Throughout these Worlds, Huanfeng’s story from rags to one of the best adcs at Worlds has been highlighted. I feel like Ghost’s story as an unwanted pro player to Worlds potential winner is just as fascinating. Therefore, I want to share with you guys an interview he did with Inven after getting relegated with BBQ that I feel encapsulates his background as a pro player prior to current success.
Before I get on with the interview, here is a little backstory:
Along with BDD, Ghost was a prized prospect of CJ Entus, both awaiting their 17th birthdays to enter pro play. He was also part of the mysterious trainwreck of a CJ team that got relegated (A team with superstars Madlife and Shy, and future worlds participants Kramer, Untara, Haru, and BDD).
He then moved on to BBQ Olivers, playing a few splits after finally getting relegated at the end of 2018. His teammates were Crazy, Trick, Bono, Tempt, and Ignar. He was widely regarded as the worst adc in the LCK by far.
In the off-season following relegation, it is famous in the Korean community that when KT Ghost rumors circulated around, every comment cried “anyone but him”. In reality, KT tried out every adc except Ghost, eventually signing Zenit and Gango.
So, with this backstory, here is Ghost's interview with Inven just after joining SandBox Gaming in early 2019:
Pro sports are divided into only two categories – winner and loser. For the winner, riches and fame follow, along with overflowing praise. For the loser, criticism and attack follows. It is no different concerning interviews. They are a privilege reserved for the winners. Like the saying “history is always written by the winners”, Ghost was unable to talk about his feelings for over two years.
193 games, 64 wins 129 losses. A gruesome winrate of 33.2%. While his former teammates Kramer, Haru, and Bdd were flourishing, Ghost wasn’t. I probed his thoughts on watching his colleagues race ahead of him.
Surprisingly, Ghost laughed: “I’ve cried (about it) and I’ve laughed (about it) before. Still, laughing is better”. After, he gave his honest thoughts about his feelings and the pressure during his team’s (BBQ Olivers) losing record. I could also hear his resolution for what could be his last season in 2019.
Q: You’ve never had an individual interview before. How does it feel.
Ghost: To be honest the timing isn’t that good (laughs). Still it feels good to talk in an interview.
In this interview, don’t be worried, just read with a calm mind. I can’t go any lower than I am now so enjoy with me.
Q: Your interview skills got better. Maybe it is because you are more experienced now**.**
Ghost: It probably shows in my in-game play and mindset. I was very unafraid and bold when I was a rookie. I would get reprimanded for that. Although experience helped me get more careful, I think it is more fitting to say I shrank due to my lack of success. I can’t say I am experienced. Just at the moment my confidence is low so it feels different from my rookie years.
Q: It seems as though you shrank from all the criticism and flame.
Ghost: I am okay now, but before it was really hard. Whether I performed well or not, I was scared to leave the gaming booth once our team lost. I was afraid of meeting anyone that was present at the stadium. It was hard to meet anyone’s eyes since it felt like everyone was mocking me.
It is only natural that a pro player gets criticized/flamed for playing bad, and I’ve consoled myself using this logic as well. But it is still lonely coming back from the stadium. I couldn’t even tell my parents since it would worry them. They used to always read articles about me, but at one point they said they stopped doing so.
One time, my parents told me that I could give up if it’s too hard on me. They told me not to get too stressed about it. They advised me that life is long, and pro play is not everything in my life. Of course they said I should still work my hardest at what I am doing presently.
Q: It must have hurt you to hear you “suck”. I heard its especially hard for pro gamers to admit they aren’t good.
Ghost: I sucked so it was only natural to hear that I suck (laughs). That’s not up to my admission or not. I can’t make excuses when the consensus is such. Even me, sometimes I question my plays watching replays of my LCK games (laughs).
Q: About the results of BBQ Olivers.
Ghost: We could not build up synergy at BBQ Olivers. Subsequently, it felt like we were playing individually. If we were feeling that as the players, it was probably more infuriating for the viewers. Simply put, we weren’t able to become one team. Behind that were individual problems, and I can’t say I didn’t have any as well.
Q: Therefore, your expression seemed dark while playing, especially when you recorded a death.
