The first thing you’ll notice about Lee “Crown” Min-ho is that he’s sensitive. In a good way.
He had just finished a prior interview. Before that, he endured a 48-minute game on Syndra as Samsung Galaxy barely beat 1907 Fenerbache on day 4 of Groups at Worlds 2017. It all came down to one late game team fight where Frozen could not use Ekko’s ultimate in time, and Samsung won with a gold deficit.
“You’re up,” a voice sounded. Nervously, I joined the circle forming around him as logistics were being ironed out.
The second I caught his eye, I bowed and greeted “안녕하세요(Annyeonghaseyo)”. He followed suit without any lag.
“You can use that side room,” we were told.
He nodded and immediately headed towards the cubicle. He brushed the curtains aside, walked in, turned around and held it up for me.
“Thank you,” I blurted, feeling bad because I should have gone in first, yet at the same time immensely grateful that Samsung Galaxy’s famed mid laner held up a curtain for me.
I couldn’t help but notice that in addition to his usual gold chain around the neck, two bracelets dangled from his left wrist. Under the bright white light, it was also hard to miss the sparkly gold ring on his index finger.
The room had three white chairs. He sat down in one. With an upright posture, straight shoulders and a forward gaze, he was ready to begin.
Tania Mae: Why did Samsung choose jungle Ezreal for this game against 1907 Fenerbache?
CROWN: For this game, this composition’s laning phase is very important so we chose Ezreal which can influence the laning phase a lot in the early game.
Samsung was playing from behind for a good portion of that game. What was the team communicating about in that period?
When we kept giving Baron, we kept falling behind. The communication was ‘We can just play defensively; as long as we can smoothly overcome the Baron period, we can come back later’.
Because of team composition, it was very hard for us to go beyond our base. We thought that we can defend and we’ll have a chance later.
What do you think the team needs to work on going into week 2 of Groups?
I can’t say much on what the team will prepare for this week. However for myself, I need to get back some confidence and keep trying harder to make more precise calls and decisions.
Before a game, you always close your eyes to take a moment. What goes through your mind?
I take a deep breath, then think about what I should do in this game, how can I play this game. I try to calm down before I start to play.
On Twitch stream you don’t talk, and your fans always want you to. Why is it that you keep yourself under the radar?
I am a recognised pro-player… honestly, I don’t like to leak my plays and thinking in each situation. Because of this, I mind turning on the microphone to chat or communicating through those streaming sessions. I try to keep a distance because if not, everything gets exposed. (smiles)
You also listen to music when you stream. What kind of music do you like?
It really depends on my mood and feelings for each day. It’s not about each track; I change the type of music. Sometimes I turn on ballads, sometimes I turn on rock, rap, rock ballads, 60s. It really depends.
I was searching for 60s, 70s, 80s songs and was like, ‘Oh this song is very nice’. (laughs)
When you’re playing solo queue, I noticed that you type in English during champion select when you do not get your desired role. Could you explain why?
In Korean solo rank there’s a lot of foreigners like Japanese, Taiwanese, Chinese. I get in queue and somehow I can’t get mid lane, but I have to practise mid lane. So I want to ask the person who got mid lane position, but I don’t know if he’s Korean or not, so I type ‘mid please’ and it became a habit.
How’s your standard of English?
I believe my English is not at a very good level. Back when I was in Brazil for 5 to 6 months, I picked up English and studied English a bit, but I had some difficulty remembering the words. If people talk to me in simple basic level words, I can get the meaning. But if they’re getting over that level, then it’s a bit difficult for me to understand. (smiles)
What’s your favourite alcoholic drink?
I love to drink alcohol from my hometown, Daegu; there’s a local soju named Mashinuncham (맛있는참). Also I like vodka and Absolut Vodka is my favourite brand.
Can you say something encouraging to Samsung fans going into week 2 of Groups?
I feel sorry for our bad performance today. I will try my best and try hard to show good results for the fans. Always, (bows in his seat) I feel very appreciative of you cheering for me.