Gen.G’s run in the 2019 LCK summer split has been nothing short of impressive. Despite ending the spring split on the seventh place, Gen.G began to show a performance worthy of its 2017 World Championship title in the summer split. By week six of the summer split Gen.G had defeated some of the most formidable teams in the LCK such as Griffin, DAMWON Gaming and Kingzone DragonX.
Park “Ruler” Jae-hyeok, the AD carry of Gen.G, attributed this success to the players maintaining their optimism and trust for one another. “The trust continues to be there, whether we are losing or winning. I guess that’s another reason why we have been performing so well”, Ruler said. In the interview with Ashley Kang, Ruler discussed how he is the role model of the team, his thoughts on Gen.G’s chances at the regional qualifiers and how he appreciates the coaching staff of the team for nurturing the positive team spirit.
Gen.G has won four matches in a row, against powerhouse teams in the LCK [such as Griffin, DAMWON Gaming and Kingzone DragonX]. I’d like to hear how you feel.
Ruler: It feels nice to collect victories against strong teams. However, I’m regretful because I wasn’t in my best condition. I wasn’t able to focus too much. (I hear that there is a cold going around some LCK teams.) I don’t think it’s the cold, but I was really dizzy throughout the games. I wasn’t concentrating.
You say that you weren’t able to concentrate, but it’s clear that Gen.G stayed focused as a team. You lost the first game, but the team managed to collect itself and win the other two games. Can I ask what Gen.G did in order to stay focused across [the best-of-three series]?
Ruler: We kept reminding each other that we are better as individual players, better as a team when it comes to teamfights. We stayed focused that way. I’m just regretful about my own performance.
What kind of feedback did the coaching staff give between game one and game two?
Ruler: They told us that we were stronger and that we will win as long as we don’t make mistakes. To go slow and steady instead of rushing the plays. It’s a mindset that I really agree with. It’s something that I tell the other players. Both me and the coaching staff stress on this a lot.
You were against Deft and TusiN at the bot lane. Kingzone DragonX is known to have a strong bot lane, how was laning against them?
Ruler: There really wasn’t much to the laning phase. Ah, I’m not saying that I did well, but the games just unfolded like any other lane against Deft.
What are your thoughts on Deft as a player?
Ruler: He’s a good player. Good at laning and good at teamfights. I honestly think he makes many small mistakes, but he’s still one of the best.
Whenever I look at Gen.G and the team’s players, it looks like you guys are having a good time — there is a positive vibe coming from the team. Maybe it’s due to the win streak. I’d like to ask you how the atmosphere is like.
Ruler: I don’t think it’s different from the spring split. Even though we lost a lot during the spring split, we stayed cheerful. The team atmosphere is the same, but oddly, the performance improved.
I could interpret that the other way. That Gen.G was able to improve its performance because the team maintained a good team atmosphere even while the team was losing some games.
Ruler: I agree with that statement. I think the personalities of the players changed, for the better, which is also a positive impact on the team. Positive to the performance.
Perhaps some of the players may have had difficulty maintaining calm, or be selfish in the game. These personalities have changed, for the better.
I’d also like to ask about the trust between the players. Players maintaining trust for one another is crucial to a team performing well in the long run.
Ruler: We lost so many matches during the spring split, and the trust between the players could have faltered during the time. For [our team], the trust continues to be there, whether we are losing or winning. I guess that’s another reason why we have been performing so well.
The coaching staff of any team plays a critical role in making sure that the personalities within the team are balanced and arbitrated. So could I ask what efforts the coaching staff made to maintain this team atmosphere you are describing?
Ruler: The coaching staff put in so much effort. When we were on a losing streak, they always tried their best to make sure that our mental state is ok. They would often create space for [the players] to have an open conversation with one another, maybe organize some drinks. The players aren’t usually the type to talk much, the coaching staff created a space for us to talk to one another.
As you got to know your teammates you, was there any particular player that surprised you? Was there a player that made you think — “Ah, this player is a lot different than I thought, I have something to learn from him”?
Ruler: I actually think that my teammates should think that way when they look at me. I don’t know about my lifestyle, but when it comes to my work ethic, when it comes to the in-game … I think I set an example.
The team has a lot of young players. Meanwhile, I work very hard, in solo queue and such. I think that’s something that the younger players see and learn from.
Perhaps you are a role model for other players in the team.
Ruler: There are many things, but that’s one of it.
Gen.G is currently fourth in place in the leaderboard. Gen.G is one of the four teams that currently have four series wins in the LCK, tied at the first place if you just look at the series W-L rate. As Gen.G looks to climb even further in the LCK, is there any team that could put a stop to Griffin or offer a challenge?
Ruler: Any team that we are facing has the potential to upset at any given moment. So I constantly tell myself I’ll have to do even better. Especially since we’ve been making a lot of mistakes.
Are you confident, as always, of the regional qualifiers? [Note: Gen.G has qualified to last three World Champions, every time through regional qualifiers]
Ruler: Regional qualifiers are so stressful. The qualifiers start very late, and we’ll have to practice non-stop until that moment. And if the series ever gets to game five, it’s too tolling on the body. I’ve already been through it too many times, so my personal wish is that we qualify directly to Worlds.
Wait, has Gen.G built up any circuit points during the spring split?
Ruler: No, no circuit points. We have to win the LCK in order to qualify straight to Worlds. I mean, in the end, I want to go to Worlds so even regional qualifiers is ok. I don’t dislike it. It’s just draining.
Thank you for the interview. This is usually the stage in the interview where I ask you to say hi to the fans. However, instead, do you have anything to say to your teammates?
Ruler: Umm … We’re doing really well, but let’s not get complacent. Let’s remember the spring split and work even hard. Let’s make it to the [LCK summer split] finals.
Also, is there anything you’d like to say to Gen.G coaching stuff?
Ruler: Thank you for always working hard to maintain the mental of the players, myself included. It’s so good to see the players come together and bond as a team. I just hope that we can continue on like this. Thank you, always.