Weeks into an already the chaotic offseason, theScore eSports was able to talk to Worlds semifinalist Kim "Reignover" Yeu-jin about his decision to leave Fnatic, why he is heading to North America in 2016, and his special friendships with top laners Song "Smeb" Kyung-ho and Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon.
First off, can you tell us how well you think you and the rest of Fnatic played at Worlds?
I think we played pretty inconsistently. I think we couldn't show our potential, especially in the first week and in the semifinals. And as an individual myself, I think I was not performing enough compared to practice. I guess I was too nervous about my first Worlds. I think it's the same for everyone on our team, even YellOwStaR and Rekkles looked a bit nervous.
You met your friend Smeb in the semifinals. How was it facing a former teammate. Did you two talk afterward?
It was really exciting to play each other. First, we are way more friendly than everyone thinks. Of course we talked to each other. We were planning for Worlds even as a joke since we fell apart from our old team Incredible Miracle. And after both of us succeeded in different places we were cheering for each other hoping we could meet at Worlds.
During the Korean summer split final it was the match determining if KOO would go to Worlds or not, and I was there with Smeb cheering for SKT for my life. And Smeb was always cheering for me to have success and facing him at Worlds was exciting for both of us, and it doesn't make me feel terrible after bad games.
Over the month at Worlds, which teams did you find were the strongest when it came to scrims and official matches?
If I summarize since we boot camped from Korea, Korean teams were not as good as expected (expectations were like they were undefeated). And NA and Taiwan teams were better then expected and Chinese teams we couldn't practice that much against.
So overall I think the strongest teams in practice were Fnatic, SKT, OG, KOO. And now I can say that Fnatic had like 85% winrate against all teams at practice until the very last week, including against SKT and KOO. So we actually thought we could win Worlds. But after we moved to Brussels, I don't know why but we were losing all the time in practice. It continued into the semifinals.
You and Huni will be joining the NA LCS together on a new team. Can you tell us why you decided to leave Fnatic and Europe for the NA LCS?
This is hard to answer. I would really love to play at Fnatic again, and I can say that I am not leaving Fnatic because of any trouble happened. I have two main reasons.
First, I felt like I was losing my willingness to try as hard. As I remember the "meta of jungler" didn't change that much over the whole year. It was fine until the start of the summer split, but during the summer split we were dominating the opponent and I was losing so much desire to improve when I should always look to improve. People don't understand how hard it was for me, but I can say that I kinda had small (depressive disorder) during those days. I tried to release the feeling of being bored by doing some other stuff outside of League but it wasn't allowed that much. It doesn't mean that Fnatic forced me, though.
I just couldn't find anything to solve my problem. Our coach, players and management really tried their best to help me, but it was just not possible. This is an important part: I decided myself to do a challenge, and it was playing outside of Fnatic and play in another region.
And the second reason is I personally think that a pro-gamer looking to play with a better option is crucial. Doesn't mean that a player should decide where to play because of how big the salary is, but I decided to move to NA with first reason, which is really important for me, and additionally I had a better financial option.
Can you tell us what your relationship with Huni is like? You came together and formed one of the strongest top/jungle partnerships, and now you're taking on a new challenge in NA.
Huni and I's relationship is more than super good. Until now we had zero disjointedness. I think it's because both of us understand each other and both of us are willing to give. We think we could be a strong top/jungle combo no matter how the meta shifts and I think we will have success even in North America.
If Huni needs help, I will be there. If I need help from Huni, he will always Teleport for me. Best duo.
Are there any players or teams you're excited to face in NA?
Usually I don't really say this kind of thing, but I am looking forward to playing against Rush, who is known as one of best junglers in NA. We've been already played against each other at SK Telecom T1 tryout one year ago, but I think back then we weren't as good as we are now. Back then, as I remember, I was the one always smiling. I hope it continues and I have enough confidence to continue.
Speaking of the SKT test one year ago, many players like yourself, Smeb, Rush, Huni, and Piccaboo made it to the finals. You are good friends with both Huni and Smeb. What would you say are the similarities and differences between the two?
As similarities, both are "idiots" in terms of their gameplay, and I think this is one of the most important elements as a top laner. And the difference is that Smeb is more solid compare to Huni, but Huni has a higher potential when he is having a good game. Both player need a lot of help from their jungler but they repay the resources they receive.
Finally, looking back on the last year with Fnatic from the start to the Worlds semifinals, what has it meant to you as a player and a person?
It means so much for me that I cannot explain with a single word.
First, I'm so thankful for the team that they give me chance to prove myself as a player. Back then I was one of worst junglers but they trusted my willingness and let me play on stage. I think I would never have had this much success if I was not on Fnatic. They helped me so much to improve as a player and as a person. Starting from the spring split to the Worlds semifinals, I was extremely excited and happy.
I love all the players, coach, and managements. I will never be able to forget.
Thank you very much for the interview Reignover. Is there anything else you'd like to tell your fans?
I think I want to say sorry to the Fnatic fans. They cheered for me for a long time and with so much intensity. I am also extremely sad to go against their wishes. I really wanted to make a challenge as a pro-gamer. I really hope they understand my decision and keep cheering for me.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Tyler "Fionn" Erzberger is a staff writer for theScore eSports who covers the North American LCS and Korea's Champions. You can follow him on Twitter.