Ghost: In the past, Khan showed symptoms of hyperventilation while playing against us. I heard it’s from the pressure of pro play, and I came to understand him every time I died on stage. After one death, my heart beats faster and I start sweating. Soon, I can’t see anything and I can’t think either.
Obviously the results can’t be good when I am in the state like that. Still, my mindset was straight. I concentrated in practice, and tried to fix my bad habits. However, it was hard to do as I practiced on stage as mistakes and losses piled up.
Q: As a result, your team was relegated and you left the team. How was it like then.
Ghost: Lots of thoughts swirled in my mind. The BBQ Olivers front office was amazing, and I feel sorry that I left with such bad results. I also questioned my abilities since I created this terrible result. Are there any other players with such terrible results after almost 200 pro games like me? I thought that if I am so bad it might be right for me to give up. What was frustrating me was my drive to succeed as a pro even then (laughs).
Q: It was surprising to hear you joined SandBox Gaming. What was the reason for remaining in highly contested LCK.
Ghost: I thought about going overseas, but I told myself not yet. I felt that my efforts were gone to waste if I just left. My regrets kept me waiting for a Korean offer. After all the wait, the SandBox head coach offered me a test. At the time, I had to be tested to be considered for an offer.
Surprisingly the results came back fast. The head coach asked me to join the team, and I joined thinking that this is my last chance. That’s a fact. If I don’t perform well in 2019 it may just be the end. I should say I will perform well since I am a pro player, but I am kind of scared still (laughs).
Although it hasn’t been long since I joined the team, the front office is great and my teammates feel like family. We try to be proactive, so if we work on our teamwork I believe we can produce good results.
Q: Were there any other Korean offers?
Ghost: Sadly, no (laughs). If I could choose obviously I would choose a team with good chances to go to playoffs. That’s the same for any pro. But the reality is not so, and I am not that out of touch with reality. There were a lot of empty (adc) slots, but I quickly acknowledged that I wouldn’t get offers for them. That would allow me to properly motivate myself wherever I am.
Players with good careers keep in touch with each other, and ask to play together. That’s a world I don’t live in. I envy them and I want to grow to become a player that can choose between teams. My first goal to become a player other teams will want.
Q: Tell us your strengths with confidence.
Ghost: I haven’t been able to show it properly yet, but I like making proactive plays. I also communicate a lot with my teammates in-game. I was told my briefing/shotcalling isn’t too bad (laughs). It’s a good coincidence that SandBox is a team that tries to play proactive. As long as I can play well, there should be no problems.
Q: What kind of talks did you share with your former teammates during the off-season.
Ghost: Crazy hyung gave me a lot of good advice. I also appreciate Kang Hyun Jong head coach and Jung Je-seung coach (former coaches of Ghost at CJ Entus) for contacting me from time to time. Shy and Haru hyung both give me good words. As old friends, Bdd and I never really exchange fightings (translators note: I assume they think its cringe to say heartwarming stuff since they are such good friends), but he never says he wants to play with me (even as a joke). I’m kidding (laughs).
Q: You told me your preliminary goal. What are any others.
Ghost: I want to improve as much as I sucked and win the LOL World Championship. Right now my reputation is very negative, but I realized that in pro play there are no excuses. I grew a lot during my hardships. Play hard together is a mindset I will never lose during my pro years.
Q: Please tell us anything else you want to say. I know you also want to say something to the fans.
Ghost: I personally have a question to ask to the fans. In the comments of articles about me you guys refer to me as “the Holy Spirit”. I interpret it as a good nickname and feel good about it. If it has a different (bad) meaning, please let me know…
I will play thinking that 2019 is my last chance. In no way I want to end things like 2018. At least I want to play with no regrets, and I don’t want people around me hurt from overwhelming flame directed at me.
I promise to play well through this interview, so please don’t flame me too hard. Although they say one is “elite” if they can smile during hard times, it is hard to handle flame towards my family. Still, there are some people who root for me, which I am truly grateful for. You don’t have to blindly root for me. You can say I suck if I suck, and any sort of flame is ok. Just don’t spread it past me and towards the people around me.
As a CJ Entus fan who still keeps the CJ Entus summoner icon in league, I hope Ghost can win the championship and finally tell people he is an adc other teams will salivate over. Go Holy Spirit!
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