With no expectations, SANDBOX Gaming made their mark on the LCK. Freshly promoted to the LCK in 2019, Sandbox quickly fixed itself on top of the LCK rankings, defeating the likes of SK Telecom T1 and Kingzone DragonX and even stealing a game away from Griffin. Sandbox currently sits at 2nd place of the 2019 LCK Spring Split rankings.
After Sandbox’s victory over DAMWON Gaming, Ashley Kang interviewed the team’s jungler Kim “OnFleek” Jang-gyeom. OnFleek discussed Sandbox’s rise back to power, the difference in playstyle between the LCK and the LPL and an interesting episode about his name.
You have defeated DAMWON Gaming, a powerful opponent who had been on a winning streak. How are you feeling at the moment?
My team and DAMWON Gaming both played in Challenger Korea the last split. This was before we renamed to SANDBOX Gaming, when we were Team BattleComics. There was a rivalry between us and Damwon, but we would almost always lose to DAMWON Gaming.
However, we have won both matches against DAMWON Gaming with a 2-1 match score this split. That is extremely rewarding for us.
What do you think changed with DAMWON Gaming?
The biggest change would be the roster. Damwon also made several additions to their roster…As new players playing in the team, that changes the playstyle, the direction of the practice. It came down to which team found better teamwork [within the new roster].
I have to talk about your performance on Jax in game three against DAMWON Gaming. You’ve previously mentioned that he is a champion you favor. How do you rate your Jax performance today?
We drafted Jax after seeing the opponent team’s draft, and it was effective. I think I played pretty well in every dragon fight. I think I did well.
Do you think you deserved the MVP for the game?
Hmmm. I did also die around the Baron, I thought I had lost the MVP. However, I showed a good performance before that and I redeemed myself at the fight after we had lost the Baron. So I guess I got the MVP.
SANDBOX Gaming declined after the 9.2 patch. However, Sandbox seems to have gathered itself back up after a short period of slump. Do you agree with the statement that Sandbox was a “Patch-specific powerhouse”? What has the team been doing in order to adapt to the meta changes?
I do feel that we were the team that was best optimized for the 9.2 patch. Wait, there is also Griffin, so maybe that’s not true…Anyway, I do feel that Sandbox was a team that adapted well and played well during that meta. Our players favored and performed well on Aatrox, Akali and Urgot who were all very powerful. Then the champions were nerfed and we started carving different paths towards victory, and perhaps we faced some friction during that stage.
It was an unfortunate series of events. Joker-hyung and I both suffered from a bad case of fever during that time. Somehow, all the bad news just came at once. I’m not making excuses for the team, I’m simply stating the facts … However, we are adjusting to the new meta and everything once again.
Whenever I interview other players in SANDBOX Gaming, they, too, mention Joker. He’s referred to as the pillar, the heart of the team.
Outside the games, the team really rotates around Joker-hyung. If we are going out for dinner, he’s the one who decides the menu [laughs]. He is like the class president. Then that connects to our in-game interactions. The fact that he is the leader outside the games transfers to in-game leadership. Also, it’s better for the support player to serve the role. Joker is very good at sensing the flow of the game.
I do hear that Joker is the main shotcaller for the team. You could say that because he is a good shotcaller and the team respects his calls, the synergy leads to a good performance.
I wanted to ask about your in-game name, OnFleek. How did you come to choose your name?
When I first joined this team – We were named Team BattleComics at that time – as an upcoming amateur player, the coach suggested several options [for my in-game name]. One of the suggestions was OnFleek, the coach told me it meant “flawless”. I thought it rolled well off the tongue.
I have a funny anecdote about this. The coach first recommended me the name “CCTV”, yeah, it’s so out of the blue [laughs]. I actually didn’t think it was bad! I visualized myself as a CCTV, using sweeping lenses, and I thought it was fitting. However, I guessed that the committee would be against the name, so I ended up resorting to OnFleek.
Are you saying you would have gone with the name CCTV if the committee was ok with it?
I went with OnFleek because I was sure it wouldn’t go through the committee, but yeah, if it was allowed, I would have named myself CCTV. Because it’s funny.
Have you been watching the LPL – The Chinese league?
The LCK junglers also have been shifting towards a more aggressive, early-game playstyle, you being one example. However, the junglers in the LPL play with an even higher level of aggression, impacting the lanes from the very early stages of the game. What are your thoughts on LPL, and the difference in the role of the jungler between the LPL and the LCK?
In the LPL, junglers skip the camps completely and run straight to the lanes for ganks. When these ganks actually work out, one might think that the ganks are actually good. However, in the LCK, the junglers focus more on being aware of the opposing jungler’s pathing and clearing camps accordingly. If you gank and fail, the gap between the two junglers widens too much and that’s why the LCK junglers seem to play around camps.
I say that it’s merely a difference of style. Yes, the LPL style of ganking certainly has its risks but with high risk comes high returns. Meanwhile the LCK plays the low-risk low-return game. It’s difficult to say which style is better. That question will be answered at this year’s Worlds. I think the 2019 Worlds will be extremely important. We will truly know which region’s style is better, which style is the correct one.
The next match you have is against Griffin. What are your resolutions and predictions for that match-up?
When we last faced Griffin, we lost against them 2-1. That made us wonder if Griffin is mortal. However, at the same time, Griffin simply plays to perfection without any mistakes, making us lose due to our own mistakes. That was regretful. When we face them this time, we will try to play without any mistakes. If we manage that, just maybe we’ll have a chance at that match. It’ll all come down to which team makes a mistake.
Even if we do make mistakes but we learn from them, it would be a meaningful loss.
Thank you for the interview, OnFleek. Do you have any last words, perhaps to the fans?
My personal goal for this year is to go to Rift Rivals. I’ll keep working hard so I can achieve this goal.