Liquid CoreJJ on Rift Rivals: "the thing is I don’t want to lose."

"We’re just fighting for our pride only. I just don’t want to lose any games."

League of Legends's Icon Brian Chang · 25 Jun 2019


Photo via Riot Games

With two clean victories in week four, reigning champions Team Liquid secured control of first place in the LCS heading into Rift Rivals. The three-time champions, despite an uncharacteristically slow start, seem to be getting back into a groove.

Upcomer caught up with support Jo "CoreJJ" Yong-in after the team’s win over Clutch Gaming to discuss the team’s first few weeks, what he thinks of Europe as a region, and his opinion on Rift Rivals as a tournament.

You guys are now back in first place. How does that feel?

This start is not like our Spring Split start, so I don’t feel any, “we are the best team. We’re the top team.” It’s early in the season, and it’s whatever if we’re first place or not.

Yeah, this split didn’t begin for you guys the way we expect from Team Liquid. What do you think happened?

I don’t know. Nothing special happened, just they played better than us in the moment. It’s best of one, so we can lose anytime, we can win anytime. I think that just means we’re a pretty good team, but we are not a perfect team. 

This split the standings are a lot closer than last split, where we had a clear gap between Cloud9, Liquid, TSM, and then the rest of the league. Are you three still the top three teams, or is it much more even than before?

A lot more even I think. Last split definitely, there were only three or four teams. Definitely top three teams, and then one of any -- it could be any team. Only four teams were good, like competing for winning, but this split I don’t know. Anyone can win.

Why do you think that changed over the offseason?

I hope this is better for LCS. I hope that it’s because everyone’s skill went up. If everyone played well, then it’s good.

You’ve had a lot of experience playing in both NA and in Korea. There used to be the idea that there was this large gap between the east and west in terms of skill. What’s your take on it?

I think even at Worlds in 2016, 2017, western teams weren’t that behind. I think there was a mental block, like “Oh, they are so good. Korean teams are so good, Chinese teams are so good.” I think that made a gap, but the basic skill -- there wasn’t a gap, even back then.

Now I think everyone knows like, “Oh, we can win. We can win against them.” They can play their game. I remember a long time ago, when NA teams played really bad at Worlds, they didn’t play [that way] in LCS and then they played differently at Worlds. “What’s wrong?” I thought. I think that’s the problem. There was a mental block.

I think it’s gone. If G2 wins Worlds dominantly, everyone will get mental block against G2. I think for now, for the upcoming Worlds, everyone can challenge G2.

Talking about G2, they’re coming next week for Rift Rivals. How are you feeling going into that rematch with them?

I hope we meet in an important match, and we win a high match like at Worlds finals or something. For Rift Rivals, this competition shows NA’s pride, EU’s pride, so I don’t care that we meet G2 again. Rift Rivals is just, I’m going to play for NA vs. EU only.

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How do you think NA as a whole matches up with EU?

I cannot easily say because I have played only against G2, but overall G2 lost in EU and we lost to G2, so maybe EU is good.

Have you guys prepared for Rift Rivals at all?

I don’t know how people normally think about Rift Rivals, but the thing is I don’t want to lose. 

In the past, some players have called the tournament a waste of time. How do you feel about it?

I don’t like it. I don’t like the tournament. We’re just fighting for our pride only. I just don’t want to lose any games. 

Last year, I was watching Rift Rivals, and it was really, really fun. I think the tournament has not much motivation for players. It was really, really fun to watch last year.

So now talking about what happened in today’s game, you guys keep getting Sona. In the rest of the world, it has a much lower priority than in NA. Is it super strong, or are you guys just really good at it?

I think we are really good at it. We practiced this comp a lot, so we have a good understanding of this comp. Also, the comp is OP. That’s why we play it.

[Other teams] don’t have their own answer to it. Some players and some teams normally don’t like it too, that kind of comp. I don’t know, I’m not their team.

Today you played Tahm Kench, who obviously had some pretty big nerfs as a support. We still see a lot of players picking him -- why is that?

I think Tahm Kench is so bad. The ability is so good, but his skills are super stupid right now. The ulti, really short-ranged, I can’t even bring my teammate with me during the teamfight. It’s not fun, actually. And then, the eat is super slow.

He’s good because he’s just strong. He has super strong tanking power, damage. That’s why I don’t like him right now.

Talking about his ultimate. Most other Kench players only use their ultimate to go back to lane, but you used it aggressively today to gank bot lane. What’s your opinion on playing more aggressively or safely with Tahm Kench?

I really don’t understand using ulti for getting back to the lane. This ulti sucks. This ulti sucks, and it has a super long cooldown. I don’t get it, using this for just one or two CS.

As a last thing, I want to get your opinion on the support meta. It seems right now we have much more variety, so how do you feel about it?

I pretty much like it. There’s a lot of different kinds of champions -- tanks, mages, hook champions -- but the thing is, only Lux is good for mages. Only Tahm Kench is good for tanks. Only Nautilus is good for hook champions. That’s the problem. I don’t like some specific meta. Changing is good for me.


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