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ROX PraY: I Want SKT to Feel Despair

The ROX Tigers first burst on the scene in 2015 as a group of Korean “rejects” looking to qualify for the newly expanded League of Legends Champions Korea. The team not only started the LCK season by knocking-in everyone’s teeth, but they were fun and spirited, donning different uniforms every week. As the 1st place team before LCK Spring Finals, they even made a pose similar to Dragonball Z’s Ginyu Force. ROX has been a fun-loving, dominating team, but has fallen short of a few trophies, even losing against SKT in the finals that year.

This summer is the first split that the ROX Tigers held the Champions Korea cup in a 3-2 victory over KT Rolster. After multiple splits of finals frustration, the Tigers became champions in Summer and were no doubt the most feared team coming into this year’s World Championship. While ROX initially didn’t perform as such, they eventually took 1st place in their group despite a couple of upsets from Counter Logic Gaming and Albus NoX Luna.

Once it came to the quarterfinals, that’s where the ROX Tigers really turned it on; The Tigers handily defeated China’s #1 seed, EDward Gaming, 3-1 and earned themselves a chance to settle the score with SK Telecom T1 in the semifinals. We had the chance to speak with one of the main carries from ROX Tigers, veteran AD carry Kim “PraY” Jong-in.

As one of the veteran AD carries in the entire League of Legends scene, PraY has continued to be a driving force for the ROX tigers with bot lane partner Kang “GorillA” Beom-Hyeon. It was clear in the Tigers’ series against EDG that once bot lane got a lead, almost nothing could stop them. While having a strong 2v2 bot lane is always a boon for a team, PraY believes it is especially threatening in this meta.

“Once you start losing lane, the snowball gets really big in a very short amount of time.”

We saw the ROX Tigers also focus on the bot lane with numerous first rotation Caitlyn picks. PraY offered his thoughts on the pick and why it has had such priority placed on it.

“So after the lane-swap patch, teams have to focus on choosing stronger champions for lane. I think up till group stage, teams might have thought they can still react to Caitlyn and play around it.” However, it’s pretty clear at this point that champion’s oppressive range is extremely important in this meta. “By now, I think teams have figured out that Caitlyn is probably the strongest champion in the bottom lane,” PraY adds.

With all the attention on laning phase, an AD carry’s ability to contribute to a team’s snowball and damage later in the game has become far more important. “I definitely agree that after the lane-swap patch, we have to put more emphasis on the ADC and that it became more of a carry role...As you play in the standard lane style, ADC naturally has more pressure to carry.”

As much as PraY was initially questioned for his ability to perform as a big carry, due to his 1 year hiatus from League, he has proven himself to be one of the best AD carries in the world.

That pressure definitely didn’t get to him, even staring down the bottom lane against arguably the best AD carry in the world, Kim “Deft” Hyuk-Kyu. “I do agree that Deft is a really talented player, but I also think that almost every bottom duo at this worlds is really, really good.”

It doesn’t matter who PraY’s opponent is, the one constant is that it will be him playing against them. As much as he respects his opponent, he just plays the way he wants to. “ I just have a mindset that I will not lose to any other ADC so I don’t do anything different, I just play my own game.”

That certainly has shown itself to be a part of the ROX mindset as well, with the lineup playing its own game and making certain innovations like the “Juggermaw” composition. Now, it’s going to be about staring down an old opponent, and thorn in their side, SK Telecom T1, in the semi-finals at Madison Square Garden.

The history is certainly not in their favor, as they have yet to beat the juggernaut in a best of 5, losing 2 LCK finals and the S5 World Championship. “So, we lost to SKT in all our important matches. And whenever we played against them, we had this mindset that ‘this time it will be different,’ but we lost anyway.”

Normally it would be easy to say that ROX is the better team, but each time they sat at the top, it was indeed SKT that knocked them down. Last time it was the LCK championship and a chance at MSI, but now it’s a chance to capitalize on all their success with a shot at the world title.

More than that, it’s just another opportunity to finally take revenge against the tyrant SKT. “This time, there will be a difference and we just really want to give them back the despair we felt whenever we lost to them. We are going to try really, really hard to get payback this time.”

ROX Tigers are known as a fun-loving team. When it comes to SK Telecom, however, they sound as serious as the grave.

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