On Jan 14, Hanwha Life Esports defeated Nongshim RedForce with a set score of 2-1. Despite many experts in the scene predicting a victory for Nongshim mostly due to having notable names in their roster, HLE put on a strong showing against NS, earning themselves their first victory of the split.
The jungler for HLE, Kim “OnFleek” Jang-gyeom, joined Inven for a 1 on 1 post-match interview.
Many predicted NS to take the victory tonight. You mentioned on the broadcast interview that you knew you were going to win. How come?
The level I was playing at during scrims made me feel that I was good enough. I feel that we’ve found our colors as a team.
One of NS’ coaches is Lim “Comet” Hye-sung, your former coach at Liiv SANDBOX. How did it feel to face him as your opponent tonight?
I actually met him at the LCK Awards last month. He’s like, “Please go easy”, and I told him that he was already good, but inside, I was like, “No way” [laughter].
Since 2019, you have always been confident in your Xin Zhao. Were you confident that he was the champion that will get you the victory tonight?
I remembered just popping off on Xin back then, so I was confident I’ll play well tonight. I admit that I was innovative with his kit, but I think that all the pros are very good with him now. It’s important to find the right timing to engage as Xin Zhao, and I think I have a keen eye in that regard.
What can you tell us about the game 1 loss on Xin then?
My pathing got screwed in game 1. Also, it was our first game in 2022, so everyone’s fingers weren’t warmed up. I shed my nerves in game 2, and felt that we were going to win; I think that’s why tower dives went well.
Most of HLE’s players do not have that much stage experience. What kind of role is critical for a team like this?
There are times when it’s hard to find direction in the game. While everybody makes in-game calls, it’s great to have someone be more definitive with the direction of the game. Yes, the coaching staff gives feedback, but it’s more effective when it comes from another player.
HLE’s goal as a team this year is focused on the team’s growth. From your perspective, how much potential do you see in your teammates?
Everyone already has some experience in the LCK and the LPL. They’ve already matured quite a bit as players, so I think we just need to hone what we have. Even still, they still lack the experience in the pro scene, so my teammates do lack a bit of in-game knowledge and in executing our macro game. That’s one of the things that our coaching staff is helping us with.
LCK has a lot of really good junglers. Is there a player you think is the strongest?
T1’s Moon “Oner” Hyeon-joon is very good. Whenever I watch him play, I can always tell that he’s very confident in the plays he makes. It’s important for anyone to be confident in their own skill; players like him are bound for success.
Lastly, a word to your fans.
I know that expectations for our team has been low up to now, so I hope to create a team that people can get excited for.
Striving for perfection to achieve excellence in esports