game, we need to love each other in order to move forward, I said."
"And honestly speaking, my Chinese isn't that great. I'm actually kind of embarrassed of it. I directly spoke to the players in Chinese, so that we can feel more connected."
Kezman then told us that he was first expecting to join RNG as a coach and not the head coach. He also mentioned that initially, he was worried that many arguments would've arisen between him and Heart. But that didn't become the case at all, as Kezman stepped back and gave room for Heart to work.
"While watching Heart work, I thought to myself that I shouldn't interfere with his work. Each and every coach has his own coaching style -- a specific "color" that they have. I didn't want to taint Heart's unique color. Also, Heart has a very tight bond with the players, so I simply decided to become a figure that'd give support and advice from the back when it's needed."
"Even when others doubted and criticized Heart, I trusted him -- because he'd do the same for me. We had very good synergy. The only weakness that Heart has is that he is sometimes indecisive because he's always trying his best to impress everyone. I helped him a lot in that regard."
The synergy that the two coaches shared brought major improvements to RNG. A high-spirited coach that embraces his players with warmth, and a detail-oriented leader -- it was a strong and effective combination. Coach Heart then proceeded to explain how strong RNG was this tournament.
"During the MSI, I felt that our team was truly powerful when I noticed that other teams were learning from us. Whenever we played something new during practice, the other MSI teams copied us. Although we didn't get great results during groups, we weren't necessarily in a terrible state. It's just that the players felt too much pressure."
"I also feel that the meta shifts depending on which region wins a tournament. There isn't a "single best" meta. If we end up countering a meta that everyone thought was the best, then that counter will become the meta. In my opinion, "the champion is the meta." During this year's MSI, we made the meta."
A victory is valuable, as it's the result of working hard to overcome fear, rage, and expectations.
"Today was a historical moment for me. I was also overflowing with confidence after finding out that my practice routine and methods were effective. I had always discussed with Heart about what's best for our players... and the methods that we decided to use were all proven to have been effective today. I'm overflowing with joy."
"I joined a good team. I have a reliable coach and players that had faith in us no matter how difficult the situation became. I had always received criticism in Korea, so when so many great things happened for me in the LPL, I became ecstatic."
"It felt so worthwhile when looking at the kids grow as players. They saw a lot of improvement during my time in RNG -- as players, as men, and in many other ways. Of course, it's not only due to my teachings, but I'm still proud of myself for having been a source of guidance for them."
"In truth, I'm also maturing along with the players. Back then, I used to handle tough situations immaturely; like an amateur. I had a mindset that I should just stay quiet and take all the responsibility if things go wrong. I want to apologize in that regard. Although I had already personally apologized to them, it's the first time that I used an interview to do so. I'll continue to improve and grow."