We sat down with PSG Talon’s Hanabi and Juhan after Day 4 to talk about their games, the experience of being at MSI, and what they still need to improve on to challenge the best.
It's been an interesting Mid-Season Invitational for PSG Talon. The Pacific Series representative has a history of success, placing top four in this tournament just last year. This year, they began with an upset loss to Brazil's RED Canids, but have completely picked up their play since then, losing only to China's Royal Never Give Up. A replay is also in order for one RNG game, due to ping issues.
We sat down with PSG's Su "Hanabi" Chia-Hsiang and rookie Lee "Juhan" Ju-han after the fourth day of play to discuss their thoughts on their second (or first?) game against RNG, the dynamics in the team, and what the experience has been like at this MSI.
What has the MSI experience been like?
For Juhan, it's his first tournament back in Korea. He played in the Challengers league last year - the second tier of Korean LoL - and left for PSG Talon this year. On his return home, fans have held up his name in the stands.
"It's my home, so it's so comfortable," he said. "It's so comfortable to play in Korea." He noted that the level of play in the PCS was slightly harder than in Challengers Korea. Asked about the difference between the PCS and MSI, he laughed. "Against the strong, strong teams, there's a bit of a gap."
Despite this gap, though, both Hanabi and Juhan were happy with the MSI format. It's come into criticism this year, as seeing the best teams in the world beat up on minor regions is no fun for the fans. "I really like the format, I'll also like it when major region teams can play together," Hanabi said. "But I think every team is super good, like the wildcards, they can have some games that really surprise us. For us, RED, the wildcard team, smashed us the first day." Juhan agreed that the format was good, as it "gives a chance to the minor region teams."
The issue of RNG was also brought up. Because the Chinese team couldn't attend the event, all teams were forced to play on an artificial 35 ping, but players have been complaining that it was higher. Ultimately, the decision was made to replay the first three games RNG played; one against each team in their group.
"I was actually really surprised at the decision [to replay our first game]," Juhan said. "But at the same time, it's a big honor for us because we get another chance. So I will make sure to come back with a stronger mindset heading into the next one."
2022 PSG Talon and the loss to RNG
Hanabi has now been an active professional player for four years, since 2018. That makes him a veteran among the team. He noted how his role as a player had changed. "My role in this PSG is that I try to keep myself calmed down. I try not to be nervous on stage because this can really encourage the rookies in my team. For many of them, this is their first international experience."
That experience showed in the draft phase of PSG's game against RNG on Day 4. During draft, it looked like RNG baited PSG into picking Vladimir for Hanabi, while they shifted Sett to the bot lane to give Chen "Bin" Ze-Bin counterpick. But, Hanabi said, "The reason for us to pick Vladimir is that we feel like this can be a very good counterpick against Bin, even though it's a blind pick. Because Bin, his champion pool really contains a lot of burst champions, and I feel that Vladimir can be a very good pick against Irelia." It nearly worked.
For their weekend match against RNG, Juhan said that areas to improve were better containing Xiaohu in the mid lane, better tracking the enemy jungler, and making better Baron calls.