A former World Champion support for Samsung White, Cho "Mata" Sehyeong came to China in 2015 and joined Vici Gaming. Following a year of disappointing results and hints that he may want to return to Korea, Mata chose to transfer to another Chinese team, Royal Never Give Up.
Royal Never Give Up finished in first place in Group B in the regular season and have a bye that seeds them right into the semifinals. Before the last week of the regular season, theScore esports sat down with Mata to discuss his thoughts on his new team, some of his teammates, and Royal's love for Baron Nashor.
There are a few questions as to why you chose Royal at the end of last year as opposed to returning to Korea or staying with Vici Gaming.
During that point, my thought was to leave Vici Gaming. During the process of looking for a new team, I just felt that Royal would be a good fit for me, so I decided to join them.
I read an interview with Chinese media where you said that pawN and imp managed to win the LPL, so you thought it might be nice to win. Does the fact that they have won make you feel more motivation to try to win the LPL?
Back in the transfer period, I didn’t really have much thought to join a team to win the LPL championship. Yet after I joined Royal, and after we played together for some time, I began to think the team was doing really well and we had a chance to win. So it wasn’t that I felt this sense of competition with imp and pawN, but that realizing that we could do well gave me this goal of getting to the finals. If we do get to the finals, my goal will be winning the season.
For a large part of the split, Royal Club’s strategy seemed to focus a lot on early Baron. You, on average, secured Baron before any other team in the league. Could you discuss why your team decided rushing Baron was the way to play?
I think that Baron is a really important resource. Compared to just being really passive and allowing both teams’ mid laners to farm, I think it’s a lot more useful to get vision around Baron early. This puts pressure on the enemy team. I think whoever gets Baron first gets a very obvious advantage.
Since you’ve arrived in China, you’ve been placed on teams with Chinese players who are much less experienced than you are, so you’ve had to take on a mentor role. Do you think this kind of role is more difficult to manage with language and cultural differences?
Because we speak different languages, it’s not 100 percent possible to get my meaning across. Yet because we have translators, I don’t think it’s difficult to convey my point and get through to younger players and teach them.
Mlxg has a different, less vision-oriented style to DanDy. Can you discuss some differences between playing with him compared to playing with DanDy?
I feel that DanDy is an older player with a lot more experience, whereas Mlxg is younger and he has less experience. It just feels like there are a lot of areas on which Mlxg can improve and become better, but he can become better.
Invictus Gaming marked one of your only losses. What do you think was the problem when you faced Invictus Gaming the first time?
(Editor's Note: This interview was conducted before the final match Royal played against iG in Week 10)
I think the first time we played against iG, neither team played very well. Our team just played worse. This is the only reason we lost.
The team has begun to play primarily with NaMei. His laning has less pressure than wuxx’s right now. What lead to the decision to play with him, and how does his different play impact Royal’s style?
I think it’s more that NaMei is a player with a lot of experience. He is the type of player who knows what he should do during different points of the game. At any stage of the game, NaMei knows how he should play and where he should be. Though as to why he’s playing now, this is not something that I had any input in; it was decided by the coach.
In the interview, you said you believed you could make it to the final and then win. What do you think is Royal’s biggest obstacle to winning LPL this split?
I can’t really comment on this since we haven’t made the final. Yet right now I think our biggest problem is that we haven’t reached the level where we’re playing 100 percent as a team.
Translation assistance provided by Jenny Lee.
Kelsey Moser is a staff writer for theScore esports. You can follow her on Twitter.