EG’s mid laner jojopyun, talked to Gamelevate after their win versus Cloud9 about locking in first place in the LCS, his international ambitions and becoming more mature while playing.
Title favorites Evil Geniuses have locked sole possession of First Place and are heavy favorites to win the title and qualify for the 2022 World Championships. The team, with a mix of veteran and rookie talent, has become a powerhouse in NA and continues to show domination. In his rookie split, Joseph Joon “jojopyun” Pyun has already been a favorite amongst fans for his mechanics, humor, and willingness to improve no matter the cost.
The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Jojopyun, thank you so much for speaking with us today. Congrats on locking in the first place. How does it feel?
It feels pretty good, but it doesn’t secure worlds or anything. So it’s not like we’re celebrating or anything. But, I mean, it’s a good accomplishment. And we’re just going to keep on improving.
I want to talk about that game. As Captain Flowers, basically said, it was a bunch of Vi punches and Ornn bops on the Nexus. But you had a very impressive performance on the Ahri. So can you talk to me a little bit about what went through your mind during that game?
I mean, I think I played the early and mid-game well, but I think a lot of times, I could have pushed my limits harder on the sidelanes, and I could have teamed up better in some teamfights. So I think I played well, in the beginning. And then I kind of was playing worse later and later on. So I think that’s basically what happened for my performance. But I think the team played well and played well against their comp.
For you as a player, in your first year, there has been a lot going on. You made it to MSI and you won your first title. Now your first place in the regular season and now you’re expected to be a heavy favorite to win it back to back. So I want to know, in your mind, is there any pressure to hold up to these expectations?
Not really. I guess I put pressure on myself to keep on getting better and better even like when you know, I’m having some issues or something, I will still always feel pressure to kind of reach my potential. So I mean, I would say I put pressure on myself, but I wouldn’t say there’s like other people putting pressure on me.
I want to ask about Evil Geniuses in general. I was watching Blaber’s pre-interview before the game today, and I’ve watched content featuring 100 Thieves and Team Liquid. Everyone says that EG is the team to beat. Do you feel like you guys are the best? Or do you feel like you still have some work to do?
I thought today was kind of a clumsy game. Feels like our games have been a bit clumsier. I think right after MSI was when we played the best so we’re still trying to reach that. I don’t think we’re definitely at our peak yet. we’ll show them during the playoffs but I think what we’re showing is not our best. I’ll just say it’s our fine or it’s just good. So yeah, I definitely don’t think it’s the best.
I want to ask a little bit about the mid lane pool. I just talked earlier in the afternoon to Palafox and the analyst desk has been saying there really are six mid laners including yourself. Jensen, Palafox, Abbadagge, Bjergsen, and toucouille who are can all vie for the top positions as mid lane. For you as a player, I want to understand in your mind, how do you think the mid lane pool of players is in North America?
I mean, honestly, like since I haven’t played LCS last year or two years if there were like three years ago and verse, you know, a lot of these mids in their primes. I can’t say too much of how good they were. But right now, there’s not really a mid laner that’s really like the I would say is good on an international level. Yeah, those players are good in NA, but I wouldn’t put any player that’s like, wow, this guy’s good. Or this guy, you know, can be a contender internationally, there’s no one that stands out to me. So yeah, I would just say they’re good players.
Transitioning a little bit from the mid lane players to the mid lane champions: Today you play the Ahri. Ahri has been a standard pick in the meta but we’ve been seeing a lot more adaptation with champions like LeBlanc returning to the meta as well as standard control mages. So what makes Ahri a viable pick in today’s meta?
She’s just good. She has really good playmaking. I mean, she’s good at everything: good team fighting, good side laning, really good pick potential. She’s strong at rift timers. So, I mean, she’s strong at teamfights and everything, and her laning is kind of hard to exploit if Ahri is good. So, I mean, I would say there’s not many Ahri weaknesses. And she’s also good against a lot of bot lane matchups, and a lot of them are just like enchanters right now. And they’re just like, pretty easy to kill. So I would say that’s why he’s pretty good right now, too. She just always been a good champion since the rework.
The voting for the LCS is coming up, and you are one of the players who will most likely be in contention for Rookie of the Year. It was the title of your teammates, Danny, got last year. And I wanted to know, from your perspective, how would you overall rate your first-year performance in the LCS?
I mean, obviously, great. I won my first place, and I went to go to MSI, verse the best players, but I don’t know, I feel like in the regular season, I could have played better. Last split, and even this split, some games, I could definitely play a lot better. So I mean, I would say I played good. Probably like one of the best rookie years maybe. But I would say for myself, I could have played much better in the normal splits. But besides that, I mean, I think in MSI, I learned a lot. I just took that as a learning thing. And I think in playoffs and Worlds I mean, I still have to see it since my years not done. So. I mean, right now, I just want to keep on improving and just, you know, just reach my potential.
I know, from seeing your Twitter and seeing just how you talk about things in interviews, that your eyes are still on the international play. And I want to know, assuming you make it, who would you like to face off against?
I would just like to verse any good mid laner. Like there’s so many good mids that I like such as V5’s Rookie, DK’s Showmaker, T1’s Faker, RNG’s Xiahou and G2’s Caps. I mean, there’s too many good mid laners. I would love to verse and a good team such as GenG’s Chovy. So just any of those players.
EG has a first-round bye and you’ll be watching some of the teams closely. Is there any one team that you’d like to personally face off against? Whether it’d be to have a rematch or just want to beat them again?
Alright, 100 Thieves since we lost to them in our last time we versed which sucks obviously. Either them or TL because we just think those two are the best teams that LCS right now. So I mean, it’d be way more fun and way more challenging to verse the best teams, especially after TL and 100 Thieves beat us.
One other question about you personally. You’ve definitely shown a lot of maturity coming through starting in amateur, going through Academy, and now having some full time in the LCS. I want to know how do you think you have grown overall as not only a player but a person having this time throughout the regular seasons, playoffs, and MSI?
I would say I got more discipline for sure. I’m still not that disciplined, but I would still definitely say I improved on being more disciplined and being more mature. And I realized, like more of what I need, and you know what to do, when certain situations come up. So I think I just, I don’t know, I just understand my situation is more if there’s a bad situation, or if there’s a good situation, and I just got better at kind of adapting to that and just knowing what to do so.
Two final questions for you. Today, the broadcast played a clip of you not understanding or not knowing what Anivia was. Have you actually had the chance to practice or Anivia since then?
When was it?
It was an interview you did with Travis Gafford during MSI when you face off against Caps, but they replayed it today on the analyst desk.
I know what Anivia did after what Caps did to me for sure. So I mean, I never really played like an actual game with Anivia of course, but I know what that champ does. So that was a learning experience.
Finally, is there anything you’d like to say to fans of Evil Geniuses?
Thank you to everyone that’s supporting us. We really appreciate all the fans and everything. We really won’t let you guys down in playoffs. We’re trying our best to keep improving.