On May 20th, a legend returned to the LCK stage. Just a month after announcing his retirement from League of Legends, Kim “PraY” Jong-in signed with KT Rolster as the team’s new AD Carry.
Earlier in 2019 at the spring splits, KT suffered the team’s worst split in its history, finishing at ninth place and dropping to the relegation tournament. The bot lane of KT was consistently criticized as the main reason behind the South Korean team’s unprecedented underperformance. Many fans are hoping that PraY will lift KT back from the bottom of the LCK rankings, and even to playoffs and Worlds.
PraY, however, told that he wished “the fans would have zero expectation on me“. PraY said in the press conference held at LoL Park, Seoul. “Part of the reason why I was so hesitant to return to the stage was because of such pressure. Everyone was saying, “Please come to KT and save us.” I don’t think I’m a being worthy of such praise.”
Congratulations on returning to the stage, PraY. How do feel about coming out of the retirement?
PraY: I’m just a man who thought he’d never get play at LoL Park. I’d like to thank KT Rolster for giving me this great opportunity. If this becomes a starting point for me to continue to my career as a professional gamer, next year or even years after, that wouldn’t be terrible.
No one can deny how extremely talented you are. Your winrate on the [Korean] solo queue, climbing to Challenger with a new account, is impressive, to say the least. What percentage of this do you think you can bring to the stage?
PraY: I haven’t personally been feeling like I’m very good, though. I haven’t been able to tell myself “Wow, I was good” after a game. I haven’t had a chance to play scrims yet so it’s been the solo queue games, but I haven’t had the feeling that you’re describing.
When KT had been approaching me, that had also been my response – That it’s been difficult to find my self-confidence. KT’s insisted that I should just come to the team first, and then find my self-confidence from there. So I’m in the progress of getting that confidence back.
What’s your impression on the new team so far? How is the team atmosphere of KT Rolster?
PraY: The team atmosphere, overall, is good. As for our expectation of the result, I think it’s so-so. I haven’t had that much scrim with the team at the moment, so I can’t give solid answers. If we keep finding footwork … If only I step up, the team will perform well.
Heading into the summer split, are the LCK teams that you are particularly concerned about?
PraY: Last split, this team ended up at … [laughs] I’m concerned about everyone. But I’m here to bring KT to the top three. So I’m concerned about the three teams that finished at top three the last split.
KT, as you implied, had the worst result in the organization’s history at the spring split. Now that you’ve joined the team, what do you think will happen with the team?
PraY: I’ve heard the saying, “Always aim high”. Well, I’ve come to [LCK] write a dramatic soap opera. Let’s say that we will win the summer split and head straight to Worlds.
You must have answered this in other interviews, too, but … You are reunited with two of your former teammates, Smeb [from ROX Tigers] and Bdd [from Kingzone DragonX]. Half of the four teammates in the starting roster are your former teammates. How does that feel?
PraY: It’s too early to say that we’ll have a good team synergy just yet. I’ve played in the same team with Smeb and Bdd before. We already understand each other, we know how each other plays the game. So it will be easier. We won’t be starting from scratch, we are working from a foundation.
There was so much hope around you eventually joining KT. Wasn’t there a lot of pressure around this?
PraY: Part of the reason why I was so hesitant to return to the stage was because of such pressure. Everyone was saying, ‘Please come to KT and save us.’ I don’t think I’m a being worthy of such praise. I wish, rather, that the fans would have zero expectation on me. The lower the expectation is, the higher the happiness is when you achieve beyond the expectation and finish high in the ranking. So I hope the fans will lower their expectation.
Did you talk to Smeb before you signed the contract?
PraY: He only found out that I was joining KT Rolster after I signed the contract.
I did talk to Smeb a while ago. I would ask him stuff like – What the team atmosphere is like. Then two days later, I announced my retirement. I’m not sure if this was actually the case, but maybe my actions swayed him. So at that time, I was very apologetic to Smeb.
I even told Smeb that I am sorry when I announced my retirement. Then, Smeb realized that I was coming to KT after all … Well, we’re good friends. So he said stuff like, ‘How could you? What are you even doing?’
Thank you for the interview. Do you have any final resolution you’d like to share with the fans?
After all, it’s my first match in LoL Park so I hope that I get a good victory. I’d like to walk over to the opponent booth and shake their hands.