BUSAN, South Korea -- After surprisingly dropping their first two games in the League of Legends World Championship group stage, the defending world champions Gen.G came back with a vengeance against North America's Cloud9 Friday night, and sits in a three-way tie at 1-2 in Group B. ESPN.com spoke with star Gen.G bot laner Park "Ruler" Jae-hyuk about getting back into the win column and the prospects for his team moving forward in the tournament.
ESPN: Congratulations on your victory against Cloud9. How are you feeling?
Ruler: It's such a relief that our team has won. My performance has been bad for the last three matches, so I'm personally unsatisfied.
ESPN: What were the players were like when Gen.G finally won the game?
Ruler: Today's victory did not feel any different from victories in the [League Champions Korea]. We weren't celebrating or happy, we were just relieved.
ESPN: Gen.G had two losses before today's victory. There must have been difficulties keeping the team spirit up. What did the team do internally in order to raise the team atmosphere and show a good performance today?
Ruler: The team went out for dinner; we had rice bowls and fried chicken. We tried to have casual talks and enjoy ourselves. Afterwards, we practiced harder than ever, in order to win the game today. We tried to be a team, more than ever.
ESPN: In the post-match interview, you mentioned you were very nervous coming into the match today. Could you tell us more about this?
Ruler: I'm not exactly sure why, but I keep getting nervous. I feel better now, but whenever I enter the booth my hands seem to freeze [laughs] and I don't seem to play the game well.
ESPN: You did play well, and you also played Lucian today. Can you tell us more about the Lucian pick?
Ruler: For a Lucian pick to do well, you must gain lane pressure. However, I don't think I did well in [applying lane pressure] and I think that's something I can improve on.
ESPN: Crown, traditionally known for his AP mage picks, picked Aatrox today. Was Gen.G in general trying an experimental draft today, moving away from their traditional drafts?
Ruler: Crown had good results on Aatrox during practice. The team believed in him, and that is why we had drafted Aatrox today. I think Crown is good. [laughs]
The draft didn't come out as well as we would have hoped, however the picks we have shown today were picks that we had good results with during practice. I don't think we were being experimental in particular today. We simply drafted based on good results during practice.
ESPN: In a recent interview with CoreJJ, he mentioned that Gen.G is having difficulty closing out games. Do you agree with this? In your opinion, what are some issues that Gen.G has to fix?
Ruler: I also agree [with CoreJJ]. We seem to keep making mistakes in our matches, and these are often critical mistakes. This seems to be hindering us from our ability to close out the game. So first of all, I think we have to make [fewer] mistakes. As for myself, I think my performance is still very lacking as of the moment. That is something I have to improve on.
ESPN: Why do you think this is happening? Why is Gen.G making mistakes or are unable to close out games?
Ruler: We are all trying to figure out how to reduce mistakes in our games. I am still hopeful that we can improve over time. I think we just haven't thought about it enough, and we have to think about it more.
ESPN: Gen.G is the defending world champion. There is an expectation for LCK teams to get out of the group stage and make it to the quarterfinals. Are these factors pressuring you?
Ruler: For me, I do not feel pressured from these things. However I believe that it's something that could be on the minds of the other players on the team. I think it might be a factor.
ESPN: Gen.G still has a difficult journey ahead. Gen.G has always been known as a slow starter that performs better later in the tournament. Is this something you're hoping to happen again for this worlds?
Ruler: I'm not sure why, but indeed, we have had a slow start to Worlds. Now that we have our first victory, I'd like to have more wins. Not slow, but fast [laughs]. As we have always done.
ESPN: What will Gen.G have to do in order to make it to the quarterfinals?
Ruler: First of all, I think I have to improve on my current performance. To be honest, I feel as if the team has lost [the last two matches] because of me. So if I can continue doing well, we can progress to the quarterfinals.
ESPN: You'll be playing three more matches in the group stage. What are your resolutions for these matches?
Ruler: I'll play these three matches as if it's victory or death and show a good performance.
ESPN: LCK teams in overall have been having a difficult time in the first few days of the group stage. Afreeca Freecs also started worlds on two losses, and must win [Saturday's] match in order to keep the dream for quarterfinals alive. Do you have any words of support to Afreeca Freecs? Do you also have something to say to KT Rolster?
Ruler: Afreeca is in a similar situation as us at the moment. Whenever we pass by each other [at the venue], we give each other a bitter expression as we walk past. As Afreeca Freecs is in the same boat as us, I really hope that they can also win all the remaining matches they have. I hope that we see each other in the quarterfinals.
KT is already doing well at the moment, so I hope they continue to do as they are doing now. We'll do well too.
ESPN: Any last words?
Ruler: When the match was about to start, there were many fans [at the venue] who were telling us "Gen.G fighting" and "Ruler fighting." When we walked onto the stage, we were met with the support of the fans, people holding up Gen.G signs. It really warmed my heart. I think [seeing] that gave us a lot of strength. I promise to show good performance to repay this support, so please keep supporting us.