Team Liquid is currently the best team in the NA LCS. With a first-place finish in the Spring Split and first-place going into the Summer Split playoffs, Team Liquid is making their mark to take their talents into the Worlds stage. Team Liquid’s mid laner, Eugene “Pobelter” Park stopped by after their victory against Echo Fox to talk about music and more.
In a previous episode of Squad, you were intrigued with music production. Since then, how has that been?
Pobelter: I haven’t had the time to touch it again since we shot that so in my spare time, I just started to read books. Music is something I’ll definitely pick back up during the offseason since it was really fun. I can’t find the time to do it when I only have one hour of free time everyday.
What book have you been reading?
Pobelter: I just finished The Three-Body Problem by a Chinese author so that was cool. It’s like science fiction and aliens — it was an interesting read. I finished that a few days ago and just started the sequel. I’m also going to read a book called Pachinko. I’m not entirely sure what the premise is — it’s like a historical drama fiction kind of deal about a Korean family that lives in Japan.
How did you hear about these books?
Pobelter: I just look online like the best sellers list pretty much and any high rated reviews. So like The Three-Body Problem, I think Obama read that book which is good so I’ll read it. For the other one, it’s been on the New York Times Best Sellers list for a while and it sounded interesting.
What kind of music are you into?
Pobelter: It’s the most generic answer but I listen to everything. I listen to a lot of different genres. I’m not a big country guy. My favorite genres at the moment are hip-hop and indie.
Who are your favorite music artists?
Pobelter: Let me pull up my Spotify. I was thinking about it recently cause I used to listen to new music a lot, but I fell out of it recently. I used to just listen to music all the time. Then it’s like I go days without listening to music.
Mitski released a new album. Like she’s a really good singer, but her music is kind of sad actually.
Frank Ocean is one of my favorite artists.
In terms of the indie side, I really like Fleet Foxes. They were probably my favorite band when I was in high school. Tame Impala is another one.
I like some psychedelic stuff too like Animal Collective because it’s kind of cool.
But yeah, I listen to pretty much anything.
I remember you mentioning that you would go back to school when your career is over. Would you consider a career in music too?
Pobelter: That seems really hard to set as a goal but probably not. I don’t know if I am musically inclined like I would be really good at it. It seems like just something that would be fun to pursue as a hobby and then if I become super famous off my Soundcloud, I would roll with it. I don’t think it’s something I would chase though.
Did you play any instruments?
Pobelter: I played piano and violin growing up. I stopped when I hit high school to focus on studying and also I started playing League.
At Overwatch League, I asked one of the Seoul Dynasty players who would be in their kpop band if they had one. I want to turn the same question to you and if you can choose any players in the LCS to be in your kpop band, who would it be?
Pobelter: Reignover is great when we go out for karaoke and he’s Korean (laughs). He would be my first choice. Flame is not bad at singing either. Huni has to be the bad boy. You got the two kind of cute-ish boys then you got the bad boy. The last one would be Dodo who is also good at karaoke. He has like a very mature, robust, intimately voice who would be for the older age group. He has a great range actually. He doesn’t sing when we’re at the Alienware training facility, only at karaoke.
This year was Riot’s first year with franchising. What are your thoughts and is there anything you would change going into next year?
Pobelter: It is a positive change. Everything that people were anticipating would happen ended up happening. This year we saw a lot of Academy players getting a chance to be promoted to the LCS. The LCS player would have nothing to fear about losing their spot in case a rookie player does bad or whatever. For example, you look at teams like Echo Fox. They have Damonte mid and Lost AD. That’s something that probably wouldn’t happen without the Academy system. Grig from TSM is another example.
From a player perspective, it’s cool to not worry about relegations if your team is doing poorly. That was a big source of stress before.
I’m sure the owners are happy too. They have stability and the fact that they’re going to invest a lot of money into. Then they won’t have to worry about being eliminated from LCS because of relegations.
I don’t think I would change anything going into next year.
Overall, everything is positive.
What are your thoughts on the decline in viewership?
Pobelter: I think no game will be top dog forever. League had a really hyped phase in 2014-2015. That was the peak even though no one realized it at the time. Looking at retrospect, I just turn on my stream and I wasn’t a popular player at the time. I was an LCS player and did well in solo queue. I remember one day I hit 30k viewers playing solo queue on my own. I thought that was crazy. These days, I hit 5k and I’m thinking I am doing pretty good! Of course, I used to stream way more back then.
As time passes and people grow up, a lot of the people who grew up with League in high school and college are too busy with studies or they’re all grown up, got a job, and a family.
Other games popped up like PUBG, Overwatch, and Fortnite is the biggest one in the West. League is still insanely popular in Asia. I remember hearing a stat from a Rioter like out of all gamers in Vietnam, LoL has a 99% saturation rate or something like that. Which means 99% of the people in Vietnam who played games have played League of Legends. Whereas in the USA, it’s more like 10 to 25%.
I don’t think it means League is dying or I’m going to be homeless or anything like that. It’s just games come, hit their peak, and then maybe there will be a resurgence. I feel like a lot of people know what League of Legends is like now and then they’ll still tune in for the games but they don’t want to play.
What do you think Riot can do to get viewership back up?
Pobelter: Appealing to the more younger and casual audience. They will have a bigger player base and more interest, in turn, more interest in LCS. I feel also by doing that, you strip away of what makes League. Fortnite is super popular because it’s really casual, kiddish, and cartoon-y. It’s not a bad thing because it appeals to a lot of people like kids, it’s fun for teenagers, young adults, adults, and celebrities are into it too. It has a wide appeal.
League is more for the teenage demographic to young adult, judging from what I think.
League will be around for a long time. Games like Dota has been around forever.
Fuck it, make a League of Legends 2.
What do you think about the changes with strategic coaches on stage so far? Has it opened up new strategies for the team?
Pobelter: It’s good to have another voice. It’s not a huge change because we usually have our strategic preparation and our pick/ban already set before going on stage. Not overall a huge thing but it was already a thing in LPL and LCK. It makes sense that we have it too.
Your team is the undisputed #1 team currently in NA LCS. With that being said, what are things you guys need to improve heading into playoffs especially with the new patch coming out?
Pobelter: I don’t know.
Speaking of the new patch, what are your opinions on it? Does it open up more champions to be in the meta?
Pobelter: When I think about the new patch, I think about what’s going on for mid lane.
Orianna’s base MR got nerfed by 4, but she’s falling out of the meta anyway.
Zoe got nerfed hard so she’s donezo. Thank god.
Mid pool will still be similar. Ryze is still a key pick. Syndra is a popular pick in NA but not anywhere else, so I don’t think Syndra is particularly strong and has a lot of counters. Zilean is popping up here too because of the synergy with Kindred, but I don’t think he’s good either.
Fizz is getting slightly nerfed because they said his numbers are slightly overtuned, maybe not Fizz.
A lot of people think Akali is busted right now. She is really strong, but not OP. She will be a key pick.
8.16 did not have too many changes aside from Zoe nerfs.
If you guys go to Worlds, what can you take away from MSI and this split to bring to Worlds?
Pobelter: Just staying cool under pressure is going to be the most important thing for us. At MSI, I think we cracked a bit under the pressure in the first half of that event. I think controlling pressure is the most valuable thing we can take from MSI and moving forward.