Once again, teams from the LPL and the LCK are at the front of the discussion of who stands as the best region in the world. Few people have more knowledge and experience of this conversation than Wong "Tabe" Pak Kan. The Royal Never Give Up coach and LPL veteran is one of the most experienced figures in League of Legends — helping Royal Club to the Season 3 World Championship Finals, and guiding Royal Never Give Up to incredible success. Inven Global spoke with Tabe, to discuss his thoughts on Play-Ins, NA solo queue, and the Chinese region.
RNG obviously had some challenges during the summer — what would you say the team has focused on to improve for Worlds?
When we were playing in LPL (the Summer Split), it was hard for us because we lost in the playoffs. And then we played the other game against EDG. And we lost again, too. But then we played against LNG, and we were trying really hard. We managed to win the game.
Going into this tournament so far, what went wrong against DRX?
I think the main reason is: we didn't manage to compete for all the map resources, including the Rift Herald and Drakes. We had a lot of mistakes, because we should have secured all of these. And I think that other than the mistakes that we had made, we should improve on our aggression. We have to play more aggressive with that team combo.
RNG has always done well at MSI, but has stumbled at Worlds. What make you confident that you'll be able to change that this year?
To be honest — every year, every season, we are trying really hard. Because every new season it is a new patch — there will be different updates. So every tournament, we want to try our best. So even though we had bad memories in recent years, what we want to do now is to just improve ourselves to expand our champion pool, strategy, and tactics. And I think we are very determined to challenge ourselves and challenge other teams doing to get a better result.
From what you've observed as a coach, what has been the team’s experience with NA solo queue?
I think if the competition level can increase, it will be better for all of the teams.
So I presume that it hasn't been the strongest so far?
NA servers maybe there are not much pros comparing to the Korean server. But I think for our team, everyone is trying their best to play in the server too. Because we have to experience three patches — 12.5 to 12.8. So we have to try our best in solo queue.
Speaking of the Korean server — a big discussion at the moment has obviously been LPL versus LCK. Where would you say the gap is compared to last year?
In my own opinion, this year the LPL and LCK gap is not big. Because it's still in Play-In stage, I cannot tell you the answer of who is better. I cannot have an actual answer. But from the experience when I play in LPL, I think that the four teams competing with the four teams of LCK will be a very tough match. Every game will be very, very tough.
I was curious for your perspective on something, given how long you have been present in the Chinese scene. From where China and Royal Club were in Season 3, to what China has shown in the last few years — what do you think have been the biggest factors in allowing China to seemingly catch up with the LCK?
Since when I was playing in S3 until now in S12, there's a lot of elements that provided to help LPL to being better and better — including the way of training, how we treat the scrims, and how we manage to use our daily time to think of the strategies and draft phase. And also, every LPL teams have very good managerial teams.
It's not a joke, but it includes the chef that helped us to cook the food. Every single employee in the team is striving to help the team to become better. I think every team have their own perspective to reach their own goals. For example, there are some teams that wanted to be the champion, and some teams maybe want top three. So every team is under struggle to beat the opposing team. Also, the most important thing is the Chinese players don't think that they are worse than the Korean players. They are now practicing in the Korean server every day and they have their ultimate goals in their heart is to become the best players in the world. And that's why I think the LPL is improving now.
I write. I rap. I run. That’s pretty much it.