During last Spring Split, Clutch Gaming had placed in a higher ranking than expected. Continuing their vigor on the 16th at the NA LCS Summer opening, CG won their first game.
LirA’s incredible performance was eye-catching. Picking Graves, LirA secured kills from Level 1. Through this, LirA snowballed the game and took control of the entire Summoner’s Rift. With a KDA of 3-0-10 and a KP of 87%, LirA was ranked 1st on the damage charts. In all aspects, he displayed overwhelming presence.
After their first win, we met and talked with LirA. We asked LirA on the controversial meta, yearning of the Korean stage, and thoughts on tomorrow’s matchup against Echo Fox.
¤ How do you feel about winning your first game?
First, of, it feels good to win. But to be honest, I feel like we won because they played bad (laughs). Since we prepared for all sorts of things, we didn’t get to play a lot of standard team comps. Looking at today’s game, our team composition looks fairly standard. We are still trying to find what is meta.
¤ In what ways, do you think you didn’t deserve the win?
I’m not sure what is good right now. There is no gap between teams anymore. The teams with the better game sense have the higher chance to win. I guess in today’s game, our team displayed a lot of game sense.
¤ In today’s game, you super carried as Graves. However, every game Graves is played in Korea, they lose. How do you rate Graves?
I used to play Graves a lot, so I had a lot of confidence. I think he is okay to play. If you pick strong early game laners and easily help him scale, Graves is a good pick. Due to Korea’s tendency to fight over early game vision, Graves does not receive enough time to scale. In today’s game, we won huge off the Level 1 fight. Since the opponent’s comp was based around Shen-Nocturne, I knew that we had the upper hand if we survived the early game.
¤ A lot of people see the current meta is favored towards junglers. What are your thoughts on this?
If the jungle gets fed, it is really beneficial. It is true that it is a jungle orientated meta. However, every team knows this and wants to feed/scale their jungler. As a result, the best teams are going to be better at feeding their jungler compared to the rest. The top teams are still going to be at the top. No matter how skilled the jungler may be, it is not like the jungler can 1v3.
¤ Although you have said there is no real gap between teams, could you give us an estimate on which teams might be on top?
I am really not sure. Everyone is stressed because they don’t know. In scrims, the teams that used to beat us lose to us and vice versa. Because of this, I am not even sure if we are really good or not. On top of all this, there are so many variables on stage that it is even more difficult to predict. With being in an unpredictable region with an unpredictable meta... it is a meta where the game can be swayed off one fight.
Even though I am a professional player, I can’t properly answer that question when someone asks me (laughs).
¤ Last season, your team performed better than expected. I would assume that you would be fairly positive towards this split. How is the team atmosphere?
The team atmosphere is good. But, sometimes it is too good that we go into clown fiesta (laughs). It is fun though. The goal is to win LCS and qualify for Worlds. I am especially eager to perform in Korea. Every off-season, I yearn for Korea. Although we are all trying our best, I am a little bit worried that teams with better game sense are favored over the hard working ones.
¤ People claimed it is a very strategically focused meta. Is there any chance a hard-working team could succeed?
No matter how hard you prepare, you lose the game off one fight... Regardless of the result, there are going to be teams that experiment. When you look at Fnatic’s jungle Kai’Sa and three supports, it is somewhat an experiment. Because of this, our goal is set high. But, I am not sure if we are closer or further to it than before.
¤ I heard you are homesick. Don’t you think that bringing Koreans on the team will help?
Since I am a jungler and I have a bit of age, it would be nice to order the other Koreans around (laughs). If I say "I have been a professional player for 5 years", it usually works in Korea. It is for certain that the culture here is vastly different from that of Korea. In this aspect, I do need more Koreans on my team (laughs).
¤ Last time, we took you to a healing camp. Did it help your homesickness a little bit?
I do think I got better from the healing camp. I used to dislike speaking English. However recently, I am actively trying to talk to my teammates. I would swear when playing, and you can now tell when I am tilted now. I am not sure it is because my team read the healing camp interview, but they are nicer now. Also since it is a jungle orientated meta, it is quite a lot of fun for me.
¤ Do you like the current meta?
All is good, but I just wish they stopped playing support in the mid lane with the jungler. It sort of feels like it is more luck focused instead of skill.
¤ In Korea, a lot of unique styles are emerging from countering these comps.
In NA, there are still not that many teams using this support mid lane strategy. Despite not preparing against this strat, I’m scared that we will lose to this if we face against it on stage.
Korea always tries to try something new. Here, there are a lot of meta slaves. NA mid laners seems to distinctly like and prefer AP mids more. There are a lot of EU mid laners in NA and they all prefer AP mages.
To be honest, I am not too sure that mid support is even that good. It really is kind of burdensome. I already feel a bit uncomfortable during the loading screen.
¤ Tomorrow’s game will be against Echo Fox. What are your thoughts?
Because we lost quite easily to Echo Fox last season, I want to win against them. Since the last winning team is able to trash talk a lot, Echo Fox did just that. This is why I want to destroy them.
¤ What do you think will be the focal point for the game?
I think the bot lane will be very important. I believe top is the least influential right now. If we focus on Echo Fox’s top and mid, it will be a much more tedious.
※ This interview was conducted during Echo Fox’s first game. Huni lane swapped to bot lane during the game.
¤ Lastly, is there anything you want to particularly say?
I desperately want to participate at Worlds in Korea. Due to my performance being a bit lackluster last split, I have a feeling I am going to do well this split. I have changed. I think I will be able to mend with my team more.