A face that hasn't appeared in the scene for a while appeared. It was Chae "Piglet" Gwang-jin. He had been playing for Clutch Gaming Academy, but this week, he had a chance to play in the LCS.
However, his chance in the LCS ended in two losses. It could have been unfortunate because the opponents were teams tied at first place, Team Liquid and 100 Thieves. Although some fans said that Piglet's performance was good, his future is unsure.
We talked to Piglet after the match, who was going through a lot of stress. He spoke of a behind story during the offseason, and about his current and future.
It’s been a while since you played, but you lost both games this week. Aren’t you disappointed?
Today’s game, yesterday’s game -- we shouldn’t have lost any of those matches. In today’s game, the opponent Xayah-Rakan had only half of their health at Lv.1. I thought the game was over already at that point. They can’t beat us in that situation.
However, Vulcan was saving his Flash and died. If he used it properly, Xayah and Tahm Kench would have just exchanged Flashes, so we would have the initiative, but the game went wrong after he died.
In the late game, I told my teammates not to give up Baron. The opponent needed Baron to close the game, and I told them not to do anything, but they started fighting at top all of a sudden. I felt that the game was over then, and I couldn’t do anything but help them out by getting there on Tahm Kench’s ult. The game tilted then.
Yesterday, we were ahead in laning. We were pushing in the lanes and hitting the turret, but we weren’t able to snowball. If it were up to me, I would have told the jungler to come bot, and care us. If only he was around the river near bot, he could have given pressure to the opponents. But I was criticized so much for calling for the jungler too frequently, I tend not to call for the jungler.
To come to think of it now, I really regret not calling him. The NA junglers really don’t know where to gank, dive or get vision.
You must be really stressed out to play in an academy team.
I wanted to join an LCK team, but during the offseason, a person ruined my year, or my whole career. I can’t say who, but if that person reads this interview, he would know.
※ We don’t know whether ‘that person’ is a male or female, but we used ‘he’ for fluent translation.
That person promised me something, so I didn’t look for any teams during the off-season. No team in KR nor in the NA. The players in the NA made a chat room to share information, but I didn’t even go in there.
I may have been too naive, but if he told me a bit earlier, I wouldn’t have joined an academy team.
He promised me to talk terms about the contract and told me to wait to be tested. I put everything aside for that. He was a person that I really liked and respected, so I trusted him and waited. I really wanted to join that team. At that time, I played solo queue a lot. I played like 20 games aiming to do my best at the test.
While I was waiting, the offseason came to an end. As a result, he didn’t keep his promises, and I lost the chance to join any team. I tried to find a different team, but no slots were available. They all had players in my position already. I was crying and drinking for like a month; fortunately, CG contacted me and I joined the team. Now I really hate that person.
You must have been hesitant to join an academy team.
Since I missed out on all the chances, I had no choice. There were no teams in NA or Korea that I could have joined. But one thing that’s positive is that I become an NA player next year. That was the only thing that made me join an academy team.
Frankly, if only it wasn’t that incident during the offseason, I would have been able to make a lot more money. No one is interested in the academy teams; only my team is interested. Although I become an NA player next year, this is the most regretful time period of my pro gaming career.
You were on the starting roster this week. How did the team decide to start you?
The team decided to try out Moon, Vulcan, and me. But we lost twice. It’s so regretful because both games were games that we can't lose.
Then you don’t know how it’ll go next week and on?
I don’t know. I came here thinking that I’ll win both games this week, but I didn’t. I was really excited to play in an LCS match again. On my next chance, I’ll make sure I win.
You met Team Liquid and 100 Thieves, who are in first place. It was a difficult matchup.
I wouldn’t say that the matchup was difficult. Xayah-Rakan having half HP at Lv.1 doesn’t make sense, and it didn’t make sense that we continued to hit 100 Thieves tower during laning with that comp. I didn’t feel that the opponents were strong.
You weren’t able to play with Lira. It must have been because of the import rule.
Once, Apollo had a personal issue, so I played a scrim in the main team. In that scrim, Lira was really good. His pathing in the jungle was very neat, and he knew how to gank. I think he’s a splendid jungler.
Like you said, you'll become an NA player starting next year. Your value will rise in the NA. How do you think your future will go?
