Day 1 of the 2022 LoL World Championship kicked off with play-in stage matches. In the final and the most anticipated match of the day between LCK’s DRX and LPL’s Royal Never Give Up, DRX managed to take the victory over RNG. With the meta drastically different from that of the Summer split, DRX drafted and executed a team composition that seemed to keep up with the Worlds meta, something that was much different from the Summer split.
The jungler for DRX, Hong “Pyosik” Chang-hyeon, joined Inven Global for a one on one post-match interview to talk about their win over RNG, adjusting to Mexico, as well as his thoughts on the practice environment.
How do you feel about the victory over RNG, the team that’s considered by many to be the strongest in group B of the play-in stages?
While I’m thrilled that we managed to beat such a strong team like RNG, I’m personally a bit disappointed at my mastery over Maokai.
Many players have tested positive for COVID, so they had to play at an isolated facility. How are you and the team adjusting to the environment in Mexico?
Other players said that they only got 2-3 hours of sleep and constantly have headaches, but for myself, I’m getting 10 hours of sleep and have no jet lag. Other than breathing problems when I’m on the move [due to altitude sickness], I’m doing quite well.
You shared in our last interview that you want to be a pro player who can be comfortably approached by fans. Have you had a chance to meet with some of the fans?
We mostly stayed in our hotel, so we didn’t know how many fans will be here watching our matches. I’m not sure who they were exactly cheering for, but I’m still very grateful for those that supported us.
In the latest video released by DRX, Kingen and Juhan accidentally exchanged Korean Won to Philippine Pesos instead of Mexican Pesos. Can you tell me the back story behind what happened?
I actually just found out about it pretty recently, so I wasn’t there when they exchanged the wrong currency. It’s hilarious though.
What was the game plan for DRX when drafting that specific team composition against RNG today?
RNG is a team that loves to skirmish, so our plan was rather simple; to draft a team comp that counters theirs.
You’ve had good gank angles at mid and top in the early game, but ultimately failed to connect them into kills. Was it more of a champion mastery issue? Or did nerves/not fully adjusting to playing on stage play a part?
I think it was a bit of both. It’s still day 1, so I was a bit nervous and was still getting a feel of what it feels like to play on stage here. Also, like I said earlier, I do need more practice on Maokai.
Speaking of Maokai, what do you think are his strengths and weaknesses?
One of his biggest strengths is in gaining vision through his saplings. On the flip side, he’s a very weak champion early on, so the success rate in his ganks are quite low.
I also want to talk about Hecarim, another champion that has risen in the Worlds jungle meta. What are your thoughts on Hecarim in the current meta?
I think Hecarim’s a champion that can be countered by champions drafted in lanes, rather than a jungler. I don’t think he’s a champion that can be first picked; I see him more as a 4th/5th pick in drafts.
On the flip side, RNG managed to successfully gank top lane three times. What were some of the things that the team talked about in gaining advantages on the other side of the map?
Due to how Vi had to blow her ult and thus wasn’t a clean gank, I remember talking about gaining advantages via the Rift Herald.
Although it’s only day 1 of play-ins, how much of the Worlds meta has changed since the Summer split meta?
In the Summer split, there were a lot of champions that could completely shut down one champion at an extreme level in the meta. While I still think some of those champions are good, I also think that late-game scaling champions are looking good in the current meta, so I’d say the meta’s somewhere in the middle.
Many analysts say that bot laners lost a bit of their carry potential, thus the importance of the mid-jungle went up.
I agree. Hypercarry bot laners like Zeri and Sivir, as well as enchanter supports like Yuumi have lost a lot of their power, so their carry potential has diminished quite a bit. Due to such, I think the mid-jungle duo has to step up to fill in that void and be able to take over the game.
I also want to talk about Champion’s Queue. It’s something I’m sure you’re pretty unfamiliar with; it’s designed for higher quality of practice in North America due to the poor quality of the NA solo queue environment. As I’m sure you’ve practiced in both solo queue and in Champion’s queue, what are your thoughts on both of them?
My experience of playing NA solo queue was that the ping’s too high. I can feel the lag in reaction time. So I stopped playing it. I actually haven’t played Champion’s Queue myself, but based on what my teammates have been saying about it, they did say it’s a better option than NA solo queue. They also stated that the voice comms does help with making in-game calls.
Are there any fun Champion’s Queue stories that you’ve heard that you can share?
On our way to the arena today, Deft said that T1's jungler, Oner, played mid in his game and carried. So he was very happy about it.
DRX stated in multiple previous interviews that they’re slow starters, where it takes the team a bit of time to find their vibe and ramp up their performance level. Do you think DRX is off to a faster start at Worlds this year?
We’re definitely playing much better than we did in the regular season, because there were a lot of problems that we faced at the time. However, we’re nowhere near at the level we want to perform at, so there’s a lot of room for improvement, both as a team and on a personal level.
What are some of the things that you and the team need to work on for day 2?
For myself, I’ll need to work on the finite details regarding champion mastery. As for the team, I think that my teammates are very capable of tackling the problems in front of us, and I believe we can solve them one by one.
Lastly, what’s the biggest goal you want to achieve at this year’s Worlds?
Winning the tournament is something every performing player at Worlds wants to achieve, but ultimately, the biggest goal for myself is to perform well and play without regrets. It’s most important that I prove myself on the biggest stage, and there isn’t a bigger stage than Worlds.
Striving for perfection to achieve excellence in esports