Evil Geniuses’ Jeong “Impact” Eon-yeong has unfinished business in North America.
The 2013 world champion, who played amongst legends like Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok and current head coach of T1 Bae “Bengi” Seong-woong, refuses to leave NA until he has proven himself — and he is entirely committed till he achieves his goal.
He was in negotiations with numerous Chinese and Korean teams in 2017 and 2018, but denied all offers because he was unhappy with his own results in NA.
“I want to leave after I have achieved more, and I still want to prove that I could play well in NA. So far, I am not entirely satisfied with the results,” he told ONE Esports.
For Impact, making it to Worlds quarterfinals is not enough. He wants to lead his NA teams to the semifinals or even finals. Until then, he’ll continue self-reflecting, identifying mistakes, and striving to become one of the best top laners in the world.
In an interview with ONE Esports at Worlds 2022, Impact discusses why self-reflection is the greatest way to improve, what NA needs to become a stronger region, and why he is grateful to be here.
Why EG Impact values self-reflection, which leads to continuous progress
For EG, hanging by a thread has become a recurring theme in 2022. After losing to Team Liquid in the upper brackets semifinals, EG had to fight their way through four teams in the lower bracket to become the 2022 LCS Spring champions.
During the Summer Split, they were defeated by 100 Thieves in lower brackets final, finishing third. This was enough for them to qualify for the Worlds 2022 Play-Ins stage as the LCS third seed.
They barely made it past groups. They first had to overcome LJL’s Detonation FocusMe (DFM) in a tiebreaker, before they unexpectedly swept MAD Lions 3-0 in the deciding best-of-five series. Currently, they are 0-3 in the first half of groups.
Impact takes these inconsistencies very seriously. Despite being a veteran for nearly ten years, he is still extremely critical of his own performances. He pays attention to details in his play, small errors or miscalculations that cost games, and makes sure he doesn’t repeat them.
In the 2022 Worlds Group Stage, he felt disappointed after their loss against G2 Esports, whom he thought was “beatable” because they had win conditions for it, but just “came up short.”
“I believe I made a mistake playing Maokai because if I pushed the top lane more, forcing Sergen “BrokenBlade” Çelik to flash during my first death, our midlaner and jungler would’ve had a much easier time killing him,” he explained.
After each match, he would revisit VODs almost immediately while his memory of the game was still fresh, and provide input to the squad right away.
For example, if he noticed that bot lane was being pushed from early to mid game, he would go through the VODs to determine the reasons. He’d watch it again, over and over until he manages to figure out what was wrong. He would then contact his teammates to discuss the issues and ensure they are remedied.
This type of self-reflection, he believes, is critical for those constantly seeking improvement.
If he could provide one piece of advice to his younger self or aspiring professional and amateur players, it would be to self-reflect.
“Think about what you can do to win, think about what you can do to improve, and if you really do improve that way, you’ll see dramatic changes,” he said. “Of course, you need to listen to the coach, but when you do, don’t just follow your coach blindly, think about the reasoning behind the coach’s feedback and why you have to play that way. And that’s how you will improve.”
One reason why NA is weaker than other regions is because of their lack of attention to details
According to Impact, players in the LCS don’t pay attention to details in their plays, which is why as a region, they appear to be weaker than others.
When competing against the greatest in the world, tiny mistakes could slow tempo by mere seconds, which could mean the difference between victory and elimination.
“I don’t necessarily believe that NA players are inferior in terms of skill, but it’s a mentality issue: they don’t know how to improve or implement feedback well,” he stated, as he was able to catch players making the same type of mistakes that they could never get away with in Worlds.
These remarks may appear harsh, especially to a region in which he is playing for, but Impact expresses his views honestly because he loves the region. He has no regrets coming to NA. Not one bit.
“Being in NA taught me how to be a better person and I am not just talking about a better player, but a better person overall. I learned how to self-reflect. I began to ponder a lot when I arrived here because, as you know, I didn’t speak English when I arrived, so I had a lot of time to think by myself,” he said.
“Thinking about how I can become a better player or how I can improve, or what mistakes I have made. If I had stayed in Korea, I would have just listened to the coach and followed their instructions. But, in NA, I had to think for myself and learn how to articulate my thoughts to others. This is why I think being in NA taught me how to become a better person..”
Currently, LCS has had the least amount of success in Worlds history out of the four major regions with only two semifinal appearances in 12 seasons, and remains as the only major region without a championship.