Interview adapted from Slingshot Esports
Slingshot’s Andrew Kim caught up with Team Liquid’s Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin during Week 2 of the North American League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS). They talked (in Korean and translated to English) about happiness, earning a couple wins and the response to his recent Inven interview.
Andrew Kim: First I’d like to congratulate you…
Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin: *clap, clap, clap,*
AK: Congratulate you on beating a Dignitas team that was looking quite strong. How do you feel after the victory?
CGJ: This week has been overall quite disappointing because when we played against Envy, it wasn’t a game we should have lost but lost anyways. But I’m glad we were able to take one match home.
AK: We were able to see your team take a game lead and successfully closing out in Game 3. You guys certainly looked better. Was there a moment when you were like “we got this?”
CGJ: In Game 3 we were very much ahead but I still think we threw a lot as well. We were getting caught out at points when we needed to make things happen, so we lost the momentum we had in the early game into the mid game. The team is putting more thought into what they need to do and they’re much more receptive to me as well, so I’m happy.
AK: I have to ask you about your very heartfelt interview you had with Inven. The readers could certainly feel your frustration through the article. Were there any reactions or changes that followed that?
CGJ: I feel like a lot has changed because the team is very proactive to work harder and in asking about things they don’t know about. Cain (Jang Nu-ri) didn’t mention the interview directly but said that there are some things to keep in mind when we want to win, and that we have to listen to what’s being said. I think that helped the players improve.
AK: Since you’ve moved to Team Liquid and North America, you have been streaming and your stream persona is one that is very bright. You wear some costumes, and even though English might not be your strong suit, you communicate beyond that barrier. Is it kind of creating an image for yourself? Or is it more a way to communicate without having to rely on language?
CGJ: Honestly when I first wore the costume it started out as the team just suggesting I do it, so I did. I don’t think my most recent streams have been that entertaining, but before that I think I had a lot of fun doing it. When I see my old streams I think that I really did have a lot of fun making an entertaining stream.
AK: We can’t take you away from your sense of competition. Where does your sense of competition come from?
CGJ: I think it comes from my dislike of losing. I’m sure I got a lot of hate on Reddit and on Inven after my interview with them, but they don’t know what’s going on with the team or what’s going on with me, so I don’t pay them much mind. I think I just have a hard time losing. When we win, I can think about what we can do in order to do even better, but when we lose, frustration starts to pile up, which is another reason why I don’t want to lose. I don’t want to lose to other players as well, and I feel a part of me thinks that “I can do better than them” even within my teammates.
AK: Do you see this reflected in feedback as well?
CGJ: It has to when you lose. When you win, you’re much more receptive to what other people say, but when you lose you’re much less willing to do so. You start losing faith in the team, and it just spirals downward. This week, Cain was very firm in what he had to say to the team, so I think this week is better than last week.
AK: Players who have been playing as long as you always have opinions on what’s going on in the league. One of the changes to 2018 is the removal of relegation. What are your thoughts on the matter?
CGJ: Relegation and promotion is there to have teams come up from the Challenger scene, and franchising can be a way to make a lot of money. On the flip side, I do feel like new talent will be harder to find. If we look at Longzhu Gaming’s Khan (Kim Dong-ha), I’m sure he was ranked high in solo queue, took a test and got in, but in NA I haven’t seen a lot of examples of high ranking players making their way to the LCS. I think it merits some thought on how to find new talent.
AK: Riot did say that they will change the challenger scene into an Academy League to create a kind of area for new talent. Is this not sufficient in your opinion?
CGJ: That’ll be a league that’s played among new players. I think it’ll be better if the teams think of who they need where, bring them onto the team, and then keep them as a trainee of sorts because new players will be amateurs, and if they are taught properly on what to do, they can improve very well. If they don’t get taught well they can get worse, so finding new talent (with the academy system) can be effective, but having one to three trainees in say top, mid, and jungle, and make them watch the games being played or teaching them how the game should be played, it could be more effective. If someone on the team gets sick we can swap them in and have a prepared new player in the event of players leaving the teams in whatever circumstance.
AK: A comment of “whichever team makes the less mistakes wins” is quite common now. What does a mistake mean to you?
CGJ: I think it can be players just suddenly dying in lane, or being caught out when there is a clear game plan, stuff like that. If we have a game plan, we need to execute that the best we can. But if someone gets caught, the plan goes off the rails. Other mistakes would be dealers getting cut early in team fights, and stuff like that.
AK: To you, what is the largest sense of happiness, in life or professional gaming?
CGJ: I think it’s when you can do something you want to do as a living. I am doing that right now. I aimed to be a professional StarCraft player and made it to the amateur level, and maybe it’s because I am doing what I (love) that I am so competitive or hate to lose. I think happiness comes from that. I have many friends who aren’t doing what they want to do, and are doing things that they really don’t want to. Feeling that sense of happiness from doing what you love I think is the greatest.
AK: Are you happy?
CGJ: I’m happy that I can feel this competitive. If I stopped having that drive, I would have retired, but I still get annoyed and very frustrated when I lose. Winning like we did today after losing still feels so good. That’s how I feel.