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CoreJJ: “We have an actual shot to win Worlds”

Dan Smyth-Temple

Team Liquid pulled off a decisive win against Dignitas on the second day of the 2021 Spring Split, bouncing back from their surprising loss to Immortals. Expectations for this roster have only risen since beating C9 3-2 in the Lock In Finals, but Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in believes that the hype is well-deserved.

CoreJJ Team Liquid

CoreJJ has high hopes for TL’s current roster despite a rocky start to the Spring Split (Photo via Riot Games)

We caught up with CoreJJ to hear his thoughts on the loss to Immortals, what motivates him to stay on top, and his long-term goals.

Hotspawn: Congrats on that win! How’re you feeling midway through the weekend?

CoreJJ: It’s a relief. I was a little bit worried when we started behind. I think overall, how we played, I’m okay with it. We just made some mistakes. Overall I think it was fine. We did pretty good.

Hotspawn: It seemed like you guys were in control for the most part, apart from a few hiccups. Did you feel like you had something to prove after that loss to Immortals yesterday?

CoreJJ: I dunno. Even last year, when Xmithie was on Immortals, we lost to them. Multiple times I think, in Spring split. I dunno, there’s something [about playing] against Immortals.

Hotspawn: Your kryptonite! Despite that loss yesterday, it still seems like Team Liquid is on top right now. How confident are you feeling going forward?

CoreJJ: I think yeah, we can say we’re the top team. But I don’t think there’s a huge gap. If another team has a good day, or we have a bad day, every team can win against us. And we can win against every team too. We’re still on top, but it’s close.

Hotspawn: For a while now, and especially this split, everyone seems to agree that you’re the best support in NA. How do you maintain the motivation and confidence to stay on top like that for so long?

CoreJJ: I have huge confidence right now. I think it’s because I feel like I didn’t accomplish anything yet. I didn’t come here to [just] make Worlds— I came here to go higher. Last two years at Worlds, we didn’t make it out of groups even though it was really close. I think that motivates me.

Hotspawn: Definitely. It’s pretty early to be looking towards Worlds and more long-term stuff, but how’re you feeling right now, in terms of confidence in your team?

CoreJJ: As soon as I started practice with our team I felt really good. We have an actual shot to win Worlds. Yeah, I think we just have to play well and figure out our team synergy.

Hotspawn: How’re you getting along with all of your new teammates out of game? You’ve been playing with Jensen and Tactical for a while now, but Alphari and Santorin?

CoreJJ: The good thing is, for everyone, it’s really easy to talk and share information together. Every day is pretty fun. I feel like I’m improving, and we’re improving together. And I’m happy with that.

Hotspawn: You have a lot of veteran players on your team— what type of leadership role are you taking right now?

CoreJJ: We have a lot of really talented players, who can [all] make really good plays. But no one can make a great play every time, so I wanna feel like a brake [for my team]. Like Ambition did, in 2016/17/18. When I played with Ambition, he was my brake, when I was always wanting to make a play. I wanna be like him.

Hotspawn: And do you feel like you can achieve that right now?

CoreJJ: Yeah. I think overall, our team is well-balanced. I think I can do that too when I get more experience.

CoreJJ Samsung Galaxy

CoreJJ and Ambition won worlds in 2017 on Samsung Galaxy (Photo via Riot Games)

Hotspawn: What sets you apart from the other top teams in NA right now? Obviously, it takes more than just putting a bunch of really good players in one room to make a good team. We’ve seen that crash and burn in the past— but for you guys, it seems like that tactic is working.

CoreJJ: As I said before, I don’t think there’s that clear of a gap. Right now, I think 100 Thieves is more well balanced, among the [other] strongest teams. But I think every team is pretty close.

Hotspawn: You said that 100 Thieves is more well balanced. Could you expand on that?

CoreJJ: I think all the other teams are [still] finding a team identity. Every team has a team identity— their team style. All the other teams are figuring theirs out, but 100Thieves has a clear win condition: jungle/bottom carry and a very good supportive mid. I think they’re ahead in building a team style.

Hotspawn: And you think it’s too early to say what Team Liquid’s team style is?

CoreJJ: I think right now our team is the most proactive team in the LCS. Every player can carry.

Hotspawn: Awesome. I think that’s all I have for you, thanks so much and good luck tomorrow!

CoreJJ: Thank you!