Earlier this spring, the ROX Tigers trotted out an all-engage composition against e-mFire (later renamed to Kongdoo Monster) built around jungler Han “Peanut” Wang-ho’s Nocturne and support Kang “GorillA” Beom-hyeon’s top-tier Alistar. Kennen, Lissandra and Ashe were added to the mix, creating a chain of crowd control impossible for e-mFire to escape, despite an early gold deficit and a few mistakes.
The Tigers tried a similar strategy against Europe’s G2 Esports in their second game of the 2016 World Championship. After falling behind early, the Tigers clawed their way back into the game. Their turnaround was sparked by a crucial Baron steal by Peanut and a cleanup fight for AD carry Kim “PraY” Jong-in on his signature Ezreal. After that, the Tigers began to outscale G2, winning fight after fight.
After the game, we had the chance to catch up with the Tigers’ AD carry to talk about their composition choice as well as the victory.
Today we saw the Tigers go for an engage and area of effect composition around Kennen and Nocturne. What was your strategy going into this match?
We wanted to pick [these champions] and we wanted to play for the early game, which we failed to do. Peanut’s dramatic baron steal was our turnover in the game. The reason why we picked the Nocturne was that they had a lot of champions that the Nocturne could target so that’s what we wanted to do. It didn’t work out at first but it turned out great.
Take us through the early game. Why didn’t it work as well?
Our bottom lane was really vulnerable to jungle ganks, and Olaf’s ganks are really strong with Ghost in the early game. Their bot lane was really good, so their early game was very successful against us and their laners managed to snowball it during the game until the baron fight.
Who made the decision to go in at the Baron? You or Peanut?
They were hitting baron because they’d just killed three of us. We thought that we had to do something then or the game would have ended there. Our other teammates said, 'There’s no chance, you shouldn’t go in.' But Peanut and I decided to go in. Since they were so low HP I managed to finish a few of them off.
The Baron bought you scaling time but the game didn’t truly turn in your favor until the mid lane teamfight where Smeb went in as Kennen. Who decided to initiate that fight?
The initiation and engagement options [at that time] were on the other team with Gnar coming in, the Jhin ulti, and Olaf just running in at us. That was after the Baron fight and we’d just gotten a lot of gold. If [the baron] hadn’t happened we would have been wiped out completely when they came in but it didn’t happen like that. We managed to survive it and then Kennen was able to come in afterwards. After that teamfight all of the battles were in our favor, we couldn’t lose.
This is your fourth World Championship, two with NaJin and now two with the Tigers. How, if at all, has your experience helped your teammates?
I don’t have much to say to the other three [Kuro, Smeb, and GorillA] since they’ve been here with me before. For Peanut, I wanted to tell him that the home crowd fans — we will have more enemies or there will be wild cheering against us, it could be loud and don’t be nervous.
Emily Rand is a staff writer for theScore eSports. You can follow her on Twitter.