When I went to boot camp in Korea, I worried to myself ‘What if my prowess decreased a lot?’, but when we got into scrims, I didn’t lose in lane. I’m still confident even if I go back to the LCK.
In my opinion, there are no players that have good laning anymore. I heard that in Korea, they teach the players not to fight if they don’t have their jungler nearby. I think otherwise. Even if the opponent jungler comes, playing aggressively just as much as I can avoid the jungler is good. That’s how a good player should look like.
If all the players play aggressively only when they have their jungler, and fall back when they don’t, it’s too easy to play against because it’s so predictable. Playing well with slight risks is knowing how to play the game well.
I think that’s why China won recently. It’s not the level of play Korea used to show. Griffin, on the other hand, is doing well. Tarzan isn’t predictable, and all three lanes win in lane. They start snowballing if they feel that they have the advantage.
Other Korean teams don’t do anything if they don’t have their jungler. They try to play too safe and try to play too perfectly. I think they all should learn from Griffin.
Maybe it’s because they’re afraid of being criticized for making mistakes.
If it were up to me, I’d try to kill twice if I died once. I’m not saying they have to make tons of risky plays. Reducing risks is good, but they have to play more aggressively at minimum risks, yet they don’t do anything anymore. The game gets boring, and after a single teamfight, the game’s over.
It’s a difficult period of time for you. You must have been discouraged a lot and could have wanted to quit. Is there a reason you’re still here as a player?
I’m still playing because I want to win another championship or get to Worlds again before I retire. I think I’ll be able to retire with an easy mind if I do. Ever since I came to the NA, I haven’t won a single championship, and I’ve never gone to Worlds. That fact is bothering me so much.
If they knew how to use me well, it would have been easy to win. I think no team knew how to use me properly. If I win lane, there were no people that were able to snowball off that. The first two years after I came to NA are the most regretful.
I’m not a very selfish player; I do my best to help the team. I even buy three pink wards from time to time. I always look for the best way to the team's victory.
Are you willing to continue as a player?
I thought many times of quitting gaming. Especially more at this time, but I’m so competitive. I don’t think my prowess is bad enough to retire yet. If I thought I wasn’t able to beat my opponent, I would have quit right away, but it’s not like that at all. So I can’t retire yet.
It’s been a long time since the world saw me. I went to Worlds in 2013, so it’s been five years already. If I retire, I want to prove that I’m still alive and well before I do. That’s the only way I can rest in peace.
Many people in the LCK scene doubted your prowess since your solo queue rank wasn’t that high.
That’s true. I’m not that good at climbing the ladder. But when I won Worlds, I was Diamond 1. Even in the NA, I had been in Diamond 1. Before I became a pro, I was good at climbing the ladder, but now, I don’t really feel like getting high. I don’t think that prowess is too much related to solo queue rank.
There was a time an NA player hit rank 1 in Korea, but he didn’t play well in the competitions. I think he placed last in the following season. I’m not criticizing that player; what I wanted to say is that the solo queue rank isn’t that related to prowess.
Do you have any last comments?
Trash-talk is my middle name. (Laughs) I have been criticized so much because I was overly honest during interviews. I like speaking my mind instead of saying fake stuff, pretending to be nice. When I read the recent interviews, they’re no fun. I just hope the fans think of me as a fun, honest guy.
Actually, I want to be less outgoing, you know, I’ve been hearing insults long enough, but I can’t help it. Some of the fans like me because I talk straight, so I guess I like those fans. (Laughs)
I know there will be people insulting me because of this interview, but I hope you insult me in a fun way. I like fun insults. I just hope you don’t insult my parents. (Laughs)
※ Note: Insulting someone’s parents is regarded as the worst insult in Korea.
I’m not sure if I’ll stay in the NA or go back to Korea next year, but if I do go back to Korea, I’ll show you more of my straight interviews live.
Your attitude reminds me of Imp.
I really want to play against him again in games. I hadn’t had that much fun ever. Back then, we both thought ‘I won't ever lose to him. I can never lose to him.’ After Imp, there’s no player that makes me think like that.
We settled down all the bad stuff we had between us, so I wish there’s a chance for us to sit down and have drinks, talking. Back then, we were furious at each other, but now I think I can talk to him laughing. Even if we meet again, we’ll still go like “No, I’m better than you still.” but maybe I’ll just be generous saying “Yeah, you’re better, sure.” and laugh it off.