Ashley Kang caught up with Arrow at the end of NA LCS Week 3, who shared regrets and resolutions about the current state of OpTic Gaming, whether he saw Team Liquid winning NA LCS and his promise to shave the OpTic Gaming logo into his head if his team goes to Worlds.
“I’m very regRetful…I think we could have turned Both the C9 and Echo Fox games around.”
We’ve just concluded Week 3 of the NA LCS. OpTic Gaming currently sits at 1 Win and 5 Losses, not the best of scores. Looking back at the last three weeks, how do you feel and do you think you could have done anything differently?
Ah…I’m very regretful about Week 3. I think we could have turned both the C9 and Echo Fox games around.
The team had split ideas about the games. Whether we should be focusing on lane phase or on rotations and team-fights. Our in-game communication could have been better in otherwise winnable games.
I also have regrets about our picks and bans. We had the opportunity to pick champions that we had more practice in, but we missed the opportunity to do so.
So other than Nunu or Urgot, there were champions that you as a team had prepared, but did not pick for last week’s matches?
Yes. As of what champions – I can’t disclose here.
For the Echo Fox game, it looked like you were able to stall the initial lead that Echo Fox had for quite some time. Do you think you could have turned that game around?
There was a point in the game when both Baron and the Elder Dragon were up. I think we should have contested at least one of the objectives. However the team’s shotcalling wasn’t unanimous, and we ended up giving up both objectives.
How is your chemistry with Lemonnation?
We’re not aggressive as a bot lane; we focus on going halves in the lane phase and playing smartly, then gaining advantage through macro and map control.
Do you have any team resolution going forward in NA LCS?
It’s not a time to be complacent, for certain. Our goal is reaching playoffs. We need to focus in scrims, we need to practice more efficiently, we need to become more productive.
“I think Team Liquid is solid, but they might not be the team winning NA LCS”
By now, you have gone against most bot lanes in NA. Are there any ADCs or bot lanes that you consider to be threatening, or you’ve found especially difficult to lane against?
I’d say Doublelift. Not only Doublelift himself, but he now also has Olleh besides him. The two together make a very solid bot lane.
Team Liquid as a team, overall, looks solid.
Could you elaborate more on Team Liquid “looking solid”?
No single lane in Team Liquid seem fallible. Team Liquid’s bot lane obviously has Doublelift and Olleh. Their top laner, Impact, also is a laner that does not easily falter. Pobelter, the mid laner, has also been uniformly good. The jungler is very consistent and powerful. Xmithie, he has a very manly playstyle, won’t you say?
In that case, would you rate Team Liquid as a likely contender for winning the NA LCS?
I’m not so sure about that. I think they will likely qualify for Worlds, but as of coming 1st, I’m not so sure.
There are other teams who are just as good, but maybe less consistent, more aggressive in terms of their playstyle. C9 and Echo Fox both have strong laners that are capable of playing aggressively. TSM has been erratic, but they could step up again again any time.
I do not believe that NA teams are capable at retaining their pace and composure when the opponent team decides to play aggressively and opens up many small skirmishes across the map, shaking up the game. If that happens to Team Liquid, their solidity might falter.
“When I won the MVP, fans of Hauntzer seem to have been DisaPpointed…These things hurt you.”
Let’s talk about your previous teams a little. How did you feel about winning MVP for the 2017 NA LCS Spring Split?
I was… Initially overjoyed. I remember doing an interview for receiving the MVP award, but I don’t even remember what I said on the stage. I was so swept away.
However, some fans of Hauntzer seemed to have been disappointed that Hauntzer did not get the MVP. So they were…I was…(pauses)…yeah. It was regretful; these things hurt you. You can never have the approval of everyone.
Don’t get me wrong, most Hauntzer fans did congratulate me. However a few radical Hauntzer fans decided to be vocal about me taking the MVP.
Then, from winning MVP in Spring, Phoenix1 dropped to 9th place in the Summer Split. That would also have given you a lot of mixed feelings.
(Laughs) Yes. At that time… (Pauses) It’s funny how quickly the time passes. It felt like an eternity then, but when I look back, it’s already a past long gone.
All defeats happen for a reason. As for my losses, I was maybe very weary at that time. My mental health was slowly corroding away, like a health gauge bar dropping.
Ryu also took a break during that time. Do you think this mental slip was not just you, but a team-wide phenomenon?
Possibly. It all seems hazy now. One defeat followed another, and the fall from grace gained a momentum. Most of all, it was very regretful. As a team, we knew that we were much better than this, and opportunities were still often laid out in front of us, but we weren’t able to seize them.
But at least the team came back during relegation – promotions.
We were filled with a determination to not get relegated; it was our last stand. Despite that, we later found out that it didn’t mean anything, relegation, promotion; because the franchising kicked in. (Laughs) I guess it didn’t matter in the end.
Do you still catch up with your ex-teammates, Ryu from Phoenix1 or players from KT organization?
Was it a week ago – Or was it two? Ryu came over with Ssumday and we went to karioke together. We do still keep in touch.
A group of ex KT players also recently went skiing together. We even took a group photo together. (Starts listing ex KT players) Wait, please don’t mention the list in the interview. If I missed out any player, I’d feel bad.
“I’ll shave Optic Gaming into my Hair if we go to Worlds…I think these kind of Commitments are fun to carry out.”
Any professional goals for this year? Is it Worlds, possibly?
I never seem to look that far ahead. For now, our goal is the playoffs. However, if we do reach playoffs it will mean that we have earned the right to progress further and our goal would elevate to Worlds. Slowly, one thing at a time.
Any personal goals for this year?
I’d like to eat healthy and go to the gym. I’m one of these weird people who managed to lose weight after coming to NA, and I dropped from 84kg to 81kg. That wasn’t a bad feeling, so I’m looking to drop down further to 75kg.
It might mean that you’d have to give up on chicken wings!
Ayyy, no! (Laughs) As long as I don’t eat chicken wings at night, I should be fine.
Talking of goals, when you were playing for KT and went to Worlds, you shaved “KT” on the side of your head. Would you do the same if OpTic Gaming went to Worlds?
Of course I’ll have to do that, if OpTic Gaming goes to worlds. (Laughs) That’ll be fun. That’ll be really fun to do actually.
Can I get that as a commitment from OpTic Gaming Arrow, no bamboozle?
Yeah, I can promise. I can do that much if we go to Worlds. OG that stands for OpTic Gaming. I think these kind of commitments are fun to carry out. Going to Worlds with a team is almost always a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so why not?
Any last words to your personal fans, and the fans of OpTic Gaming?
To my fans – Always, words are never enough to describe it. I receive a lot of love from my fans, and I sometimes feel the this love is undeserved. So I thank you.
To the fans of OpTic Gaming – I don’t feel like we are in a completely bad situations. The games are close, we see potential but then we lose the matches anyway. That’s why I think the regrets are even bigger.
This is a time to bring in that extra effort. I will continue to give my best and put all efforts in – So please believe in us, and continue watching us.