The Dignitas jungler talks about some of his preferred champions and his career spanning three different regions.
After six weeks of the LCS Spring Split, Dignitas finds itself in the top five, having won four of its last five matches. With just two weeks to go, Dignitas is a strong contender to make it to the playoffs. Esports.gg's Piratechnics caught up with the team's jungler, Kim "River" Dong-woo right after their win over TSM.
Q: First up, congratulations on your win. You have built a good record now, having a 3-2 record in the last few weeks. How does it feel to put more wins on the board of late?
Dig River: For me, obviously we've been winning the early game a lot in the past few weeks. But then the meta shifted to be different. During the super week, we lost a lot of games and then the meta changed again a little bit. I think the current meta is a little more favorable for us, so we can connect all the dots.
Q: It's coming at a good time as the playoffs are fast approaching. You got to play Jarvan again, and that's a champion that almost everybody seems to be banning against you. What is it about this champion that looks so strong when it is in your hands?
Dig River: For me, the last game when I picked it up, we lost the game. I think that's the reason why they opened Jarvan. Personally, I don't really like to pick Jarvan all the time, it depends on the situation. For me, today the reason I wanted to play Jarvan was because we had Cait-Lux, which is really good with J4. I think it depends on what we play on the bot side, that's why I like to play [it]?
Q: So I know from your PCS days your preference, or at least the Champions that you played a lot more were the likes of Xin Zhao, Lee Sin and a lot of Diana. You were known for being a snowballing Assasin Jungler. Getting the All-Pro vote (PCS Summer 2021 1st All Pro Team) for the Summer Split. Would you like to see more champions like Diana and Viego rise in priority so you can get to style on some kids?
Dig River: Yes, definitely I can play those champions for sure. But obviously, during the Scrims, I didn't really pick Jarvan because we didn't know how to play. So on scrim days, I pick a lot of different Champions to play with. But obviously, official matches are a little different than scrims. So if it's something like I have to pick J4 or champions like that, then I'll pick it, but sometimes if I have to pick Viego or things like that, I'd love to pick them. It depends on the pick-bans.
Q: You have had several weeks playing in North America. You arrived in the middle of the Lock-in tournament and had to hit the ground running. Now that you have had some experience, what is your impression of the overall skill in North America and in particular the other junglers that you play against?
Dig River: For me, when I was in the PSG Talon; obviously when we went to all the international tournaments, I think I always thought that NA is kind of the weaker region to be honest. But then once I played in the LCS, out of all five positions, I think Jungle is super strong. I think [the league] is super competitive and I think overall the Jungle role is super good for NA.
Q: Is there any particular jungler or maybe a few junglers that you especially watch to learn to improve from or just that you want to face off against multiple times?
Dig River: If I can choose one, I think C9 Blaber because I think his pathing as a Jungler is really good. I think he is a really great player.
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Q: You've now played three different regions in your career as a League of Legends player professionally. Do you think all that varied experience between the LJL, the PCS and now the LCS has given you any unique insight and strength as a player?
Dig River: Obviously, all my past experience with different regions definitely helps me a lot. Also I really like to challenge myself especially when I play in a new region. For example, I came here to NA for the first time to play in the LCS. I like to challenge myself in some way to ensure I can go too far. But the experience has definitely helped a lot.
Q: I'll end on a personal question. Now that you've been here in North America and Los Angeles for a little while, how are you finding it? Is there anything in particular you enjoy about being here, having traveled around the world?
Dig River: I haven't particularly found any things to do because we have to scrim all the time and can't go anywhere. But for me, I really love being in the USA a lot. The area is super nice and I want to live here forever.
Q: Playoffs will have fans back in the LCS studios. Dignitas is on track to make the playoffs. How excited are you to hear those cheers live for the first time in a while?
Dig River: For me, I didn't really have a lot of experience playing a match with a lot of fans present. I think if I can imagine, I'd be really nervous. It would be really exciting for me to play with all the fans in the audience.
Special thanks to Toby Kwon for assisting in the translation.