After their fourth win in a row, I spoke with Counter Logic Gaming’s jungler Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin about his current winning streak, Patch 8.4, and CLG’s playoff chances.
Miles Yim: Congratulations on the win. I know it must feel good to get one over your old friend [Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon]. Did you think about that at all before the game?
Reignover: Actually no, I didn’t think about that I was facing Huni. I just thought that I was facing a team that plays around top, so we just have to play around bot if we draft the way we did today. So he was just another top laner? Well, I wouldn’t say that. It is Huni, but it wasn’t, “Oh, something’s different because it’s Huni.”
You’ve now beaten him twice this split; CLG is the only team that has swept Echo Fox. How does that make you feel?
I think if our standing was really high, I would feel really great. But we’re still not qualified for playoffs yet. So right now, I don’t really care about the victories we’re taking right now against Echo Fox. It’s great that we got a win, because if we had lost today’s game…Echo Fox is one of the hardest opponents we could have faced, but since we beat them, that felt really good. And beating Huni twice, I guess I would say that’s extra good.
Today’s win is CLG’s fourth in four games. In your mind, what’s changed around the team to spur this run of victories?
I think the biggest change would be making sure we have a clear gameplan—from early game to mid game—and having one person do the mid game to late game shotcalling so that everyone is on the same page. Basically, we’ve been on the same page in early game, mid game, and late game since two weeks ago when we started winning a lot. That would be our biggest change.
It seems like you can draw a straight line from making [Vincent “Biofrost” Wang] the final shotcaller to your current winning streak. Was it really that simple of a fix?
Well, we had been working on our issues even before Vincent was the main shotcaller. And as we’re making progress, when we’re about to be there, by Vincent stepping up and being our mid game shotcaller, we could fix those issues faster than normal. And by us deciding as a team to have a clear way, and make the game super simple, with a clear gameplan from the early game, all those situations combined made us player better.
I talked to [Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes] last weekend, and he said CLG had tried out multiple players as the final shotcaller before settling on Biofrost. Why do you think the team started clicking when Biofrost took on that role?
I think when everyone was trying [out], I think everyone was doing well, so I wouldn’t say it wasn’t working. There was a lot of strength and weakness to everyone’s shotcalling. Vincent is a player that shotcalls in a safe way, and consistently. He has weaknesses too, but I think his strengths bring a lot of benefits to the team, so we decided on Vincent to be our main shotcaller. Vincent was one of our main shotcallers before we made set him as one person. It was just easier for us to listen to Vincent. We still have issues we need to work on, but basically Vincent being very consistent leads us.
What are some of those issues? What are you focused on fixing as you make this run toward playoffs?
I don’t think there’s one or two specific things that are holding us back. I think it would be great if overall our team had more confidence in the game, and also individually. Once we get a bit confident, I think we’re going to be way better. Right now, I think we’re in a good run because we’re winning games, and we’re confident enough to face everyone, and beat everyone. But once we’re keeping this win streak, I think we’re going to be even greater.
Switching gears, I want to talk about Patch 8.4 and the changes it brought to the jungle with the removal of Tracker’s Knife. How have the changes influenced your play?
I do prefer to play a control jungler, so Tracker’s Knife was benefiting me, but I would also say because of that, it was hard for me to snowball the game as a jungler because there were a lot of wards. Basically, if there’s a Tracker’s Knife, you have to spend a lot of time to put vision for your team. And since we really didn’t have a clear gameplan, or a clear side of the map we’re going to play through, it wasn’t efficient enough I think.
With Tracker’s Knife removed, it’s way easier for me to set a gameplan and execute it myself because there are no wards. I can spend a lot of time ganking, or fighting an enemy in the enemy jungle. I also like those plays, because as a control jungler, is was more of me going for the enemy jungle, and fighting the enemy jungler away from the jungle, making a team play. But since the ward is not there, I have both options. Removing Tracker’s Knife benefits me a lot. I feel really comfy on the patch, and I really like it.
You’ve played a lot of Sejuani this season, which from what you said seem to fit your control style. But then, how does Olaf fit into the picture? To me, they seem to be two very different champs stylistically.
The first one is a tank jungle, and I think I have way better understanding than any other players of tank jungle. For example, Olaf is a tank jungle, but he just wins every 1v1. So if you find the option to be in the right place to play aggressive, you’re always ahead in that scenario. It’s just about how well you can find those options to play aggressive. I’m very used to doing that, so I can abuse Olaf really well. I think Olaf is a very strong pick for me, and everyone respects it so I guess people are just banning it.
For Sejuani, if you don’t have Tracker’s Knife, just go Red Smite, it’s the same thing, you win most of the 1v1s. I don’t think it’s that slow tempo, and your ulti gives a lot of threat. And in this meta, if jungle can engage, I think it’s good because you can move around the map so everyone would have to feel pressure. It’s about if you can abuse the champions strength well, and Sejunai and Olaf are champions that if you abuse their strengths well, they’re really strong.
You’ve got two more games to play, and you need to win both to have a shot at playoffs. The first game is against OpTic Gaming, a team that beat you last time. What’s the preparation going to be like to make sure that doesn’t happen again?
OpTic plays around mid-jungle. We used to play around mid-jungle, and I’m really sure that we’re better than them around mid-jungle. We have a lot of playstyles, but I think their playstyle is just one side, so I think we can abuse their playstyle and match around mid-jungle depending on the champs. I’m very confident we can pressure them and play around other win conditions too… That game, we were trolling, so if we don’t make those mistakes, we’re going to win.
Speaking of trolling, you laned Fiora mid against [Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg]’s Galio the last time you played Team SoloMid. I know she’s supposed to have a favorable matchup and it’s a pocket pick for [Choi “Huhi” Jae-hyun], but come on. How will you approach the NA Clascio this time around?
So for TSM’s match, I don’t know how the standings will be…If the match is for playoffs, if the one who gets the victory will have a playoff spot, then we’re going to win. I think TSM play pretty poorly under pressure, and that’s huge pressure for them. For us, it is a pressure, but we’re going to be on a winning streak, 5-0 before facing them, and very confident.
You’ve made the postseason before on some great teams (Fnatic, Immortals). After such a tough start to this split, what would going to playoffs this time, with this team, mean to you?
Going to playoffs means a lot. From 10th place to playoffs—hopefully we can win too so 10th place to first place—I really believe that we can do it. All the top teams in NA right now are abuseable, I don’t think there’s any big difference. During playoff preparation, we’re going to be doing even better. So if we just make playoffs, it’s going to be really scary for other teams to face us.
This transcript has been edited for clarity.