Inven's Kim Hong-Je recently caught up with Jang 'MC' Min-Chul to talk about his retirement and return to progaming. The following is the translated interview:
Q: It feels new seeing you on CJ Entus.
A: Somehow I've ended up as a progamer again. I know that some people are happy for me, while others aren't so pleased. I hope to get good results and become a player who's welcomed by all.
Q: You announced your retirement in June of 2015. As far as we know, your passion as a player had cooled down?
A: That's correct to some degree. However, I hadn't considered going so far as retirement. I was looking for a new team, but there weren't any teams that fit my conditions. That made me feel some doubt, and since I had to worry about making an immediate living, I naturally came to retire.
Q: You streamed actively after you retired. How was life as Jang Min-chul the BJ?["broadcast jockey" in Korean internet lingo]
A: There was a lot of commotion during the early phase of my stream (laughs). There were a lot of areas where I was a bit lacking as a BJ. Actually, I hadn't planned to stream StarCraft 2 early on. I had put meaning in the fact that was I taking a shot at a new field. However, my fans wanted me to stream StarCraft 2, and Legacy of the Void was fun when I tried it after it came out. So I ended up just doing StarCraft 2.
Kongdoo [A management agency for streamers that MC was signed to] gave me a lot of help. I earned about 2,000,000 won [approximately $1700 USD] a month while streaming. I want to use this interview as an opportunity to thank Seo Gyeong-jong [former Brood War progamer Shark, presently top executive at Kongdoo] for being completely fine with it when I told him I wanted to return to being a progamer, even though I had time left on my contract.
It was a good experience when I think about it, and I'm thankful to everyone who watched and supported me. So I don't embarrass those fans, I want to show them an amazing side as a progamer as well.
Q: You participated at IEM Taipei 2016 as an amateur(?).
A: The organizers gave me an offer. Before that, I had won an Archon mode tournament at Red Bull Battlegrounds alongside HuK, so I think that overseas they figured 'MC' wasn't dead yet and gave me a pass (laughs).
Q: From what we know, you actively approached CJ Entus first in order to restart your progaming career. Is that correct?
A: In January of this year, I wanted to join a Korean team through KeSPA's posting system but things didn't work out the way I wanted. However, I kept participating in qualifiers, and I had some talks with Orion and iloveoov [CJ and SKT head coaches, respectively] while I was there. After talking to Orion at the last GSL qualifier, I ended up joining. Breaking through the qualifiers and getting a taste of victory again was critical.
Q: You hadn't been aiming for CJ Entus from the beginning?
A: Rather than me wanting to join, it was more that as long as there was a team that wanted me, it didn't really matter to me which one it was. I was confident that if I joined and played well, the team would also improve.
Q: Have you finished adjusting to your teammates?
A: I've been friends with ByuL and Ragnarok since our IM days, and I've been friends with herO as we went to a lot of foreign tournaments together. Also, I have a relationship with CJ practice partner Jang Wook from the times he helped me practice while I was on foreign teams. The rest I didn't know that well, but now I get along with everyone.
Q: You've reached the pinnacle as a progamer, so your present goals must be a bit different now that you've returned.
A: I took a year off from progaming so I want to bring my skill back up quickly. My personal goal is to get through my Code A match on the 17th and reach Code S. If I get opportunities to play in Proleague, I want to get around three wins in Round 3. Pros speak through their results, and don't results thus lead to getting paid? I want to play well and get results, and make a lot of money.
Q: What level are you at right now?
A: By tournament game standards I'm about 3rd~4th place on the team. Because I have a lot of experience and since I'm confident at best of ones, I'm confident I can get the most wins after herO and ByuL.
Q: You seem a lot more modest than in the past.
A: I'm still being cautious. Among CJ Entus fans, a lot of them were negative about me joining. A lot of people saw it as simply filling a spot on the roster since the team was lacking in players. Because I want to prove myself through results, I'm being careful about promising anything with words beforehand.
Q: You made it through the Code A preliminaries not long ago. What are your realistic chances of making it to Code S?
A: It would have been tough if I had a hard opponent. However, I think Jouney is someone I'm completely capable of taking on. I don't think he'll be difficult. I even beat him on ladder recently (laughs).
Q: Have you received a lot of help from herO?
A: We just give each other some advice. We don't get that involved. Rather, it's ByuL who has a tough time versus Protoss so I'm giving him advice. Also, as an older player, I want to say that Hush is really good in practice, even if that hasn't shown up in televised games.
Q: You're a divisive player because you have a knack for banter and have a strong sense of showmanship. Any final word for your fans?
A: When the news broke that I was making a comeback, there were more flames than positive comments. However, that made me good. I thought that it was better to be flamed than not be commented on at all. I'm thinking about it positive, taking it as a sign that I'm not dead yet. I'll become a progamer plays well, and makes a lot of money and speaks through his results.