Interview conducted with Choi “Huhi” Jae-hyun on August 27th, 2016 after the 3rd and 4th place matches of the NA LCS Finals held in Toronto Ontario, Canada. Originally to be posted on clgaming.net, however was not due to outside circumstances.
Madeline: How did you discover League of Legends?
Huhi: Mostly I discovered it naturally, when I was going to internet cafés a lot in Korea. So I was just playing other games, and people started to play league a lot, so I naturally got into league and started to play a lot. So instead of studying, I started to go to internet café and play a lot, and got high elo and got picked up by a pro team.
Madeline: Were you always a midlaner, or did you start somewhere else? What drew you to the midlane?
Huhi: When I was playing for fun and got challenger in Korean Soloqueue, I was just filling every role, so I didn’t have a favorite role, I just enjoyed playing every role, because every role had a different play style, and it all attracted me. There was a team called Bigfile Miracle who picked me up, and that team asked to play mid lane for them, and that’s how I started as a midlaner.
Madeline: You used to play for Bigfile Miracle back in Korea and wound up facing Samsung White, SKT T1S and CJ Entus Frost. Tell me a little bit more about this time of your career.
Huhi: Basically we got into LCK and it was our first season. We were pretty unlucky because we got into a really hard group stage. So we faced really strong teams. It was such a struggle, because in Korea they had brother teams, and would only scrim against each other or good teams. Us, even though we qualified for LCK, we couldn’t find any scrim partners. So we couldn’t practice efficiently. And since we’re their opponents too, they don’t want to give us a good practice, so that we can perform well. They just never scrimmed us, and it was really hard for us to improve, and perform on stage. We wound up going 0-6, and got relegated.
Madeline: Of all the regions to go to, you had your choice of any region, why North American?
Huhi: I actually got offers from every Region, but I wanted to go to NA because first, I wanted to use my advantage that I was available to use English and French. So it was either EU or NA, but I just preferred to experience a new atmosphere, because I already lived in Europe countries in childhood, so that’s one of the reasons I came to NA.
Madeline: You went to team Fusion, and I’m really curious what it was like to play with Macnoon?
Huhi: Macnoon… He’s a really trolly guy, in real life as well. He’s really trolly, but he’s really passionate as well. Whenever we had a hard loss, he’d get really upset. He wasn’t the best team mate, but when we were winning, he was the best teammate.
Madeline: When Team Fusion disbanded, why did you choose CLG over another team that you would get to be a starter?
Huhi: After Fusion, after we failed twice in relegation. I was really mad that I kept losing, and I was really thirsty about winning. I was only going to go to a team that would lead me to worlds or win LCS. I was looking at my options, and CLG was apparently looking for a midlaner. I had one day before I went back to Korea, and they gave me a chance to try out. I played five games before leaving for the airport, and they told me that I would be a starter, and that’s the only reason I chose CLG.
Madeline: How has your mind set changed over the years? From your time in Korea to now, how has your mindset altered?
Huhi: When I was in Korea, I had the same goals, but they weren’t really realistic. Nowadays, I can feel like I’m closer to my goals. When I was in Korea, I really wanted to go IEM, MSI, Finals, Worlds. And now I’ve been to almost every event, except for Worlds right now. And we’re pretty close to getting to Worlds.
Madeline: You all looked so much stronger against IMT from the Semifinal against TSM. Was the Aurelion Sol disable really that detrimental for you guys?
Huhi: It was unexpected, and I had an answer to every midlane champion. And Aurelion Sol was one of them. Since Aurelion Sol got banned, I didn’t have a really solid answer to Cassiopeia, and if we banned Cass, then I wouldn’t have an answer to another champion, and it would just keep going. That’s why our draft was really chaotic, it felt like they had 4 bans, and they actually did have four bans. It just screwed our draft because that was what we had been planning for. Because of the Aurelion Sol ban we couldn’t get what we wanted, couldn’t play how we wanted.
Madeline: Your Syndra looked amazing, absolutely phenomenal! Talk to me about the build. Is it just to counter the Magic damage, or is it more because it gives you the best damage?
Huhi: [he forgot the build till I supplied some items] The full build, it gives me the most damage. People usually go Ryalia’s to have more health, I personally prefer this build because I can sit with 40% CD, and I can go flat MR, which gives me early sustain and an early advantage. I guess it isn’t the best, or ideal build, because if you’re looking for the best build late game, you’d want all scaling runes, with less CDR items. They had a lot of AP options, so that’s why I went flat MR with that build.
Madeline: Tell me about the Vel’koz pick. You’d never played Vel’koz on stage, and of course I can’t speak to scrims. He’s got a really low mobility. So tell me why you picked that over Syndra who was open, or picking something else. Why Vel’koz?
Huhi: It was just an answer to Cassiopeia, and since Aurelion was banned, I had to find an answer to Cass. I felt like poking champions are really good into Cassiopeia, and she doesn’t really have boots, so early she’s really weak against poke. And late game, she’s got long range, but if I’ve got longer range I can counter her. So that’s why I picked Vel’koz. We didn’t expect us to pick Vel’koz, because I never played Vel’koz before [Friday].
Madeline: How was it playing on a stage that close to the crowd? Is it harder to hear the team, even through the headphones?
Huhi: Yeah, this event was the hardest for me hear my teammates. Especially when [the crowd] go crazy during baron fights or something else. I try to listen to my teammates, I can feel that they’re talking, but I can’t really hear them. So I was trying to feel what they were trying to do, and follow up.
Madeline: Just as a final question, do you have anything to say to your fans?
Huhi: To my fans…Especially these events, this was my favorite I’ve ever been to. Because the crowd was so cheerful. I really loved the crowd, the fans were really great. I just don’t know how to appreciate them, I want to do fan meets with everyone, but we didn’t have time this event because it was a five game series. I just don’t know how to appreciate their love, but thank you for loving us, and we’ll do our best if we do qualify for Worlds.