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Photos of CoreJJ competing in the North American LCS Spring Split.
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CoreJJ: A Humble Return to NA

Apr 112019

What does it take for a pro player to completely uproot themselves, switch regions, and move 6,000 miles away from home? Well for Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-In, not that much!

I played three years in LCK so I wanted to refresh my mind and leave Korea. 

That being said, it’s not unusual for Korean players to leave the LCK and move on to other regions. Nor is it unusual for those players to end up in North America at some point. What is unusual is the sheer number of top tier players that left Korea this past off season. But CoreJJ didn’t leave his family and his home behind just for any team that came calling. He had his sights set on Team Liquid, more specifically Doublelift, from the moment he decided to look outside the LCK. 

First, I’m used to living in NA because I was here before. Secondly, DoubleLift is here. Doublelift is the main reason behind my decision to join Team Liquid. I really wanted to play with him. He improves every year. And I wanted to be a part of that. 

You see CoreJJ is the support most AD Carries can only dream of. He’s a World Champion with a top tier skill set who always believes his current ADC is the best. CoreJJ’s goal is to care for his “baby” (what he calls his current ADC, Doublelift) as much as possible. And when he fails, he feels bad about it. Sort of…

Long before the Spring Split had even reached the halfway point, talk of CoreJJ being the best candidate for MVP began. And for good reason. His play is disgustingly clean, he has undeniably been a driving force behind Team Liquid’s war machine-like regional domination, and there is no doubt that he is bringing quite a lot to his team’s table. Though, if you ask him, he’s not doing anything special.

 

I’m not sure [what I do differently from other support players], because I’m not really sure how other support players think about the game. But I usually just try to think about how I can win the game, maybe that’s all it is.

 

He’s not just modest when it comes to individual performance either. To him, there really is no secret ingredient to his sauce. He’s just doing his best to play the best League of Legends he can. Whether that be protecting his “baby,” keeping himself in a winning mindset, or even learning to win from studying Doublelift’s idiosyncrasies.

 

Peter has a specific idea of how he wants to play, a specific playstyle, so by learning and absorbing that from him we learned to play together. When we were thinking about good teams all have in common we realized that they always have a strong bottom [half of the map]. So since they always win bot we wanted to try to prioritize winning our lane. The good thing is that we both wanted to win our lane so I learned how to win with him very easily. And mostly we’ve won so I think we did quite well.

Though slow to admit to leading his team in anyway, CoreJJ will admit that he has learned a few things since returning to NA. Things like “never base,” the importance of unbenching the Kench, and every single weakness Vladimir has as a champion. And also how to look at the game from a new perspective of course.

 

I’ve learned a different approach to game play by playing with DoubleLift. NA teams are also more open to having conversations with each other inside the team.

 

Honestly, it’s understandable that CoreJJ might find it easy to brush off all the hard work he’s put in over the years as just another part of his job. Supports are not supposed to shine in the spotlight in the same way solo laners or the very ADCs they share bottom lane with are supposed to. Instead they quietly set their entire team up for success every game while taking their team’s appreciation as payment in kind. But even so it’s that very work ethic that has allowed CoreJJ to attain the highest achievements possible in League of Legends — winning Worlds in 2017.

 

I had lost to SKT in 2016 and in 2017 I didn’t want to lose anymore. I just didn’t want to lose to SKT again. I think that loss to them actually helped me.

 

Now, however, those achievements are in the past. CoreJJ has moved to a different region and has put his lot in with his new teammates. While the game might always be the same, CoreJJ’s goal has shifted. 

 

I cannot think of what’s different [between the LCK and LCS] really. I just play the game. There are new enemies and there are different champions but I just do what I need to do to win and that always changes based on the draft or opponent no matter where you are. I want to be on the team that brings NA their first international win. 

 

In his opinion CoreJJ has yet to make any lasting memories in NA. Though he still has many goals he has yet to test his might at any of them. And while (understandably) secretive about many things team-related, mostly due to Team Liquid’s ongoing preparations for their upcoming Spring Split Finals match against TSM, CoreJJ was forthcoming about what he wants his first NA memory to be.

 

If we win the finals that moment will be it.

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