The Storm: Interview with Xenics Storm's MayTue 12th Jun 2012 - 9:40pm Category: League of Legends
The OGN Summer League of Legends tournament is just around the corner. In this tournament, five foreign teams, including Team Dignitas, will compete in an attempt to establish a presence in Korea, the mecca of e-sports. The OGN Spring tournament was the proving ground that separated the pretenders from the contenders, and in this tournament, competition will be ever fiercer.
I personally wanted to bring more exposure to the Korean teams to our fans, and I figured that I would start with Xenics Storm. Not only has Xenics Storm proved to be a top contender by reaching the semi-finals in the previous tournament, it was also arguably the surprise team that lurked in the shadows of well-known teams such as MiG and Najin e-mFire. I had an opportunity to interview May, Xenics Storm’s top laner, and I hope the fans will enjoy this interview:
(Image courtesy of Fomos)
Xenics Storm May
When did you start playing League of Legends, and how did you become a pro-gamer?
May: I started two years ago when a schoolmate introduced the game to me. Back then I never thought that I would play at a professional level, but when I represented Korea in WCG 2011 and spoke to my parents, I decided to explore that route.
What do you think is good about the game, and what do you think is bad about it?
May: The largest appeals to the game are that it can be engaging for everyone and that it can be played with friends since it is a 5v5 game. However, a downside is that since it is a 5v5 game, it can be mentally distressful even if there is just one troll on your team.
Who is your favourite K-pop artist/group? Favourite food? Hobby?
May: I like girl groups since I’m a guy, and SNSD is my favourite. As for food, I like kalbi-jjim (braised short ribs). Finally, since I’m a professional LoL player, I find myself playing Dominion or watching movies during my pastime.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a professional LoL player or if you retire?
May: If I wasn’t a professional player, or if I retired, I would be returning to university after I complete my military service.
How did you become the top-lane player for your team?
May: I was actually a mid-lane player. But after I switched to top lane, I found an aptitude for that role, and I have been playing that position since then.
Can you briefly explain the role of a top-lane player (for instance, why the top lane is important in the game and what role he or she fulfills for the team)?
May: Top lane is not a game-deciding lane in the laning and mid-game phases. The major impact of a top-laner in those phases can be seen in dragon fights; you have to decide if you want to go for the objective or push the lane. In the mid and late-game phases, the top laner becomes the tank for the team, and for this reason, top lane becomes more important later on in the game.
Personally I think that the selection of champions for top lane is extremely limited. For instance, if a player chooses Talon or Pantheon, that player would pretty much have to forfeit the lane to players that select champions such as Lee Sin or Riven. Do you agree with this? Have you felt that LoL may be somewhat lacking in this regard?
May: I agree that champions that are viable in top lane are definitely limited. If a ranged AD champion takes top lane, the opponent can earn a kill by diving, and if an AP champion such as Annie or Cassiopeia that uses mana takes the lane, ganks are very scary. Therefore, at the minimum, champions that have survivability/sustain and have controllable mana costs should take the top lane. AP champions that meet these requirements, such as Rumble, Vladimir, or Kennen, are extremely limited. Otherwise, tanky damage dealers, or bruisers, end up in top lane.
Can you tell us which top lane champion is your favourite or is your most-played one and why?
May: I’m not selective when it comes to top lane champions, but my favourite and my most-played champion is Rumble. If Rumble farms normally during the laning phase, his presence can be amplified two-fold in team fights by using the Equalizer.
Do you have a champion that you hate or stay away from?
May: I actually do have one, and it’s Yorick. I don’t think he’s a weak champion, but I also think that he doesn’t do much in the game and I can’t get used to him.
Do you feel that you have a “top lane rival”? If so, who?
May: Right now I don’t feel that I have a rival.
Can you provide a tip on how to excel in top lane for lower ELO players? Which champion would you recommend to those players?
May: Champions that I would recommend are Darius, the currently OP champion, and Vladimir. A tip that I would provide is that when the time comes for a possible dragon fight, you must have good judgment of the situation and decide if you want to participate or push the top lane.
What do you think of the recently released champion Darius?
May: Darius is absurdly OP. He definitely needs a nerf.
Life in the Gaming House
Do you currently live in a gaming house? How is it there?
May: Yes I do, and I have been here for about four months. I’m keeping myself busy and I’m doing well here.
What are some pros and cons of a gaming house?
May: A significant advantage is that it is easier to schedule scrims together as a team and practice more professionally. A disadvantage may be that there is no personal privacy in this setting.
How much do you practice per day, and can you talk about your normal practice schedule?
