In the midst of LPL's Week 11, following Edward Gaming's match against Master3 in which Heo "pawN" Wonseok and Ming "Clearlove" Kai displayed incredible kiting as Lulu and Rek'Sai, jungler Clearlove took a moment to talk to theScore eSports about his history and playstyle. Clearlove's answers provided some insight into his development, his teammates, and are worth keeping in mind as Edward Gaming heads into the Chinese Regional Qualifier.
Hello. Congratulations on the win. Game 1 was very intense. How did you know you could win some of those fights with just you and pawN left standing?
The champion Lulu is really good at team fighting. You can use her to separate enemies. In our team fights, we would use her kiting abilities to separate enemies so that we could fight them one by one instead of at once.
You've always been known for your team fighting. That seems to be the major constant in your play throughout your career. Why do you think you're very good at team fighting and have an advantage here?
My ability in team fights is a result of control over our whole group and communication with each of my teammates. I can identify and tell them which target is important and which target is not important. Because all of my teammates are at the top in their positions, they are also very good team fighters and are able to execute well after we identify targets.
In a fight, some players say they're naturally inclined to go for carry or squishy targets, try to lock up front line, or peel for their carries. This will change from game to game, but is there a function you feel most comfortable with or will do instinctively?
In competitive matches, the way our team works, I usually have to play the tank, but in solo queue, I like to rush in very deep to kill the enemies.
What factors have contributed to your improved consistency in the jungle on EDG besides the hard work many of your teammates and opponents have mentioned?
My experience has helped me improve. The more games I play, the more I can learn. It isn't just that I've played more games, though. I also treat each match with the spirit of wanting to improve and learn. That way, I can get the most from each game.
You receive a lot of your team's gold relative to other junglers, not just in LPL, but internationally. Does your team think giving a lot more resources to the jungler is good generally or is this something specific to your playstyle?
Because I am in control and make decisions, I make a point to not waste any time or resources. As a result, I am involved in much more of my team's actions, and I receive more gold.
Some watching perspective streams notice you will ping jungle camps as you clear them. What function does this serve for your team? Is it something you've always done?
Is this when I'm counter-jungling or just generally?
A bit of both.
I don't know. In my team, I ping a lot, and sometimes it doesn't mean anything. It's a bad habit.
You've played with some of the best ADCs in your career. Can you describe your ingame relationship with Deft, NaMei, and WeiXiao?
When I played with WeiXiao, it was Season 2-Season 3, and the ADC was the most important role by far. As a result, WeiXiao had to really stand out from the team and carry. He had to, so it worked out that way. WeiXiao and I have very similar personalities, so we would quite forcefully push each other to be better at the game.
Deft and NaMei are very similar players. They are not as good in lane, but very powerful in the team fight. I had a good friendship with both of them in and out of the game. I would say now Deft has more champions he can play than NaMei as the main difference.
Like you, Koro1 has developed a lot this year as a player, but he received a lot of criticism last year. What about him made you recommend him to EDG?
First, I met Koro1 online, and we played together. Koro1 played very well with me, so I recommended him to Edward Gaming. He improved because, although initially he made a lot of mistakes, he was willing to listen to suggestions and advice. The interesting thing about Koro1 is that I think the growth he experienced wasn't just in becoming better at the game, but also personal growth overall.
Why do you think you seem to play better with Koro1 and pawN?
Since Koro1 is Chinese and we're familiar, it's easy to communicate. As far as pawN, since we've played together for more than half a year, we have overcome the awkward time period of getting used to each other and understand each other.
In the past, you've played a lot with Fzzf, even in a different MOBA. Was it difficult to adapt either in terms of communication or expectations playing with a different teammate?
Since I am kind of harsh during the game, I like playing with someone really nice and who is nice to me.
To clarify, that is Fzzf?
Yes, Fzzf is really nice.
What other player have you admired most?
I don't really admire any player—Wait, I do admire WeiXiao. Because, as I said, we are very similar in our mentality, and knowing and seeing him play challenges me to be better.
Finally, there is a joke in the West. Some westerners who have followed your career have said you're very good at team fighting and have defended you for that despite some inconsistencies in your jungling. Because of that, there's popular western journalist who compares Clearlove fans to people who like Kate Upton. Kate Upton is a model with very large breasts, and so he says people like her because she's gifted in one area and ignore her other qualities. Fans and the journalist have taken to posting pictures of her after you do well in a game, etc.,. There are many of them who are curious as to your reaction and want to let you in on the joke. (The journalist has admitted that you've improved a lot in other areas this year also.)
[Some laughter] I can't really control it. Some people will love me, and some people will hate me. I have to only focus on winning and the game I'm playing. But the joke is fine, yes.
Also, I have to remember that no one is perfect. You have to focus on your strengths because you will develop if you keep working, and sometimes you will fix your problems with dedication and time.
Thank you very much and good luck in your matches.