With no-Croc headed home, we caught up with him to ask about LOUD’s short run at Worlds 2023
With their surprise elimination from Worlds 2023 a lot sooner than they may have hoped, we caught up with LOUD's jungler Park 'Croc' Jong-hoon; about playing in Korea, taking his teammates to the best spots in Seoul and being knocked out so early on.
LOUD had been expected to reach the Swiss Stage but during their match against the VCS' GAM Esports, they were swept out of contention and were unable to progress any further as GAM finished up the series in a quick 2-0.
Swapping regions and playing with family in the audience
Question: Across the span of your career (thus far at least) you have played in the LJL, LCK, LCO and now CBLoL, is there a specific reason for your move (and continued play) in the CBLoL?
LOUD Croc: I took a break for a while, and when I started back up, I moved to English-speaking regions for a while such as Oceania. But I happened to play in Brazil, and although English isn't the native language, most players speak English so I thought it seemed good.
At my first finals in Brazil, I was not able to win it all, I had so many thoughts going through my head and before I was able to make it back home my father passed away so I was going through a lot of stuff and it was a rough time. I got another offer from Brazil for the next season so I had another chance to win the title and tell my dad who will be watching me that I'm doing a great job. You know, I just wanted to show him something and show him I was ok. With the offer, I was able to pursue it one more time. Ever since then, I was just happy with everything, I have great teammates and supporting staff.
Question: We saw on social media that some of your family were able to come and watch live in the audience during your matches, how did it make you feel having them in the audience?
LOUD Croc: I debuted as a professional player in 2015, but I was never able to invite my family to watch my match on-site because I was always performing in a foreign region and they couldn't travel. So it's been like eight or maybe nine years and finally, I was able to have them watch it live out there in the audience supporting me. I'm just really thankful for this opportunity and to have them here with me.
Meeting expectations of the CBLoL on the international stage
Question: This was an expected LOUD win and you were expected to progress far further than here, how do you feel knowing this is where your Worlds 2023 journey ends?
LOUD Croc: I was like this year could be the moment where finally Brazil or CBLOL make their dream come true of you know advancing to the main stage. So far the scrims were going great and after that PSG series, we were able to learn so much but somehow today when we arrived I could tell that most of my teammates did not feel so confident.
Question: In the battle of the minor regions, CBLoL vs VCS is an expected CBLoL win, were GAM Esports just too strong, or were you feeling the nerves as it was an elimination match?
LOUD Croc: I honestly thought we were going to win this one, the VCS teams didn't look that strong and we felt confident going in. But once we were in-game, we just seemed to lose confidence and made mistakes in our communication. We could have improved a lot, but we didn't show our best performance today. It's a shame. We thought we would win easily and prepare for the next Team Whales series but it just didn't really happen.
Question: GAM looked very aggressive in this matchup (or at least more aggressive than usual), were you ready for this or did it take you by surprise?
LOUD Croc: Well, we all knew that the VCS region itself, is really aggressive, they love to snowball really fast, so we were aware of that. But today, I think we were the ones being really proactive early on, and we were able to kind of block out the aggressiveness of GAM early on, but, then after that, we were making some very weird mistakes.
While we successfully shut down GAM with their aggressive playstyle early on, we slowly became the one falling apart or maybe even trolling and that started off another snowball for them. And just really led to our loss.
Showing teammates around Croc's home
Question: As you of Korean descent, has there been anything particularly special about having Worlds be hosted in South Korea this year?
Croc: It wasn't that special to play in, but the good thing was that I was able to travel with my teammates to my motherland, Korea, and make good memories while watching the game. The best part was that I was able to bring my good teammates who have been performing together for such a long time to all the good places in Seoul.
For example, I was able to take them out to some of the tourist spots to, you know, bring them more experience and take them to the best places! I was just happy that I got to have them in my home country, share experiences, and get to spend some quality time together. So it's going to be a great memory for us.
Question: Here at Esports GG we've been asking pro players if there is an in-game champion they really resonate with - we've had some very interesting answers - so the same question to you, if you had to be a LoL champion, who would you be and why?
LOUD Croc: [totally surprised] This is such a hard question to answer seriously!
Interviewer: You don't need to answer seriously!]
Croc: Ah well in that case then, I'd be Gragas as on my days off I like to hang out with friends and go for a drink!