May: Currently I’m participating in scrims as they are scheduled or playing solo-queue. I haven’t really counted how many hours I practice per day but I usually get up at 11am and practice until I go to bed.
The coach of Xenics Storm is Hong Jin Ho, the legendary "Storm Zerg" from SC:BW. What exactly is his role within the team?
May: He manages our practice schedule, and most importantly, he gives us a lot of practical advice regarding the mental aspect of professional gaming by drawing on his past SC:BW experiences.
(Image courtesy of Daum Media)
Does the coach have a certain management style?
May: He is a very kind coach, but when he catches a mistake he is very forthright about it.
What is ManyReason's role within the team as the team captain? Is he assigned with special duties in the gaming house?
May: His role is to make calls within the game, but recently our new jungler (keep reading!) has been taking over in that capacity. Within the gaming house, our daily schedules are delivered to ManyReason.
The concept of having a coach is almost non-existent in the American/European scene. Do you think coaches can assist foreign teams perform better? How?
May: I think foreign teams will be able to practice more efficiently if they had a coach.
OGN Azubu Spring Tournament/Foreign Scene
Unfortunately your team lost in the semi-finals of the OGN Azubu Spring tournament. After the loss, in which areas did you feel that you needed to improve on, and how did you overcome those shortcomings?
May: I felt that our level 1 team fights and initiations for team fights needed to be worked on. We have been working on our level 1 fights through scrims, and we have been tinkering with different team compositions to address our initiation problems.
How would you evaluate CLG.NA and Fnatic, the two foreign teams that competed in that tournament?
May: CLG.NA is a team with a deep history and I think the individual members are outstanding players. CLG.NA, be it because of a problem within the team or making bad calls in the game, didn’t post impressive results. Nevertheless, I think that those problems are discernable and are easily correctable through practice and effort. We didn’t play Fnatic in the tournament, but through scrims, I feel that they have a problem with making calls for plays in the game.
Do you feel that that the Korean and foreign teams have different play styles? Please elaborate.
May: There is a bit of a difference; the domestic teams focus heavily on team fights whereas I feel that the bot lanes are very aggressive for foreign teams.
You went up against Hotshot in top lane in the Round of 16 of the Spring tournament. How was it?
May: Hotshot came to top lane after a First Blood, and since I was playing Corki, it was a farmfest. It’s difficult to comment on the match-up because of this.
Recently Hotshot moved to the Jungle position (and Voyboy from Team Dignitas replaced Hotshot in top lane). What do you think about this move? If you had to switch positions likewise, how do you think it would turn out?
May: I don’t play a lot of jungle so I don’t feel that I would perform well, but since Hotshot voluntarily switched positions I think he will be fine if he practices.
The Chinese teams surprised a lot of fans with their results in the Go4LoL Asia tournament. Can you comment on the winner Taipei Assassins and World Elite, the team you played against in the tournament? Is there a visible difference in skills?
May: Both are excellent teams. I don’t think that there is a skill gap between them and the Korean teams, but I feel that we lost [against World Elite] because we were outplayed. If we play them again I feel that we can win.
In the upcoming OGN Summer tournament, five foreign teams will compete. Do you have a lot of interest in the foreign LoL scene? Do you have a foreign/domestic team that you are keeping your eyes on?
May: I watch foreign tournaments and I have come to be interested in Team Dignitas, CLG.EU, and Na’Vi. I would really like to scrim against those teams.
Xenics Storm's New Member and Closing Remarks
There is an unconfirmed rumor that H0r0 has moved to the second team and has been replaced with Nolja. Is this true? Can you talk about Nolja as your new teammate?
May: Yes, it is true. I have known Nolja since he was in Team OP and I think he is an outstanding jungler.
(Image courtesy of Thisisgame)
What is your favourite memory as a professional gamer?
May: If we won the Spring tournament, that would have been my favourite memory. But instead I will only remember our defeat at the hands of MiG Frost and look to have our revenge.
Do you have anything to say to your teammates, coach, and staff?
May: I will do my best! (Note: The literal translation of his answer was that he will “cheer up”. He might have meant that, or he may have said this because of a perceived lack of enthusiasm or effort).
Do you have anything to say to your fans? You and Xenics Storm actually have a lot of fans across the seas!
May: Thank you for cheering on Xenics Storm and thank you again for your interest. To give back to our fans, we will win the Summer tournament.
I would personally like to thank May for agreeing to participate in this lengthy interview and Mr. Lee, the manager of Xenics Storm, for being very kind and supportive of my initiative to bring more Korean content to the fans overseas.