Source: inven eSports
An interview with Leenock by 김홍제 of inven eSports
It is an honor to meet you Leenock. Please briefly introduce yourself first.
I am 19 years old Leenock who is currently on the Taiwanese team, yoe Flash Wolves. It’s been such a long time since I’ve done an interview like this so I am nervous.
Is it true that you dreamt of pursuing a pro gaming career from a very young age?
I really liked games ever since I was little, and it was really fun to watch finals during the SC1 times. Thanks to that, I had this indefinite thought that I wanted to stand on a finals stage just like that. I initially felt that way after watching BoxeR but the Zerg race seemed to fit me better.
That’s ironic (laughs). According to your thoughts, what is the Zerg’s charm?
Instinct. And I guess also that the race never rests almost like a turbulent storm?
It seems like your best times were spent with FXO where you grabbed a GSL finals appearance and 2 GSTL championships. What do you recall about that time?
If I could express the feeling in one sentence then I would say that it was really fun. The game was fun and my life outside gaming was also really good. It felt like each day was a sitcom (laughs). The forming of a family-like atmosphere caused us to practice hard naturally so I think that’s why good results followed through.
Do you still keep in touch with FXO players these days?
Of course. We have an FXO KakaoTalk chat room so I hear from my former teammates all the time. asd hyung, Lucky hyung, and TheBest hyung are in the army right now, but whenever they get to go on holidays, Choya hyung focuses on getting all of us together.
You transferred to yoe Flash Wolves at the beginning of 2014. Why did you decide upon a Taiwanese team?
Once the sponsors disappeared in 2013, I started feeling disoriented gradually and I think I started playing around more than practicing. So once I realized that, I told myself that I couldn’t afford to keep acting that way so I tried to work hard again but it didn’t work out so well (laughs). That’s why my results suffered too. But then during all of that, yoe Flash Wolves approached me first and so that’s how I came to be on a Taiwanese team.
If you’re trying to raise your skill level then isn’t it better to be on a Korean team?
Even though the practice environment and practice partners are important, I thought that tournament results were more important. Yoe had the condition that they would send me to a lot of overseas tournaments. I’ve lived in Taiwan for about a year now, and even though the communication is all done in English, there aren’t any big issues. But I still haven’t adapted well to Taiwanese food (laughs).
Did Taiwanese food help you lose weight?
Hmm… I guess I won’t deny that (laughs). But I do want to make sure that I mention that exercising was also involved.
We’re curious about your life in Taiwan.
I really practice as if I was a machine. When people say that being on an overseas team means you have a lot of freedom, they’re half right and half wrong. The schedules aren’t as systematic as Korean teams. But for Korean players, me included, we really don’t have anything else to do outside of practice times (laughs). So even when I hang out with San hyung during our free time, we still end up practicing on our own. But we do go out from time to time. I’ve made more friends than I thought I’d be able to make in Taiwan so I’ve actually gone out to see movies with them before.
Anything especially fun happen while you were in Taiwan?
So the distance from the team house to the practice building is far, so San hyung and I usually leave around dawn. In Taiwan, there are a lot of dogs on the streets. They’re all really manly and bigger than you’d expect. These kinds of dogs like to travel in pacts rather than by themselves. One day, this big gigantic black dog who seemed to be the head of the pact stared at both me and San hyung with a piercing gaze. We got so scared that we just bolted out of there (laughs).
That’s not the kind of answer we were looking for. So we’ll be blunt. We heard that you’re really popular amongst Taiwanese girls.
I have no idea where such a rumor got spread (laughs). Although some parts got exaggerated, I did manage to get three numbers off of Taiwanese girls. We do text each other and see how the other person is doing and I’ve also gone and met up with one of them several times, but since I go to Korea very often the communications always tends to end. Right now, we don’t talk to each other.
Has San ever gotten numbers off of Taiwanese girls?
San hyung doesn’t go out (laughs).
You’ve been interacting with your fans by uploading your pictures through social networking sites, but how did that come to start? Personally, your harry potter picture was the most eye catching.
I didn’t start that with the purpose of interacting with my fans. This one time, a good friend of mine was about to enter the army so he came to visit me in Taiwan. He had a request to make some good memories one last time so we upload a lot of special funny pictures, and then the fans just ended up liking them.
▲ Expecto Patronum~~!!
People have said that you resemble the baseball player Ryu Hyun Jin. What do you think?
I do occasionally get kind of surprised myself when I look at pictures for comparison. I remember this one time, my mom actually texted me that she was seeing me on 무릎팍도사 (a Korean entertainment program on channel MBC) because Ryu Hyun Jin was on there (laughs).
You granted Terminator’s request during the group drawings and people called you awesome.
Honestly, I’m not good at refusing requests. I am actually the closest with Super within Group A but it was really disappointing to see Terminator get eliminated when he was so close.
Afterwards were you able to make friends with Terminator?
We exchanged contact information since then and Terminator keeps asking me if there is anything that I would like. So I just asked him if he could treat me to a beverage later and he ended up buying drinks for the whole team during our Proleague match. Terminator is the awesome one.
You‘ve had quite the long run ever since the 2010 GSL Open Seasons all the way into the 2015 NSSL Season 1. What’s your secret?
There’s the fact that I started off young, and during practice, even from my own perspective, I feel that I worked really hard. I feel that anyone can make a long run as long as you just practice real hard.
Even though it’s difficult to see Zergs play strategically, it feels like you have been showing a very strategic Zerg play recently. Did your style change?
Honestly I had been a strategic player from a long time ago but as time went on, it looked like modest macro games were better. But my style is originally strategic so I think that’s why that’s coming out again. Also, my hatchery play at 6’o clock on Overgrowth during the NSSL Ro16 against Super was an improvised strategy. Super’s probe saw my natural and then just went straight for the gold base. It was really thrilling.
You are showcasing a 9-1 record out of the 10 most recent ZvP games that you’ve played. Wasn’t ZvP originally your weakness?
When it comes to a game like SC2, knowing how to defend all-ins is very important. Protoss all-ins are especially powerful and I wasn’t able to block them well in the past. But now that I have San hyung and PartinG on my team, I feel that I’ve learned a little about how to defend against them.
It’s been two years since you last won an individual tournament. You must really want this win for NSSL.
I want it really badly. My last championship victory was DreamHack Summer in Sweden back in 2013. I want to get back up to a finals stage no matter what. I’m sure this is the case for most pro gamers but the biggest motivation factor comes from when you lift a championship cup or trophy and you feel that thrilling sensation.
You are currently participating in Proleague alongside StarTale. You also have a positive winning record for Proleague. Are you exercising synergy between you and Life?
We are partnered together but since I live at home right now and not at the team house, there really isn’t that much synergy there.
So then how do you practice at home usually?
I just sleep whenever I’m home. I do all my practicing at a nearby PC room. I tend to get bored from time to time, but then I feel entertained whenever I watch whatever game the person next to me is playing (laughs). The disadvantage to practicing in PC rooms these days though is that I’m concerned about the youth nowadays and how vulgar they are.
A pro gamer who practices in PC rooms? That’s kind of unique. Lastly, please say something to the fans.
I want to thank the fans who always cheer me on. Since my momentum is so good as of late my games have been going really well. So I will try to use this momentum and ride it all the way to the NSSL championship.